20 Dec 2016

Eliza McCartney aims high

From Nine To Noon, 11:22 am on 20 December 2016

Eliza McCartney, 20, burst into the nation's consciousness this year when she pole vaulted to a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.

McCartney is the New Zealand national record holder with a vault of 4.80 metres.

Prior to her Olympic success, she was fifth at this year's world indoor championships in America and at the end of last year she set a world junior pole vault record, clearing 4.64m, just days before her eligibility for a junior record ended.

Eliza McCartney at Rio 2016 Olympics

Eliza McCartney at Rio 2016 Olympics Photo: Photosport

She says her success at Rio came as something of a surprise.

“It was always a long shot, I think even when I qualified for the Rio Olympics it was just about getting there enjoying the experience and being a stepping stone for other things like the 2020 Olympics.”

Nevertheless wise counsel from BMX champion Sarah Walker stood her in good stead for the finals.

“One of the big things was talking to Sarah Walker she was just outstanding she spent a lot of time almost coaching me and teaching me about what to expect about how to deal with certain situations.”

One of those was treating training and competition the same another having realistic expectations.

“You can only give 100 percent on the day of what you have, and when you think about it, it’s so simple it’s empowering, I can only give what I’ve got and whether that’s enough or not it doesn’t matter.”