Euxton pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw values medals over metres

Bin Interview Part Two: Euxton’s Olympic bronze medallist pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw reveals to Craig Salmon that she values winning medals over breaking the magical five metre mark

By Craig Salmon
Saturday, 27th November 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 28th November 2021, 3:02 pm

Ten measly little centimetres – it’s not a lot is it? In old imperial terms, it amounts to less than four inches.

To give it some perspective, a credit card is around about 10cms long, so is the width of a toilet roll.

It is also the small margin which is currently separating Euxton athlete Holly Bradshaw and sporting immortality.

Holly Bradshaw in action at the Tokyo Olympics

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Only four athletes in the history of the women’s pole vault have managed to go clear of the magical mark of five metres.

Russian Yelena Isinbayeva was the first ever to do it when she leapt 5.06m outdoors in Zurich more than 15 years ago.

That world record remains intact to this day despite the efforts of American Sandi Morris, who cleared exactly 5m in Brussels, Belgium, in 2016 and Anzhelika Sidorova, of Russia, who registered a jump of 5.01m a couple of months ago also in Zurich.

In terms of under a roof, only two athletes have managed to break through the five metre barrier.

Holly Bradshaw in action at the Tokyo Olympics

Jenn Suhr’s vault of 5.03m at an indoor meet at Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2013 is two centimetres higher than Isinbayeva’s previous world record of 5.01m set the previous year in Stockholm, Sweden.

For Preston-born Bradshaw that golden clearance of five metres or more remains elusive although she has come mightily close. It was back in 2012 when the former Parklands High School pupil cleared 4.87m indoors at the age of 20.

At the time, that put her third on the list of the highest ever clearances ever recorded under a roof.

Even to this day, the mark remains in the all-time top 10 best vaults ever recorded.

And this year, she went higher than she has ever been before when she set a new personal best outdoors, going clear at 4.90m at the British Championships, in Manchester, in the summer.

It would appear that smashing through the five metre barrier is certainly within her grasp and after enjoying one of her best ever seasons which culminated in a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, who knows what the future holds for Bradshaw?

The Chorley athlete admits she doesn’t lie awake at night worrying about clearing five metre but admits it’s certainly a goal for the remainder of her career.

“Five metres is definitely a massive barrier for a woman pole vaulter,” Bradshaw revealed.

“Only four women have ever gone over five metres in the history of our sport.

“It is something which is maybe in the back of my mind but it’s not something that I think about a lot.

“If I was to end my career tomorrow, I would be very, very happy because I have had a long and very successful career.

“But I have cleared 4.90m and I always wanted to win an Olympic medal and now that I have achieved that, it is very exciting and gives me a lot of confidence for the future.

“I’d like to think that I could give five metres a good go, but if I don’t ever do it then it will be fine by me.

“It’s not something I am gunning for right now or thinking about every day.

“If it happens, then that will be great.”

While clearing five metres would be a dream come true, Bradshaw would prefer to win more medals in major championships before she hangs up her spikes.

In 2013 she claimed gold at the European Indoor Championships and won bronze at the outdoor equivalent three years ago.

At the World Indoor Championships in 2012, she also finished third on the podium.

Next year promises to be an hectic one for the former Blackburn Harrier who is set to compete at the European and World Outdoor Championships as well as a Commonwealth Games on home soil in Birmingham.

There is, of course, the small matter of the Paris Olympic Games on the horizon in 2024.

“I think the World Championships is probably the most important event next year – it’s the final one to win a medal at for me.

“But the Commonwealth Games is also a big one with it being on home soil.

“It will be really special. I always enjoy competing in front of a British crowd.

“They are some of the most knowledgeable fans in the world and they really get behind the home athletes.

“I think most of my family members have already got tickets to Birmingham so to have them in the crowd would be amazing especially because of the past year where we have not had anybody in the stadium watching.

“It will feel special to have my family and friends watching me compete.”

Holly Bradshaw is a Müller Ambassador and member of the Müller Athletic Squad. Indulgent Müllerlight Skyr Salted Caramel Flavour is the perfect post-workout snack, with 14 grams of protein fat free and less than 99 calories.

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