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Eleanor Patterson

Age

28

Place of Birth

Leongatha, VIC

Hometown

Leongatha, Victoria

Junior Club

Leongatha Little Athletics

Coach

Alex Stewart

Olympic History

Rio 2016

Tokyo 2020

Paris 2024

High School

Mary MacKillop Regional College, Leongatha

Career Events

Athletics Women's High Jump

 

Eleanor's Story

Eleanor Patterson’s start in athletics came when she was eight years old, after a sleepover at a friend’s place. She accompanied her friend to Little Athletics and fell in love with the sport.

Patterson grew up in the South Gippsland Shire town of Leongatha, located 135km south-east of Melbourne, with a population of just 5000. She could only train on a grass track, as the closed synthetic facility was an hour away, but her teacher at St Laurence O'Toole Primary School in Leongatha, VIC, noted her passion for athletics and encouraged her.

London 2012 Olympian Kaila McKnight (1500m) was an inspiration for Patterson as McKnight lived in a neighbouring small country town. Seeing her compete at the top level, coming from a small country town, helped Patterson believe it was possible for her to do so too. 

At 13, Patterson was already winning national high jump titles. She became prominent when she won gold at the 2013 World Youth (U18) Championship in Donetsk, Ukraine. Later that year she broke the World U18 record clearing 1.96m. She followed this with gold at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games while completing her final year of schooling, with a clearance of 1.94m. 

Her amazing international record continued at the Beijing 2015 World Championships, when Patterson placed eighth to become the first Australian female in 24 years to make the high jump final.

Selected for her Olympic debut in Rio 2016, she cleared 1.89m and missed qualification for the final. In 2017 she declined selection for the world championships and in 2018 missed selection for the Commonwealth Games, where she would have been defending champion. 

Out of high jumping for a time, she remerged in the later part of 2019.

She had relocated to Sydney to train with Alex Stewart, “he welcomed me into his squad and has fostered me and allowed me to grow not only as an athlete but more importantly as a person,” she said.

In late 2019, Patterson cleared a promising 1.90m but missed selection for the 2019 World Championships, then in the summer of 2020, she was in incredible form, leaping 1.96m, 1.96m and 1.94m, ahead of breaking the Australian record with a clearance of 1.99m in Wellington New Zealand. 

Due to injury, she made a late start to her 2021 campaign, clearing 1.87m in her season debut in March. In June in European she was in terrific form clearing heights of 1.93m, 1.94m and 1.96m. 

Selected for Tokyo – her second Olympics, she maintained that consistency and was rewarded with an excellent fifth place with a height of 1.96m. 

Post the Olympics, Eleanor was in scintillating form in 2022 in Europe with three wins from three competitions, including raising the Australian Indoor high jump record to 1.99m. At the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March, Eleanor was terrific, clearing a new Australian Indoor record height of 2.00m to win silver. It was Australia’s first high jump medal at the World Indoors. In just her third outdoor competition of the year at the World Championships in Eugene in July, she was going well, but looked likely to place fourth, until she miraculously cleared 2.02m and on her first attempt to secure the gold medal and the world title. She equalled the Australian record and won Australia’s first global high jump gold medal.

Two weeks later things didn’t go to plan at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham she placed second with a jump of 1.92m.

In 2023 on an Indoor tour in Europe, while warming-up for a competition in Slovakia on February 14, unfortunately Eleanor injured herself. She suffered a fracture to her fifth metatarsal in her foot.

“It was a very, very light warm-up, a few drills, something I would do day in, day out almost, and I was doing some drills on a curve and my foot slipped and crunched my fifth metatarsal and fractured it immediately.” It required surgery and a titanium plate in her foot.

Ahead of attempting to defend her world title in 2023 in Budapest she resumed competition in July and cleared a best of 1.96m in her three competitions before Budapest. But she was again tremendous at a global meet, placing second with a height of 1.99m. It was her third consecutive medal at a global meet – a tremendous achievement. In early 2024, after a few sub-par jumps, she withdrew from the World Indoor Championships team. In April she cleared a solid 1.95m to place second at Nationals and at the end of the championships was named in her third Australian Olympic team.

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