In an Australian first, Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers stood on the same podium at the world championships after claiming silver and bronze in the high jump.
The shared podium is the first for Australia at the world athletics championships and the first at a global athletics meet since the 1956 Olympics when pioneers Betty Cuthbert and Marlene Matthews claimed gold and bronze respectively in the 100m-200m sprint double.
On the final night of competition in Budapest, Patterson and Olyslagers battled through 31-degree heat to snare their medals, which took the Australian team haul for the event to six.
It was an emotional gold medal win for Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh, with her country at war with Russia.
Patterson said the silver medal symbolised a hunger to meet her potential when the women meet again at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“It was 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 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.”
Bronze marked a comeback to the global podium for Olyslagers, who placed fifth at the world championships in Oregon in 2022 and was forced to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games due to injury. It was also only the second defeat of the year for the world leader at 2.02m.
“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 Australian team finished the championships with a record medal haul of six, including one gold, two silver and three bronze medals.
Originally published as Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers claim silver and bronze in high jump