INTERNATIONAL NEWS - Russian athletics icon Yelena Isinbayeva can spark the world athletics championships into life on Tuesday by winning her third women's pole vault world title and probably bow out in dreamlike fashion.
The 31-year-old two-time Olympic champion - who has revolutionised her event as Ukrainian legend Sergey Bubka did the men's pole vault in the 1980's and 1990's - said in July she would retire after the championships in Moscow.
While the mischievous former gymnast suggested after qualifying on Sunday she might not after all, the likelihood is that victory at the Luzhniki Stadium, where she won her first meaningful title, will be sufficient to get her to call time on her career.
Certainly she is going to take a break and will then assess whether she is still good enough to compete at the highest level but having not won an Olympic or world title since 2008 her powers are already waning.
"I want to have a break and have a family," she said.
"I would like to be back for Beijing (2015 world championships) and Rio (2016 Olympics) but if anything goes wrong and I feel I am not at the highest level then I will announce my retirement."
Organisers will be praying that she attracts a full house, something that has proved elusive so far with poor attendances and not even the biggest star of them all Usain Bolt could work his magic and draw a sell out stadium on Sunday in the 100 metres final.
Isinbayeva, though, is determined to perform to her best, which these days with wealth beyond her wildest dreams is some way below the dominance that saw her break the world record 28 times.
Isinbayeva, who is still the outdoor record holder with 5.06 metres, says that she is relaxed heading into Tuesday's final.
"I am in good shape, I only needed one effort to qualify, and I am not feeling the pressure at all," she said.
"The crowd will be important but all they can do is just cheer for me, I have to do everything else."
The other highlights of Tuesday's action will be the men's finals in both the 800m and 400m.
The 800m has been shorn of the sublime talents of the injured David Rudisha, the Kenyan who broke the world record in winning the Olympic title last year, but a fascinating race is in prospect.
Ethiopian Mohamed Aman - who has twice got the better of Rudisha - and Duane Solomon of the United States, who finished fourth in the Olympic final in a time that in all previous finals would have seen him win a medal, have looked impressive in the heats.
Aman, the world indoor champion, says it is time for his country to win their first world title in the event and indeed their first medal in a distance usually the preserve of their bitter rivals Kenya.
"It's hard to guess what will happen in the final," said the 19-year-old, who finished sixth in the Olympic final.
"Will it be a tactical battle or fast enough to threaten the world record? Who knows.
"The time has come for me to win this title for my country."
The 400m should also come down to a duel between Grenada's Olympic champion Kirani James, who is also the defending world champion, and America's controversial 2008 Olympic champion Lashawn Merritt.
James, whose tiny island nation honoured him with a boulevard named after him following his Olympic win, says it will be a tough battle to retain his crown.
"Merritt is a tough, battle-hardened competitor and will be eager to reclaim the title he won in 2009," said 20-year-old James.