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Australian Eleanor Patterson Makes Stunning Jump
By: Evan Bian
Eleanor Patterson stuns the world by becoming the first Australian to win the women’s high jump in the World Athletics Championship. The 26-year-old recorded a personal best jump of 2.02m, equaling the Oceania record, during the event in Oregon in the US on July 20.
“I’m actually, honestly in disbelief,” she said. “It’s crazy to think, I’m going to be shaking my head in disbelief for the whole week, month, year, who knows? I didn’t make it easy for myself. The caliber of women I was up against was phenomenal and they were clearing everything first time, they were doing amazing things. There were a number of moments where I had to dig deep to remain alive and also secure a medal and then see if I could stay on top of the podium. And somehow I’ve been able to bring that to fruition.”
Patterson almost left the finals early when she missed twice at 1.98m but she gained her confidence quickly and cleared 2.00m on her second attempt before leaping her stunning jump of 2.02m. That life-changing jump was too much for the favorite, Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh, who blew her first attempt at 2.02m. When both missed all three attempts at 2.04m, the gold was the Australian’s on a countback. “I knew I could clear that height (2.02m) and to do that on the first attempt was amazing,” Patterson said. “I’m overjoyed I could even clear that height. I knew it was within me but to bring it out tonight under such pressure, I’m just so proud of myself.”
Her Olympic debut in Rio ended in tears after she failed to pass the qualifying rounds. As her world started to implode, Patterson made a last attempt to qualify for the 2018.
Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast but missed selection. She then walked away from the sport until a call from Australia’s leading high jump coach, Alex Stewart, in 2019. Stewart made several phone calls to check in on Patterson, who lived in the country Victorian town of Leongatha. But this call was different. Something clicked and soon afterwards Patterson packed up her life and headed to Sydney to work with Stewart. Since then she has been rediscovering her best, finishing fifth at the Tokyo Olympics and taking silver at the World Athletics Indoor Championships earlier this year. Patterson’s world championship victory now makes her a favorite heading into the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which will open on July 28.