MOSCOW, Russia - Former Husky great Brad Walker had his best showing on the international stage in a number of years tonight in Moscow, as he finished fourth in the pole vault final at the IAAF World Championships, just barely missing out on the medal stand.
The World Championships gold medalist in 2007, and a silver medalist in 2005, Walker had not competed at the World Outdoor meet since winning that last gold, and his two Olympic Games appearances in 2008 and 2012 also did not go as well as hoped. Walker did win the bronze at the 2012 World Indoor Championships, but today's fourth-place finish was his best at a major outdoor meet since 2007.
Walker, a four-time All-American at Washington coached for years by Husky assistant Pat Licari, entered the final competition tonight at 18-6 1/2, and made that on his second attempt. He then had another second attempt clearance at 18-10 1/4 as the field of 12 finalists dwindled. A first attempt make at 19-1 jumped Walker up to third as only five vaulters made that height.
Sitting in bronze medal position, Walker missed his first two attempts at 19-3 3/4, which would have been his highest clearance ever at a World Championships event. Reigning Olympic gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie of France was behind Walker in fourth-place, but on his third attempt he was able to clear 19-3 3/4 to jump into second-place, pushing Walker to fourth. Walker was unable to make the bar on his final try.
Bjorn Otto of Germany got the bronze based on the tiebreaker, having had just one fewer miss back than Walker back at the 18-6 1/2 height. Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany won gold as he was perfect over 19-3 3/4, but that was the last height he or Lavillenie would clear.