Suhr denies Isinbayeva hat-trick
Suhr, silver medallist behind the Russian world record holder in Beijing four years ago, cleared 4.75 for victory on a damp, breezy conditions that made vaulting tricky.
"To have someone so good in the field and come out on top it really is an honour and it is a special title in that situation," an emotional Suhr told reporters.
Cuba's Yarisley Silva took the silver with the same height on countback after missing the first attempt at her opening height of 4.45 and Isinbayeva had to settle for bronze with a best of 4.70.
The 30-year-old had set world records in her previous Olympic finals but she lacked authority in the breezy, rain-affected event, failing the first attempt at her opening height of 4.55.
Isinbayeva then opted to go straight to 4.65 and when she sailed over the bar, the relief was clear on her face.
The former world champion, who told reporters her build-up to the Games had been disrupted in May by a torn thigh muscle put her result down to bad luck.
"It is unbelievable. Many girls did not make any qualification height. So it was completely terrible weather for pole vaulters. It was terrible.
"I knew the results were not going to be so high here. To win was the lucky girl. So tonight I was just unlucky."
After Isinbayeva hit the crash mat for the last time having knocked the bar off with her thigh, she got up with a big smile on her face, waved to the crowd and blew a kiss to the camera.
When asked how disappointed she was with her performance Isinbayeva shouted: "What? I'm, so happy that I won the bronze medal."
Suhr, who is coached by her husband Rick, coped better with the conditions and piled on the pressure, needing just one vault at each of her heights until 4.75 which she cleared second time.
The former basketball player failed all her attempts at 4.80 and then had a nervous wait while Silva made one final vault at the height before being able to celebrate the gold.
The three medal winners walked around the track together draped in their national flags.
"Before I went out there (Rick) said 'you are going to win this', he has never said that," Suhr said.
"I have competed hundreds of times and he has never said 'you are going to win' and I was like that is not something he says and it just put that extra spunk that I could do this. Someone else believes in me that much." — Reuters
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