Yelena Isinbayeva
Russia’s supreme pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva became the first woman to break the five metres barrier and also won the World Championship gold medal in Helsinki in a sparkling 2005.  In fact it has been a brilliant two years for Isinbayeva, who in 2004 won the Olympic gold medal in Athens with a then world record of 4.91 metres.
She has now been elected Female Athlete of the Year twice by the IAAF and, at 23, is acknowledged to be the best female pole vaulter in history.
Isinbayeva, who is a senior lieutenant in the Russian army, completed the Laureus World Sports Awards qualifying year with a new indoor world record of 4.91 metres on February 12 in Donetsk.