Yarisley Silva

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Yarisley Silva
Silva celebrated her silver medal at the London Olympics
Personal information
Full name Yarisley Silva Rodríguez
Born (1987-06-01) June 1, 1987 (age 27)
San Luis, Pinar del Río
Height 1.61 m (5 ft 3 in)
Weight 63 kg (139 lb)
Country  Cuba
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Pole vault
Coached by Alexander Navas
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 4.90 m

Yarisley Silva Rodríguez (born 1 June 1987) is a Cuban pole vaulter.[1] She won the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics – the first Latin American athlete to win an Olympic medal in that event.

Silva became the first Cuban woman to reach a world class standard in the pole vault. Her personal bests of 4.90 m (16 ft 034 in) outdoors and 4.78 m (15 ft 8 in) indoors are the Cuban and Central American and Caribbean records for the event.

She emerged at the regional level with a silver medal at the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, and a bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Games. She then won gold medals at the 2009 Central American and Caribbean Championships in Athletics and the 2011 Pan American Games.

Silva represented Cuba at the 2008 Summer Olympics and came fifth at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics.


Early career[edit]

Born in Pinar del Río in Cuba, Silva began to participate in pole vault competitions from the age of twelve.[2] Many women in her family took part in athletics and her mother was a javelin thrower.[3] In spite of its strong traditions in track and field, pole vaulting was a discipline in which Cuba had not historically been successful. As a result, Silva quickly established herself nationally at the age of sixteen, coming second at the Cuban Athletics Championships and winning the Barrientos Memorial in 2003.[4] In 2004 she cleared four metres for the first time, which was a Central American and Caribbean junior record. She improved this to 4.10 m at the 2005 Barrientos meet, winning the competition again.[3]

The 2006 season saw her win her first national title and take a third Barrientos Memorial win. She competed internationally for the first time, taking silver at the Central American and Caribbean Games,[5] but failing to clear a height at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Athletics after her poles did not arrive at the competition. Silva ended the season having improved her regional junior record to 4.20 m.[3] In her first year of senior competition she won gold at the 2007 ALBA Games and a bronze at the 2007 Pan American Games. The latter was her country's first medal in the event at the Games and she broke the Central American and Caribbean record with her clearance of 4.30 m. She improved to 4.50 m in early 2008, but a lack of high level competitions meant she managed on 4.15 m in qualifying on her Olympic debut in Beijing.[3]

Silva competed solely in Havana in 2009 and 2010, but still managed to equal her personal best, win the Barrientos meet, and take the gold medal at the 2009 Central American and Caribbean Championships in Athletics with a championship record of 4.40 m.[6]

International competition and Olympic medal[edit]

The 2011 season marked the first time she gained the chance to compete on the international circuit against world class opposition.[3] She competed extensively and had a series of top three finishes across Europe. She broke her personal best on five occasions that year, improving from 4.55 m to 4.75 m over the course of the year.[7]

Silva, coached by Alexander Navas, and her fellow Cuban vaulter Lazaro Borges both emerged as top level athletes in the men's and women's pole vault that year. At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics she came fifth in the final with a regional record vault of 4.70 m, while Borges broke the Cuban record to take the men's silver medal. The pair took gold medals in their events at the end-of-season 2011 Pan American Games, where Silva beat world champion Fabiana Murer with a games record mark of 4.75 m.[3]

Her first indoor meetings came at the start of 2012. In February she set Cuban indoor records of 4.60 m at the Pole Vault Stars meet, 4.71 m at the Meeting Pas de Calais, then 4.72 m at the XL Galan, finishing in the top three each time.[8][9] Silva placed seventh at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Outdoors she competed five times on the 2012 IAAF Diamond League circuit and was always in the top three,[3] including a victory at the DN Galan.[10] At the 2012 London Olympics she equalled her personal best of 4.75 m in the women's pole vault final to place second behind Jenn Suhr and win the silver medal – an Olympic first in the pole vault by a Latin American athlete.[11]

Silva began 2013 with a world-leading mark of 4.76 m to win the Pole Vault Stars meeting.[12] She added two centimetres to this mark two weeks later while winning the XL Galan.[13] Returning to Havana for the national championships in March, she vaulted over 4.81 m to add six centimetres to her outdoor best. Taking aim at greater heights, she altered her technique, holding the pole higher and extending her run-up.[14] Silva improved her record again at the Drake Relays on April 26, winning with 4.85 m and beating Suhr.[15]

Personal bests[edit]

  • Outdoor pole vault: 4.90 mNetherlands Hengelo, 8 June 2013
  • Indoor pole vault: 4.82 mUnited States Des Moines, 24 April 2013


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  Cuba
2006 Central American and Caribbean Games Cartagena, Colombia 2nd 3.95 m
World Junior Championships Beijing, China NM
2007 ALBA Games Caracas, Venezuela 1st 4.15 m
Pan American Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 3rd 4.30 m
2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China 27th (q) 4.15 m
2009 Central American and Caribbean Championships Havana, Cuba 1st 4.40 m
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 5th 4.70 m
Pan American Games Guadalajara, Mexico 1st 4.75 m
2012 World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 7th 4.55 m
Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 2nd 4.75 m
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 3rd 4.82 m
2014 World Indoor Championships Sopot, Poland 1st 4.70 m


  1. ^ XXIX JUEGOS OLIMPICOS BEIJING 2008 - Delegación Cubana (in Spanish), Instituto Nacional de Deportes Educación Física y Recreación (INDER), p. 57, retrieved June 24, 2013 
  2. ^ ENTREVISTA: Yarisley Silva: «Fue una competencia excepcional» . CubaSi (2011-10-25). Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Focus on Athletes - Yarisley SILVA. IAAF (2012-07-28). Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  4. ^ Yarisley Silva. Tilastopaja. Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  5. ^ 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, women's pole vault final
  6. ^ XXII Campeonato CAC Atletismo 2009. Central American and Caribbean Athletic Confederation. Retrieved on 2009-07-14.
  7. ^ Yarisley Silva. Tilastopaja. Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  8. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2012-02-12). In post-injury comeback, Lavillenie tops 5.82m in Donetsk. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-02-12.
  9. ^ Julin, A. Lennart (2012-02-23). Isinbayeva clears 5.01m World record in Stockholm! - Updated. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  10. ^ Viewing Diamond League Meetings > DN Galan > Pole Vault. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  11. ^ Robinson, Javier Clavelo (2012-12-18). After London silver, Yarisley Silva aims at more success in 2013. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  12. ^ Minshull, Phil (2013-02-09). Lavillenie and Silva hit the heights in Donetsk. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  13. ^ Julin, A. Lennart (2013-02-21). World leads from Aregawi, Rupp and Dibaba in Stockholm. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  14. ^ Robinson, Javier Clavelo (2013-03-18). Silva soars to 4.81m, Martinez throws 85.59m at Cuban National Champs. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-03-24.
  15. ^ Dunaway, Jim (2013-04-26). "Silva and Simpson shine, Aries Merritt beaten at Drake Relays". IAAF. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 

External links[edit]