Eleanor Patterson wins gold in women’s high jump

Mahuchikh, jumping first, missed. Then Patterson hit the bar. Mahuchikh, the bronze medalist from Tokyo who also won silver at the last world championships in Doha, then missed twice more, meaning Patterson had secured gold before making her final jump. She missed again, but it didn’t matter, because she had won the gold.

Australia had never won a medal at the world high jump championships before, not even close. The previous best finish by an Australian at the world outdoor championships was an eighth by… Patterson in 2015, the year after she won Commonwealth gold.

Eleanor Patterson won gold in the high jump at the world championships.Credit:PA

The following year, she went to Rio and was inconsolable after her performance, when she was knocked out in the early rounds, unable to clear even training heights.

In 2018, she stopped jumping. She hated it and gave it away for over a year before having a heart to heart with herself and deciding it was the jump she loved so she would have to change the things that made them unhappy.

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She changed coaches and she changed states from country Victoria to Sydney, and those changes have matured her. She grew from a shy country girl to a strong, assertive and mature woman.

“I basically quit the sport in 2018 and didn’t jump for over a year, then I really had to decide: is this really what I want to do or not? I’m here because I knew I wasn’t done,” she said in an interview with age and the herald last year before the final of the Tokyo Olympics.

“It’s deeply ingrained to know that I belong here.

“I’m a completely different person than I was five years ago. I’m different in so many ways. My last championship was Rio 2016. I haven’t done anything essential since then so I’m so happy to be associated with [coach] Alex Stewart and to be part of this journey.

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Tokyo’s Australian Olympic silver medalist Nicola Olyslagers (née McDermott) came fifth with a height of 1.96m.

The competition was opened by the forced absence of the Russian, three-time world champion and gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, Mariya Lasitskene. All Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from competing in Eugene, Oregon due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Stewart McSweyn finished ninth in the men’s 1500m with a time of three minutes, 33.24 seconds. In a major upset, Britain’s Jake Wightman won gold beating Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

Wightman’s time of 3:29.23 was the second-fastest 1500 at the world championships, after the 3:27.65 run by middle-distance legend Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999. It was also the first 1500 medal Britain’s gold in the 1,500 since Steve Cram won the inaugural title in Helsinki in 1983.

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