How Holly Bradshaw learned to stop worrying and love pole vaulting

Bradshaw, who won his seventh national title in Manchester in September, finished fifth in Rio 2016 and fourth in the 2019 World Championships in Qatar.

There was a little Holly Bloodshow, so I thought she shouldn’t have been concerned.

She has traveled between homes, training, and bizarre events over the past year. Existence of closed circuit.

She clicked and collected. She flowed sideways. She washed her hands. She covered her face. She gave everyone else plenty of space.

And 12 months after “living like a hermit,” she caught Covid-19, just four months before the Olympics.

“At first I wondered why I couldn’t get it at any point last year when it wasn’t so close to the Olympics,” she told BBC Sport.

“But then I realized that at least I would have antibodies for when traveling in the outdoor season.”

These positives have not always been easy for Bloodshaw to find.

She got off to a sensational start with a pole vault. Only four years after she first tried the event, she was almost at the top.

Only 20 years old She cleared 4.87m and was second on the indoor list so far. Behind the Russian legend Yelena Isinbaeva.

Then the injury intervened. Back, knees, Achilles tendon. For four consecutive seasons from 2014 to 2017, she went under the knife. However, the most painful scars were not left by the surgeon.

On a gust night at London Stadium in 2017, she saw hope for her hometown gold. She finished in 6th place and sobbed on the mat.

Holly Blood Show in London 2017
The Blood Show finished 6th in London 2017 with a clearance of 4.65m. Three weeks ago she set up a new 4.81m outdoor personal vest

It prompted change. Bloodshaw saved an image of her tears on her phone. But she left her mind behind.

“I was injured and embarked on a journey that was really resentful of the sport,” she said.

“I was following the path of doing things for the wrong reason, so I had to think about why I was doing it.

“I was disappointed that I finished third in this year’s European indoor athletics, but five or six years ago I would have been very angry because I cried on TV and beat myself for not winning. ..

“Now, after a change of spirit, you can not only win, but also go out and enjoy your competitiveness.

“If I hadn’t changed my psychology in 2017, it was killing me, so I don’t even know if I’m going to play sports now.

“The pressure to do what I did and prove to people was just unhealthy.”

The 29-year-old Bradshaw is watching the track and field circuit as it is.

She admits she is lucky. She has central funding from British Athletics. She understands the sponsor. Both believe that what is best for her is best for them.

This is not always the case.

Previous Bloodshow contracts with clothing sponsors stipulated that you would need to appear in a certain number of events each season or reduce your income.

Some of her rivals are under similar pressure, funding their careers through prize money and performance fees.

“I know girls chasing 15-20 competitions a year because they need to live,” Bradshaw added. “I’m really lucky I don’t have to do that.”

However, athletes cannot opt ​​out of self-promotional races.

In individual sports, building an image and raising a profile is part of the grind. Social media can make a star, but it can hurt your confidence. And at least for the Blood Show, there is a balance.

“The fact that I’m on Twitter sees how many likes I get and what I need to change to get more, and I don’t like it.” She added.

“I know some people do, and that’s good for them, but I take social media detox, where I need that psychological break for a week on Instagram and Twitter. I won’t go to. “

As Tokyo approaches, she focuses on really important numbers. 79 days before the Olympics start and 7 events.

Her last appearance in front of Tokyo was the July 13th anniversary game, and she hopes to be the starting point for her first major championship medal.

“This indoor season was arguably the best I’ve ever had,” she added.

“For the last few years, we’ve been working on certain technical matters, lifestyles, and mentalities without getting hurt, and we’ve been moving ourselves further, all together. Even after having Covid. , I’m sitting here in the best position leading to the Olympics. “

A position that takes into consideration both past disappointments and future possibilities.

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How Holly Bradshaw learned to stop worrying and love pole vaulting

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