Gold: Ruth Beitia (ESP)
Silver: Mirela Demireva (BUL)
Bronze: Blanka Vlasic (CRO)
In a virtual four-way tie, 37-year-old Spaniard Ruth Beitia was awarded the gold medal in the women’s high jump by virtue of having the fewest misses.
USA’s Chaunte Lowe, Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic, Bulgaria’s Mirela Demireva and Beitia all cleared the winning of height of 1.97 meters (6 feet, 5.56 inches).
None of the four women could successfully jump the next height of 2.00m, so the medals were decided according to misses throughout the competition.
Beitia was perfect until the bar was raised to 2.00m, so the gold medal was hers.
Demireva also cleared 1.97m in one attempt, but a miss on 1.88m relegated her to the silver medal.
Vlasic was given the bronze over Lowe, since it took Vlasic one fewer attempt to clear the winning height.
The result is heartbreaking for Lowe, who was chasing her first medal in her fourth Olympic Games.
Beitia was also competing in her fourth Games, despite having publicly retired after finishing fourth at London 2012.
The winning height was relatively poor. Four years ago, Anna Chicherova of Russia won the event after clearing 2.05m.
Furthermore, two athletes in the women’s heptathlon in Rio – Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam and Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson – managed jumps of 1.98m.
The results were disappointing for Americans Vashti Cunningham and Inkia McPherson. Cunningham, daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, finished in a tie for 13th while McPherson finished just ahead in a tie for 10th.