This is a transcript.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Australian pole vaulter Steve Hooker has leapt into the record books by winning Olympic gold last night in Beijing.

It’s Australia’s 12th gold medal of the Games and it was sealed with an Olympic record height of 5.96 metres.

It’s Australia’s first athletics gold medal since Cathy Freeman’s 400 metre triumph in Sydney.

Steve Hooker says he’s finally been rewarded for years of hard work and isolation.

Karen Barlow reports from the Birds Nest Stadium.

KAREN BARLOW: The crowd was right behind Steve Hooker as he tried to clear 5.9 metres.

Russia’s Evgeny Lukyanenko had not managed to do it and this was Hooker’s third and final attempt as heard on the ABC’s Grandstand.

ABC REPORTER: On his own he accelerates down towards the bar he plants the pole and rocks back… he’s over! It is gold medal for Australia! It’s a great jump 5 metres 90!

KAREN BARLOW: Hooker’s coach Alex Parnov leapt over a security barrier barefoot to embrace the winner, but the athlete was not finished.

He had Tim Mack’s Athens record of 5.95 metres in his sights. The new Olympic mark is 5.96 metres.

STEVE HOOKER: I’m starting to feel like a pretty happy guy. It’s a surreal feeling; I mean you can probably see the look on my face as I go over the bar on the footage. It’s like nothing I’ve experienced on my life, you know. I stood at the end of runway before that jump and it was like something I imagined when I was a kid growing up.

KAREN BARLOW: The final was hard on Steve Hooker physically and mentally.

STEVE HOOKER: It’s amazing. It was an amazing night. It was a tough night; it was a fight.

KAREN BARLOW: The prospects for Australia’s track and field team looked thin when world champion’s Jana Rawlinson and Nathan Deakes pulled out of the Games due to injury.

Now there’s Hooker’s gold, and the silvers which went to walker Jared Tallent and hurdler Sally McLellan, not to mention Tallent’s bronze.

by: Karen Barlow


Steve Hooker
Steve Hooker

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