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Mack pulls off a last-gasp victory
Olympics 2004
Timothy Mack
Toby Stevenson

ATHENS, Greece -- American pole vaulter Timothy Mack pulled off a last-gasp clearance at an Olympic record height of 5.95 meters to take the title in Athens.

Mack had been lying second behind his compatriot Toby Stevenson, because of a failure earlier in the competition, until he lifted himself over the winning height at his third attempt.

Stevenson, nicknamed The Cat in the Hat because of the fact that he wears a black street hockey safety helmet, claimed silver with 5.90m.

He nearly prolonged the contest when he slithered over 5.95m on his third attempt but, after an agonizing few moments, the twitching bar fell.

Italy's world champion Guiseppe Gibilisco took the bronze with 5.85m.

After failing for the first time at 5.90m, and watching the Americans go clear, Gibilisco opted to take his two final attempts of the competition at 5.95m but he fouled out.

Gibilisco is coached by Ukrainian guru of the event Vitaly Petrov, the early coach and mentor to six-times world champion and 1988 Olympic champion Sergey Bubka.

With 17 men in the final, it was predictably a drawn-out affair, just being shaded by the men's 50km walk that had taken place earlier on Friday as the longest event on the athletics program.

It was first to start on Friday's evening athletics programme and the last to finish after a contest of more than three-and-a-half-hours.

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