Crowds at the National Athletics Stadium in Budapest witnessed an unprecedented feat in Australian athletics history as high jump dynamos Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers soared their way to silver and bronze medals, securing the country’s sixth medal at the prestigious World Athletics Championships.
The climactic final night of competition unfolded with intense anticipation as the high-fliers Patterson and Olyslagers leaped into a thrilling four-way battle for podium honours.
With the bar set at 1.97 meters, the Aussies showcased their prowess alongside Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Great Britain’s Morgan Lake.
In a captivating showdown of athletic finesse, Patterson, the reigning world champion, demonstrated her world-class calibre despite having undergone major foot surgery merely months ago.
The atmosphere was electric as she summoned her inner strength for a last-ditch effort to clear the bar at 1.97 meters, securing her place in the 2024 Olympics by meeting the qualifying height.
In tandem, Olympic silver medalist Olyslagers and World Indoor champion Mahuchikh effortlessly cleared the formidable height, elevating the intensity of the competition.
The battle reached a crescendo when Olyslagers gracefully overcame the bar at 1.99 meters on her second attempt, as Patterson and Mahuchikh matched her feat on their first tries. The pressure proved too much for Lake, who conceded on her third attempt, bidding farewell to the competition after faltering at 2.01 meters.
Ultimately, it was Mahuchikh who emerged triumphant in the fierce three-way clash, clinching Ukraine’s maiden gold medal of the championship.
Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers have created Australian history, sharing the podium in women’s high jump at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.????????
— Athletics Australia (@AthsAust) August 28, 2023
After walking away with the silver medal, Patterson described the event as “a very wild, incredible night and a tough competition”.
“I definitely put my back up against the wall but I am incredibly proud of the performance tonight and of Nicola and Yaroslava as well,” Patterson said
“Having third attempt clearances was showing I didn’t have many comps under my belt and yeah, I made it tough for myself but I am just incredibly proud that I was able to push through and come away with a 1.99 and a season best.
“I am so proud of Nicola as well, I knew we could get on the podium. I often go in thinking I just want to jump a PB or jump high and Nicola is often doing similar. To really push each other is an incredible thing and what we have on home soil is wonderful, she is a beautiful human being and obviously an incredible athlete.”
Winning bronze also marked Olyslagers’ return to the international podium. She had finished fifth in the World Athletics Championships in Oregon and had to skip the Commonwealth Games due to injury. This setback was only her second defeat of the year against the global leader at 2.02 meters.
“I was getting flashbacks of a few years ago when we (Eleanor Patterson) were going head-to-head, especially in 2020 and we really pushed each other. I was thinking, we’ve come a long way since a few years ago,” Olyslagers said.
“I love when somebody raises the bar, it’s an invitation for someone else to raise it as well and I think Eleanor is a pillar of that. I knew when she did 99, I was like, let’s do this, just like on home soil.”
The 2023 World Athletics Championships draw to a close with the Australian Athletics Team securing an unprecedented collection of six medals, comprising a gold, two silvers, and three bronzes.