Some things shouldn’t be rushed. Wilma Murto always knew she could return to the remarkable heights she hit as a teenage pole vault prodigy, but she also knew that it would take time, care, dedication and trust. Trust in the process, as she tried her best to prevent the pressure and expectation from becoming overwhelming. Her own ambition was already enough.
Murto was 17 when she improved the women’s world U20 pole vault record to 4.71m in 2016. It’s a record that still stands. Reflecting on it now, as she sits in the Swiss sun towards the end of a hugely successful season, the 24-year-old describes that breakthrough clearance as “sort of an accident”. She was capable, of course – having the skill to soar over a bar balancing four metres and 71 centimetres above the ground doesn’t just happen – but testament to her tenacity, she set her sights on strengthening the foundations rather than being focused on five metres. Now she is a two-time Olympian and the European champion.