She’s always been into sports, but it was her fear of goats that turned Shara Proctor into one of the world’s best long jumpers.

1. I wanted to be an acrobat when I was younger

“I was a very active child. I was always climbing things that I should not have been climbing and performing flips everywhere I went. I remember my very first day of primary school. I was really excited to meet my new friends and see my new school and playground.

“My aunt was a teacher at the same primary school, so she took me with her. I cartwheeled from the car in the parking lot straight to my class! My aunt said she could not help but laugh. I had cartwheeled for about 60m.”

2. I was a decent footballer

“I really enjoyed playing football in high school. I was actually fortunate enough to make the national squad to play against the British Virgin Islands in 2005 [Proctor is originally from Anguilla]. 

“Right wing was the position I played, mainly because of my speed and ability to get the ball down field – and also because my left foot was useless! I think at the time I preferred to play football rather than to practice athletics because I was involved in a group activity and surrounded by people my age who I identified with.”

3. I’m scared of goats

“When I was aged around two or three I thought goats were the scariest things on this earth. My mother used to be a veterinarian and worked at the agricultural department in Anguilla. As you can I imagine, I followed her everywhere around the property. I saw a wide range of animals everyday.

“It was just something about goats that scared me to death. One night while sleeping, I dreamt that a goat was chasing me before it burst through my window and tried to eat me. I ran straight to my parents' room screaming ‘a goat is coming! a goat is coming!’ and jumped into their bed.

“My parents swear to this day that I jumped from the door onto the bed which is about 4 metres in distance. They said they knew from that point I would become a long jumper.”