Kiwi pole vaulter Eliza McCartney might not remember many things, but she definitely won’t forget the 4.80m she cleared to secure Olympic bronze in Rio.

1. I wanted to be a netballer

“Netball is a massive sport in New Zealand and I grew up playing the game for many years. I loved playing defence and I remember keeping a special eye on all the defensive players in my younger days.

“My father was a high jumper and my mother was a gymnast, so I’ve always had good sporting genes and a natural agility. This, alongside my height, helped make me a good defensive player. I played to a representative level and it was a tough decision to quit the sport and focus on pole vault.”

2. Adhesive spray is my best friend

“Pole vaulters use many different methods to improve their grip of the poles. Some vaulters use chalk or lighter fuel – there are many different methods.

“If you have watched me compete, you will have seen my hands are covered in a black resin. What I use is the adhesive spray people put on their hockey sticks before putting on the hockey tape. I find it brings out the resin and helps my grip.”

3. I have a terrible memory

“I am also not the best at remembering what height I cleared at all of my meets. Of course, I remember the big moments, the medals and the PBs, but for some of the other meets I have to ask my mum what height I cleared!

“Remembering names is also not my strong point. They often disappear from my head.

“When it comes to my studies I find my memory lasts until the exam and then after that it just vanishes from my mind. I wish I could hold on to the information for a little longer.”