A leap of faith: high jumper changes her life and rediscovers her love-By Michael Gleeson
Eleanor Patterson on her way to qualifying for the high jump final in Tokyo.
Eleanor Patterson gave up high jumping in 2018. She just couldn’t do it anymore. She was deeply unhappy. Jumping, the one thing she loved, no longer gave her any joy.
She had won the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Glasgow in 2014 as a crushingly shy 18-year-old schoolgirl from Leongatha. She went to Rio for the Olympics but it didn’t end well. She missed the bar at training heights and went out in the opening round. She cut a lost, despondent figure leaving the field that day.
By the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, she had fallen away as an athlete, failed to make the team, and gave the sport away.
Yet on Saturday night Patterson will jump for an Olympic medal in Tokyo.
“It’s funny, this whole experience here is a little bit of deja vu, but it is completely flipped upside down. I am a completely different person to what I was five years ago,” she said.
“I am different in so many manners. My last championship was Rio 2016. I haven’t done anything essentially since then, so I am just so happy to be partnered up with (coach) Alex Stewart and to be on this journey.
Australia’s Eleanor Patterson after she was eliminated from the women’s high jump final at the world championships in 2015.