New Zealand’s latest Olympic darling and surprise pole vault medallist Eliza McCartney has had a taste of the big time and, frankly, she likes it.

So, even while her head was still spinning after a whirlwind 24 hours in Rio where the teen sensation, briefly, became New Zealand’s youngest ever female Olympic medallist with her stunning bronze in the women’s pole vault on Saturday (NZT), she was already thinking of the future, both short and long-term.

McCartney, 19, was surpassed as youngest medallist within 24 hours when Lydia Ko, born four months earlier, claimed silver in the women’s golf, but it did not detract from a dream couple of days in Rio for the North Shore athlete.

Just two years ago she was at a low ebb wondering about her future in the sport when she was laid low with glandular fever and forced to take most of the season off. Eventually she ploughed through that.


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