Nicola McDermott shares notebook secrets after Olympic medal
As Nicola McDermott thrilled Australian sports fans with her incredible performance in the high jump at the Tokyo Olympics, there was one question on everyone's mind.
Just what was she writing in her journal after every jump?
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Viewers quickly picked up that after each of McDermott's attempts, she would pick up a green journal and start scribbling away.
As the 24-year-old jumped her way into medal contention, setting a new Australian record in the process, more and more fans wanted to know what she was writing down.
Fortunately for the curious viewers at home, the elated McDermott was happy to reveal that secret.
"I was giving myself a rating out of 10 for every single component of the jump," she said.
"By the last time, that was my highest, I gave myself 10 out of 10 but I still had work to do.
“Writing on a T-shirt is another process of my athletics processing. I was writing each time I jumped a bar, it allowed me to zone off and go, ‘What do I need to work on?’ rather than get carried away by the emotion because after I cleared the 2m it was tempting to back off.
“But I just kept going and going because I knew I had things to work on.”
Not only did McDermott set a new Australian record mark of 2.02 metres, she also became the first Australian woman to clear the 2m mark at an Olympic Games.
Anyone else itching to know what Nicola McDermott is writing in her diary as she chases gold in high jump?! I’m here for the journal writing. #highjump #Tokyo2020
And how good has the Aussie track and field team been!? 🎉👏
— Jane Goldsmith (@janegoldnbn) August 7, 2021
A fascinating glimpse in elite psychology in the High Jump.
After every jump, McDermott comes back and writes in her notebook.
What's she writing? She ranks herself in different aspects of the jump (i.e. run-up, take-off).
Then chooses one area to focus on for the next jump pic.twitter.com/LRY0kLYiaA
— Steve Magness (@stevemagness) August 7, 2021
Don’t think it’ll be too hard to remember this effort. 🥈 for Nicola McDermott! https://t.co/S66FvOFkqg
— Matthew Doran (@MattDoran91) August 7, 2021
She also became the first Australian woman to win a medal in the event since Michele Brown in 1964 - which also happened in Tokyo.
McDermott thanked her coach of 14 years, Matt Horsell, in her post-event interview.
“For Matt, he was a local coach, he rose every time I rose. Every time I went overseas he came with me,” McDermott said.
“He has now become one of the most well-renowned coaches because of his humility, his encouragement and passion. He still has a day job, he is not a full-time coach.
“We fit it in around his work because as athletes we do not make wages and stuff. We have to do what we do. He has been the most passionate and encouraging person. I think this medal is just a drop in the ocean of really what he is capable of. I am so proud.”
Nicola McDermott sets new Australian record en route to high jump silver
The NSW jumper became the first Australian to break the 2.00m barrier at the Australian Olympic trials in April and improved the national record to 2.01m at the Stockholm Diamond League meet last month.
Now the national record sits at 2.02m, but with McDermott and Eleanor Patterson - who was fifth in the Olympic final in 1.96m - both in career-best form, it could well be raised even further in the near future.
Patterson won the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal as a teenager but was almost lost to the sport after failing to even qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
But she has been rejuvenated after moving to Sydney and linking up with coach Alex Stewart, who also mentors Australia's leading male high jumper Brandon Starc.
McDermott's silver was the third medal won by the Australian track and field team in Tokyo.
The gold went to Russian Mariya Lasitskene, the three-time world champion.
The 28-year-old Lasitskene won gold with 2.04m on what was a belated Olympic debut after the Russian track and field federation was banned from the 2016 Rio Games for systematic doping.
Decathlete Ash Moloney and javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber both won bronzes.
Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:
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