ZB

'Exciting change': McCartney commits to another Olympic shot

Author
Chris Rattue, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 12 May 2022, 9:47am
Eliza McCartney will only pick up a pole vault again late this year, after nearly a year's break forced by Achilles tendon and other injury issues. (Photo / Photosport)
Eliza McCartney will only pick up a pole vault again late this year, after nearly a year's break forced by Achilles tendon and other injury issues. (Photo / Photosport)

'Exciting change': McCartney commits to another Olympic shot

Author
Chris Rattue, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 12 May 2022, 9:47am

Eliza McCartney believes years of injury problems may be behind her and has recommitted to competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

McCartney, who stole the nation's heart with her shock pole vault bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, revealed she will not be able to compete at the Commonwealth Games and world championships this year.

The 25-year-old Aucklander said the Commonwealth Games decision was particularly hard because even though it was not a premier pole vault competition, the Games traditionally meant a lot to New Zealanders.

But she will only pick up a pole vault again late this year, after nearly a year's break forced by Achilles tendon and other injury issues.

Instead, she has concentrated on changing her biomechanics and even her training locations to recapture the form which made her a rising world star before injuries smashed her career.

McCartney told NZME she had considered retiring when faced with the uncertainties of where a revamped approach to the sport would lead to.

"I've never taken this amount of time away from the sport before," she said.

"We have stripped it back and is it worth continuing…what can actually be done with what I've got.

"We found it was less medical than we thought in the past…I'm not the robust teenager anymore and we just didn't move fast enough to the changes.

"The main thing is there's no reason to think it is over…there are ways to do it differently which is exciting. I want to give it a real crack again.

"It's going to take time but I'm already able to do a lot more than I could last year."

Biomechanics expert Matt Dallow is the main new recruit to her team, with Jeremy McColl still her head pole vault mentor.

She has put a lot more emphasis on mental skills.

And after years of being based solely at North Shore's Millennium Stadium, McCartney has done all her track work at Trusts Stadium in Waitakere and gym work in Dallow's garage.

When asked if she contemplated retirement, McCartney said: "Yes absolutely I don't know if I can commit, what it is going to do to me.

"You don't know if it is going to work, it is a big path to go down, and it takes a psychological toll as well.

"What convinced me most was there was no reason to think this was unsalvageable.

"That's what made me want to go again. Not giving it another go would have left me with a lot of regrets."

"I might not get back to being an Olympic medallist again, so it has to be enjoyable what I'm doing it, I have to have a reason for doing it now. We're working really hard on all aspects.

"The way I didn't qualify for Tokyo (Olympics) would have been a very hard spot to depart on.

"I've been offered a really good second way of doing things it made sense to go again and throw everything at it, which is what we are doing.

"It's really been a really exciting change. This is all with the idea of getting to be at the Paris Olympics, and also being at my absolute best."

McCartney said it was very tough not picking up a pole vault. She will get back to competing in New Zealand around December.