Gold medal hopeful Sandi Morris breaks pole, injures hip in Olympics pole vault qualifying

Rio silver medalist Sandi Morris was among the favorites to win gold in pole vault this week.

But her Olympics ended heartbreakingly early on Monday thanks in part to a quite literal bad break.

Morris waited with the rest of the athletes at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium Monday evening as a rain storm forced a pause in the action. When the storm subsided, she took a warmup vault on the rain-slicked track prior to the resumption of competition. She failed to clear the bar and came crashing down awkwardly on the edge of the mat near the box where vaulters plant their poles.

When she stood up with her pole, it was broken at a 90-degree angle.

Her next attempt was not a warmup. It was an official effort at the qualifying height of 4.55 meters. She didn't make it. This time, when she got up from the mat she was clearly in pain and holding onto her hip.

Her final attempt didn't get off the ground. As she approached the bar, she dropped her pole, bailing on the attempt before jumping onto the mat in obvious pain.

When she got up, she had tears in her eyes, clear at this point that her Olympics were over. She hadn't cleared the 4.55-meter qualifying height.

TOKSandi Morris of Team United States  looks dejected following the Women's Pole Vault qualification on day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 02, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
The silver medalist in Rio, Sandi Morris was in tears after her Olympics ended early on Monday thanks to a quite literal bad break. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

After the event, USA Track and Field announced that she had indeed suffered a hip injury.

And with that, the athlete who's finished in the top two of five international pole vaulting championships since 2016 saw her dreams of Olympic gold in Tokyo come to a devastating end.

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