Track and Field

Alysha Newman pulls out of Swiss pole vault street event, calls it a season

Canadian indoor/outdoor record-holder Alysha Newman made a "last-minute decision" to not travel to Europe and compete in Wednesday's Diamond League pole vault exhibition street event in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Canadian record-holder says she made small, important changes in training in 2020

Canadian pole vaulter Alysha Newman has called an end to her outdoor season, saying she didn't want to risk her health and safety entering an Olympic year by competing in four European events, beginning Wednesday at a Diamond League exhibition street event in Switzerland. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press/File)

Canadian indoor/outdoor record-holder Alysha Newman made a "last-minute decision" to not travel to Europe and compete in Wednesday's Diamond League pole vault exhibition street event in Lausanne, Switzerland.

After consulting with her coaches Doug Wood and Zeke Krykorka and other support team members, the 26-year-old concluded it wasn't worth risking her health and safety heading into an Olympic year and has shut down for the season, the London, Ont., native said in an Instagram post.

"If you asked me at the beginning of 2020 how I would've pictured my season turning out, it was definitely nothing like this," Newman wrote. "However, I am so incredibly thankful for this year, as I was able to really tune in to make the small but most important changes in my vault/training.

"We can't wait to ramp it back up in four weeks to head back into my Olympic training for 2021."

Newman, who hasn't competed during the COVID-19 pandemic since a third-place finish in a remote competition in mid-May, had three other events lined up on her European tour.

In a season with few competitions, Newman had enjoyed returning to the basics in training and relearning the sport to be that much more advanced when she returned to the runway.

WATCH | Alysha Newman competes in remote event in May:

Alysha Newman finishes 3rd in Ultimate Garden Clash

2 years ago
Duration 6:19
Canada's Alysha Newman competes in a virtual pole vault event against reigning Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi and two-time U.S. indoor winner Katie Nageotte.

Earlier this year, she was jumping five days a week at a warehouse in Bolton, Ont., after her training facility, Bolton Pole Vault, was closed to the public due to the pandemic.

Newman jumped four times at indoor events in France in February with a top clearance of 4.63 metres.

Before clearing 4.80 and finishing fifth outdoors at world championships last October, Newman had talked about pushing 4.95 and five metres this year in hopes of clearing the latter height in July at the Tokyo Olympics that was postponed in March until next July.

It's been a little over a year since the 2016 Olympian set a personal-best for a third time in 2019 with a 4.82 clearance at the Meeting de Paris on Aug. 29 to beat Olympic and world champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece for her first win on the professional Diamond League track and field circuit.

Newman is currently ranked fourth in the world behind Russia's Anzhelika Sidorova, Stefanidi and American Sandi Morris.


Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

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