Nicola McDermott shares notebook secrets after Olympic medal

Nicola McDermott's notebook became subject to intense interest among Australian fans as she competed at the Tokyo Olympics.
Aussie sporting fans were keen to know what high jump silver medallist Nicola McDermott was writing in her notebook after each of her attempts at the Tokyo Olympics. Pictures: Getty Images

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.

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.

With AAP

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