Thiago Braz has dethroned the reigning Olympic champion in record fashion…
The 22-year-old Brazilian track & field athlete set an Olympic record of 6.03m to win the gold medal in the men’s pole vault at the 2016 Rio Games.
Defending champion Renaud Lavillenie of France looked on course to retain his title after clearing a height of 5.98m.
Braz, who passed at 5.98m, failed his first attempt at 6.03m but went clear with his second to win the hosts’ second gold medal of the Games.
Lauvillenie took silver, while American Sam Kendricks claimed the bronze with 5.85m.
“The crowd were cheering me too much. I had to fix my mind on my technique, forget the people,” Braz said.
“The gold? Incredible. My first time over six meters. My hometown wanted me to win.”
The pole vault competition was delayed because of rain and then held up with a mechanical fault that temporarily saw the bar unable to be raised, but ended in a thrilling conclusion that finished just before midnight local time.
Braz added 11 centimeters to his previous personal best to set a national record and become only the fourth Brazilian to win a track and field gold at an Olympics.
The last Brazilian Olympic gold medallist in an athletics event was Maurren Maggi, who won the women’s long jump at 2008 Beijing Games.