Steve Hooker – a champion whichever way you look at it

Champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker is preparing to defend his gold medal at the London Olympics. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker is preparing to defend his gold medal at the London Olympics. Picture: Phil Hillyard

I have been following with interest the progress towards London 2012 of Olympic Pole Vaulter, Steve Hooker over the past few months.  There are two reasons for this.  In relation to the documentary, Steve and I share something in common – our parents were Franz Stampfl athletes (my mother and both his mother and father) and we have both been profoundly affected by Franz’s philosophies as a result – passed on from our parents.  Also, Steve is one of our interviewees for the documentary as a result of this influence.

As someone who has spent the better part of her life around Olympians and is also a performer, I sympathise with Steve’s fight to get back into form before the London Olympics in July.  I have heard so many stories from other Olympians who have had similar issues during their athletic careers, many of whom came out fighting and exceeded everyone’s expectations on the day of their actual Olympic event.  And, being an actor, I totally understand “the yips” Steve has talked about – and I never had to fly through the air on a thin pole to get over a bar nearly 6 metres above the ground!

Stage fright is a common malady.  Everyone suffers from it.  The actor whose lines dry on stage.  The public speaker who forgets their notes.  The Manager who has to face his team during redundancies.  Everyone in every walk of life at some stage has baulked at the gate, either in their job or their private life.  And it doesn’t matter how experienced you are or how good you are at what you do – it can strike without warning.  And, it takes time to tame that beast once it has you in it’s jaws.

Steve has done an amazing job of coming back from both injury and the subsequent anxieties that followed.  And let’s not forget that he has already qualified for the 2012 Olympics, as shown in the video below:

I take my hat off to Steve for continuing to put himself out there, in the blaze of public scrutiny, as he continues to build up his jump fitness while managing an injury that’s on the mend and doing it with grace and a positive attitude.

I know all the team here at A Life Unexpected will be cheering him on at the Olympics in July and we are all already proud of him for all that he’s achieved – Olympian, Current Olympic Champion and Captain of the Australian Olympic Athletics team.  There’s not many that can list all that in their CV.

Go strong, Steve.  And know that you’ve already proven you’re a winner.  Fly high in Munich today and we’ll be cheering you on in London for being the champion you are.

Sally McLean
Producer
A Life Unexpected 

Read article on “A Life Unexpected”: http://p.ost.im/p/eWLT9n

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