Russia's Anna Chicherova and American Chaunte Lowe were 2012's most decorated high jumpers in a year in which Blanka Vlasic did not compete, following her foot surgery. Chicherova won the year's most competitive meet, the Olympic final, in a world-leading 2.05 meters (6 feet, 8¾ inches). It was Brigetta Barrett, not Lowe, who then thrilled U.S. fans with a surprise second in London, followed by Russia's Svetlana Shkolina (both at 2.03/6-7¾), as three of 2012's top five jumps were posted during the final. Chicherova had to settle for a bronze at the World Indoor Championships, where Lowe prevailed. The American also won four Diamond League meets and the overall championship.
American Brittney Reese continued to reign atop the long jump world in 2012, taking the early lead in the Olympic high jump final and never giving it up to earn the gold medal, edging Russia's Elena Sokolova. Janay DeLoach of the U.S. took the bronze. Reese also won the World Indoor Championships with the best jump anywhere in 2012, leaping 7.23/23-8½, and had the year's three longest outdoor jumps, topping out at 7.15/23-5½. DeLoach added a World Indoor silver to her medal collection, with Shara Proctor earning the bronze, while Sokolova won four of the seven Diamond League meets to take the season championship.
Triple jumping was a three-woman competition for much of 2012, with Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan taking the biggest prize. Rypakova posted the year's second longest jump, 14.98/49-1¾, to win the Olympic gold, with Columbia's Caterine Ibarguen edging Olha Saladuha of Ukraine for the silver. The three medalists combined for 15 of the year's top 16 outdoor jumps, topped by Saladuha's 14.99/49-2. Rypakova also won the Diamond League title after taking four meets, but settled for silver at the World Indoor Championships, where Great Britain's Yamile Aldama prevailed.
It appeared that 2012 would mark Yelena Isinbayeva's return to the top in women's pole vaulting, as she broke her own indoor world record, with a leap of 5.01 meters (16 feet, 5¼ inches) in February, then won her first major international championship since 2008, taking the World Indoor gold with a leap of 4.80/15-9. But neither Isinbayeva nor anyone else dominated the outdoor season. American Jenn Suhr came the closest, posting two of the season's three best jumps, including a world-leading 4.83/15-10 in September, and taking the Olympic gold at 4.75/15-7. Cuba's Yarisley Silva earned the silver, with Isinbayeva settling for bronze. The Diamond race was also close, with Silke Spiegelburg and Fabiana Murer winning two meets apiece, and Spiegelburg taking the overall title.