At 19, in the biggest competition of her life, Eliza McCartney should have been a bundle of nerves. Instead, she showed poise and demeanor beyond her years to deliver a fairytale bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics women’s pole vault. She became the youngest-ever Olympic medalist in the pole vault,and first New Zealand Olympic medalist in pole vault.
The first strong indication of the prodigious talent McCartney holds came in 2014 when,at 17 years old, she won the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships. The following year, McCartney set a World Junior record in Auckland, with a height of 4.64m.
Two years later McCartney backed up the Olympic bronze with a silver at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Just months later, in Germany in 2018, McCartney cleared 4.94m, a new National and Oceania record. At the time of the jump it ranked her number one in the world for that year, and the third highest women’s pole vaulter of all time.
As well as being a professional athlete, McCartney has always enjoyed studying at university. Initially a Physiology student, she transferred to studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Science in 2018, to reflect her growing passion for sustainability and the climate crisis.
In recent years, McCartney has increasingly partnered with organisations and companies actively making a difference in protecting our planet.