Story and Tips | Nicola McDermott, Australian Olympian high jumper
At 8 years old I pulled out my notebook and wrote a poem about one day competing in the Olympics. I had big dreams for my sport and believed with all my heart I would one day reach them. My journey to reaching the Olympics took me on unexpected turns.
I found in school I wasn’t the best at High Jump even when I trained so hard, and it required so much time. Yet, in the moments when I felt discouraged or lacking passion, I remembered my reason why I started in the first place.
I remembered how I loved the feeling of flying in the air when clearing the bar, and my dream of representing Australia.
In the pursuit of my big dream however, I had spent most of my life believing what I did defined who I was. It made bad competitions seem so much worse, because I believed I was a failure if I didn’t jump high. As an adult I realised that belief was complete nonsense! I was loved, respected, treasured and valuable regardless of how I performed.
I got this revelation when I read the Bible, it taught me that I was loved every moment of my life regardless of if I was successful or not. I began a ministry called Everlasting Crowns to help teach athletes about their identity outside of sport, and it gave me a new reason for doing high jump.
Fast forward to this year… At 24 years of age, I stood on the podium in Tokyo and won the silver medal at the Olympic Games with a jump of 2.02m. That day I became the highest female jumper in Australian history, my dream came true.
From my story, I want to encourage you today:
- Dream big in the areas where you feel most passionate and excited about.
- When you dream, don’t be limited by what you have seen or what you think is possible with the talents you have right now, but dream as if you had all the time, money and support in the world.
- Big dreams take time, but if you know why you are doing it, that reason will sustain you and help you when things get hard. Big dreams take you on a journey where you have to rely on many people to help you reach your goal.
“The most important thing is not a trophy, award or title, but the people that you shared the journey with and the person you became along the way.” Nicola McDermott
I have no doubt you will be a part of something bigger than what you could achieve on your own.
Nicola McDermott’s photo credit: Casey Sims
This article first appeared in Edition 31