Bleasdale shocked by her success

Pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale admits it is “weird” to be preparing for the Olympics having known little of her chosen event four years ago.

The 20-year-old had never even tried pole vaulting at the time of the Beijing Games but will enter London 2012 as a serious contender.

Since trying out the event for the first time at the age of 17, the former gymnast and runner has enjoyed such a meteoric rise that the great Yelena Isinbayeva is in her sights.

Bleasdale cleared 4.87 metres in January – the third highest of all time indoors – and set a new British outdoor record of 4.71m to qualify for the Games earlier last month.

Bleasdale said: “When it was Beijing I didn’t really know anything about pole vaulting. I was doing hurdles at the time, still involved in athletics and playing a bit of football.

“I didn’t really watch much athletics but remember seeing some of the key moments. It is kind of crazy now that I am at the Olympics. Hopefully I will do myself justice and compete really well.”

Double Olympic champion Isinbayeva, who boasts a world record of 5.06m, is the clear favourite but Bleasdale’s statistics compare favourably to those of the 30-year-old Russian at her age.

Bleasdale largely views London as a chance to gain valuable experience but she could have the potential to become a world star in her own right in future.

“I have had a rapid rise and established myself,” said Bleasdale, who comes from Euxton, near Chorley. “It’s come out of nowhere. I have trained so hard and it’s got me places. I am really privileged to be here and representing GB at a home Olympics.

“I have shocked myself how high I have jumped. When I jumped 4.87 it was a big shock to me.”


Holly Bleasdale
Holly Bleasdale

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