Sport

'Hooker able to get back to best'

Steve Hooker
Steve Hooker

OLYMPICS: Steve Hooker was jumping for joy after clearing 5.96m to win the pole vault gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

Now he can barely jump.

The Beijing effort made him the first male Australian track and field gold medallist in 40 years, the previous being Ralph Doubell who won the 800m in Mexico City.

It seemed as though the sky was the limit for the red-headed Victorian.

The Olympic record was followed by more gold at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, the 2010 World Indoor Championships where he cleared 6.01m, then the Commonwealth Games in the same year.

But with the defence of his Olympic crown starting in less than eight weeks, Hooker's recent performances suggest he is facing a crisis of confidence.

It seemed he wouldn't even qualifying for London, but at a specially convened "competition" in an abandoned railway station in Perth last month, he managed to clear the required height of 5.72m.

Since then he hasn't got near that mark, most attempts finishing with him simply running under the bar without even planting the pole.

The most recent of those was in Lille yesterday where he cleared 5.42m, 40cm lower than the winner, Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie.

Despite his woes, dual Australian Olympic pole vault representative Ray Boyd said he was optimistic Hooker could regain his best form in time for a tilt at gold in London.

"All pole vaulters get in that same situation Steve is in ... although generally it doesn't last as long," Boyd, the father of national women's pole vault record holder Alana, said.

" It certainly happened to me. You get the heebie-jeebies, but generally it's just like rebooting a computer."

Boyd said he had spoken to Hooker earlier this year about his problems.

"At the time he wasn't sure where he was headed. I told him, 'let Alex (coach Alex Parnov) do the worrying, you just do the jumping'," Boyd said.

"I think he's actually close. It might just take someone he admires, standing by the runway and saying, 'C'mon Steve, you can do it'."

With five meets to go before the Games, Boyd said it was far too early to write off the Olympic champion.

"If he can jump 5.7m before he goes to London he could jump well into the 5.90m range and be in contention for a medal. I wouldn't bet against him."

Topics:  london olympics pole vault steve hooker


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Council orders developers to stop work

ISSUE: Orianna Resort Group is appealing Moreton Bay Regional Council's stop work notice.

Council orders developers to stop work

Coast driver spent '3km in wrong lane' before head-on crash

HIGH SPEED: The charged Sunshine Coast man was driving the purple car, in the photo.

A Coast man allegedly drove 3km in wrong lane before head-on smash

An eager eye for trains

TRAIN ENTHUSIAST: Noel Walker builds his miniature models in his home at Arcare in Caboolture.

Noel Walker hasn't let losing his sight hold him back.

Local Partners

Crikey! Why more crocs are heading south

CROC MAP: Crocodile expert says a population boom and warmer waters are drawing more of the prehistoric predators further south

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

DARIUS McCrary, who played Eddie Winslow on the ’90s sitcom Family Matters, has been accused of holding his infant daughter over a pot of boiling water.

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

LOVERS: Grant and Chris have been together for more than three years, and Chris' parents refuse to acknowledge their son's fiance.

Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!