Self-belief was the key to bronze medal says heroic Olympian Holly Bradshaw

Olympic bronze medal winner Holly Bradshaw said she was proud of herself after making British Olympic history in Tokyo.

The 29-year-old Euxton athlete finished behind the USA’s Katie Nageotte and the ROC’s Anzhelika Sidorova to further boost Team GB in the Olympic Stadium following the return of Dina Asher-Smith.

She is the first British athlete to win a pole vault medal at an Olympic Games.

Bradshaw finished sixth at London 2012 and fifth five years ago in Rio having also come fourth at the World Championships in 2019 and ended her agonising run in Japan.

Holly Bradshaw and gold medal winner Katie Nageotte (left) of USA (Getty Images)

Only three along with Bradshaw – Sidorova, Nageotte and Katerina Stefanidi – cleared 4.70m to go into a straight shootout for the podium.

Bradshaw cleared 4.80m at her second attempt, with the bar wobbling, before going over 4.85m first time.

Defending champion Stefanidi’s failure at 4.85m and 4.90m guaranteed the Briton a medal but she could not clear the new height and secured bronze.

Bradshaw said: “This is what I’ve worked for my whole career.

“I don’t know what emotion I’m feeling – relief, pure enjoyment, excited, proud of myself for sticking with it. I knew I could get there one day.

“It was a tricky competition, it was a constant headwind. My experience kicked in, I kept my nerve, had a bit of a wobble at 4.70 but cleared it and it was just that experience that played out today.

“It’s still not really sunk in. I knew I could come in and deliver a medal-winning performance but I really felt like I was ranked fifth coming in.

“I knew I had to dig something out and I really feel like I did. I earned that medal and I’m really proud of myself and all of my team for just sticking with me.”

Bradshaw’s medal was just Team GB’s second in athletics after Wigan’s Keely Hodgkinson’s 800m silver on Tuesday.

It also came after Asher-Smith’s successful return to the track after last week’s drama. The 25-year-old saw her Games wrecked by a hamstring injury she suffered in June and pulled out of the 200 metres after failing to reach the 100m final last week.

She helped the 4x100m relay team set a new British record of 41.55 seconds to win their heat and reach the final.