Holly Bradshaw interview: ‘I’ve never fitted the image of a pole vaulter’

Holly Bradshaw does not particularly want to talk about body image. To be perfectly frank, she does not give a damn what she looks like when doing her job, so long as she jumps high.

“I don’t wear make-up and if I come off the [pole vault] bed and my hair’s a kerfuffle it doesn’t matter,” she says, matter of fact. But for whatever reason, her appearance seems to be of great importance to others.

It started around the time she finished sixth at the London 2012 Olympics, aged 20, and found out if you put her name into search engines the suggested next word was “fat”. Then it seemed to resurface last December when Nike unexpectedly dropped her at the end of the most consistent year of her career.

Without kit manufacturer backing for the first time, she searched around to see if other companies were interested in filling the void but Adidas and Puma said no, declining to support the woman sixth in the global rankings.

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