By Alison Wildey
LONDON (Reuters) - There was no sign of nerves as Australia's Olympic champion Steve Hooker qualified for the pole vault final on Wednesday.
Hooker has been suffering a crisis of confidence this season, likened to the 'yips' experienced by golfers, and only made the Games after his sponsors put on a special pole vault event.
But the 30-year-old, with his hair tied back in a ponytail, showed no emotion as he sailed over his opening height of 5.50 metres in the Olympic Stadium which was enough to secure a place in the final.
"I am done talking about it," he told reporters after being asked about the 'yips'.
"I did enough to put me through to the final, although it's going to be a strong field.
"I am not in the position I was four years ago but I have good momentum. I know I have more in me than my season's best (5.72)," Hooker said.
He has had a miserable time since winning the world title in 2009 first with injury and then with his confidence, but set his season's best outdoors in Poland just before the Games.
Friday's final has been increased from 12 to 14 competitors after the athletes petitioned officials because of the changeable wind conditions, Hooker said.
"We decided if we work together we would all be going to the final and saved a bit energy for Friday," said the Australian whose personal best vault is 6.0 metres.
"I didn't want to have to jump again if I didn't have to."
Germany's Raphael Holzdeppe and world indoor champion Renaud Lavillenie of France were the top qualifiers with 5.65. Polish world champion Pawel Wojciechowski did not make the final after failing to register a height.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)