What Aussie high jumper Nicola McDermott was writing in her journalAustralia was wondering what was in the book.


Aussie Nicola McDermott added another medal to the tally with a record-setting effort to win silver in the women’s high jump.

McDermott, who became the first Aussie to jump 2m at the Australian National Championships in April, flew past her record to set a new Oceania mark at 2.02m.

She jumped 1.98m and 2m on her first attempts to sit in first place, but her first miss at 2.02m was enough to drop her into second as three-time world champion Mariya Lasitskene came home strong to claim gold.

The Russian star cleared a best of 2.04m and McDermott couldn’t quite match her.

McDermott established herself as a new national hero by winning Australia’s fifth ever high jump medal at an Olympics, becoming the first woman to do since Michele Brown, who won silver 57 years ago in 1964, also in Tokyo.

Australia was asking one main question throughout the final as McDermott sat down with her journal at the end of every single jump. The unusual tactic helped deliver her a silver medal as she jumped higher than any other Australian woman in history.

McDermott later explained what she had written in her journal, revealing that she rated each of her jumps.

“The high jump is one of the hardest events, stealing the clearance. I did not watch the replay of it, but I felt that I had it,” McDermott said of her 2.04m attempt that was oh so close.

“But that is really giving me a hunger for more and I was rating myself and I thought there is still room to work. We are competing in Europe in two weeks’ time and yep, we are getting it.

“I was giving myself a rating out of 10 for every single component of the jump. By the last time, that was my highest, I gave myself 10 out of 10 but I still had work to do.

“Writing on a T-shirt is another process of my athletics processing. I was writing each time I jumped a bar, it allowed me to zone off and go, ‘What do I need to work on?’ rather than get carried away by the emotion because after I cleared the 2m it was tempting to back off.

“But I just kept going and going because I knew I had things to work on.”

McDermott had another secret weapon that saw her step onto the Olympic podium – her coach of 14 years Matt Horsell.

She paid tribute to the man she credited with helping her reach some lofty heights.

“For Matt, he was a local coach, he rose every time I rose. Every time I went overseas he came with me,” McDermott said. “He has now become one of the most well renowned coaches because of his humility, his encouragement and passion. He still has a day job, he is not a full-time coach.

“We fit it in around his work because as athletes we do not make wages and stuff. We have to do what we do. He has been the most passionate and encouraging person. I think this medal is just a drop in the ocean of really what he is capable of. I am so proud.”

McDermott is Australia’s new golden girl of athletics and she said she felt the country willing her on despite the relatively empty stadium.

As a woman of faith with “Jesus” written on her wrist, she said she hoped she could inspire people.

“I am going after the gold in Paris, I am going to keep putting in 100 per cent because this is just like a little bit of encouragement for one person watching, that anything is possible when you have faith then I have done my job today,” McDermott said.

“As a teenager, I was always an outcast, and I got welcomed into a faith community that loved me. I remember encountering God’s love and it changed the way that I thought of myself as a misfit.

“It gave me passion and purpose, and I think in 2017, it was my big moment when it flicked a switch, and I decided to pursue God over sport and whatever comes with sport is a bonus. But I am already complete and perfect in love regardless of it.

“That has just allowed me to soar over every high jump bar and not be scared anymore. Because I am loved. That is the most important thing.”



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