Nicola McDermott has won silver in the women’s high jump, setting a national record of 2.02 metres in the Olympic final in Tokyo.
- McDermott is the first Australian to win a women’s high jump medal since 1964
- She had three attempts at 2.04m but was unable to clear the height
- Australian teammate Eleanor Patterson was fifth in the final
It is Australia’s first medal in the event since Michele Brown also won silver at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
McDermott could not clear 2.04m with her three attempts, the height achieved by gold medallist Mariya Lasitskene of the Russian Olympic Committee team.
Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchikh was the bronze medallist with a clearance of 2.00m.
It was Australia’s third podium finish of the Tokyo track and field program, following the bronze medals won by Kelsey-Lee Roberts in the women’s javelin and Ashley Moloney in the decathlon.
Fellow Australian Eleanor Patterson finished fifth in the high jump final, with a season best of 1.96m her highest clearance.
Earlier in the evening, Stewart McSweyn achieved Australia’s best result in the men’s 1,500m in 61 years after placing seventh in the final.
His countryman Ollie Hoare finished in 11th place.
McDermott had arrived in Tokyo in career-best form after setting a national record of 2.01m in Stockholm early last month.
She became the first Australian woman to clear two metres earlier in the year and was considered a medal contender heading into the Tokyo competition.
The 24-year-old shook the competition up when she was the first to go over 2.00m, with Lasitskene and Mahuchikh the only other athletes to clear the height as well.
Lasitskene applied the pressure when she cleared 2.02m, with McDermott needing her second attempt to join her rival, while posting a national record in the process.
Three-time world champion Lasitskene sailed over 2.04m with her second attempt but the height proved too much for McDermott.
Mahuchikh had two stabs at 2.04m after passing on her second and third attempts at 2.02m.
McSweyn ‘gave it everything’
McSweyn will benefit from the experience of reaching the men’s 1,500m final in his Olympic debut.
He gave himself every chance of contending for a medal in the final, having been in third place at the bell lap.
But the fierce pace set by Kenyan world champion Timothy Cheruiyot took its toll on the Australian in the final 400 metres as he faded back in the field.
Cheruiyot was eventually outrun by brilliant Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who won gold in an Olympic record of 3 minutes and 28.32 seconds.
The silver went to Cheruiyot, who ran 3:29.01, while Great Britain’s Josh Kerr took the bronze in 3:29.05.
McSweyn clocked 3:31.91, with Hoare running 3:35.79.
“I gave it everything,” McSweyn told Channel Seven.
“Six guys that beat me were too good. I’m going to have to keep working to get better.
“What an atmosphere. We could hear the Aussies scattered in the crowd. We heard the chants, especially in the last lap when I was hurting. I gave it everything.”
Earlier in the evening, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan secured a second title and third medal in Tokyo, showing blistering pace down the home straight to win the women’s 10,000m.
The 28-year-old Ethiopian-born Hassan won the 5,000m gold and picked up bronze in the 1,500m in her bid for an unprecedented treble at the Games.
Despite running three races in the last few days, Hassan found a higher gear before the final turn to surge past world-record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia and cross the line in 29:55.32.
Bahrain’s Kalkidan Gezahegne, also Ethiopian-born, increased her pace in the closing stages to grab the silver medal, with Gidey picking up the bronze medal after leading the race from the seventh lap.
Allyson Felix won her 11th career Olympic medal, combining with her American teammates to finish the 4x400m relay in 3:16.85 for a runaway victory.
The team of Felix, Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu have the US a seventh straight victory at the Olympics in the 4x400m.
Poland finished second and Jamaica was third.
Felix, who became the most-decorated woman in Olympic track history when she won bronze in the 400m on Friday night, now passes Carl Lewis with the most track medals of any US athlete.
Of the 11 medals, seven are gold.