Steven Hooker - Athletics
Steve Hooker kept Australia up late at night as he leapt for gold in the pole vault at Beijing. His third and final attempt at 5 metres 90 would give him victory - the first Australian man to win athletics gold for 40 years and our first Olympic field gold medal since 1948. To cap off a memorable night he would add the Olympic record to his haul as well.
Steve Hooker showed extraordinary courage, as well as a large measure of self belief, to win the pole vault at the World Athletic Championships in Berlin in August 2009. Hooke, the reigning Olympic champion, was suffering from a torn adductor and a neural problem in his upper thigh 12 days before competition. He defied the advice of team doctors and insisted onjumping. Realising he would be unable to sustain a long program, Hooker took a calculated risk and declined to jump until the bar was at 5.85m, when all but three jumpers had been eliminated. Hooker beat the pain barrier to claim a remarkable gold with a jump of 5.90m. Nobody had ever previously entered a major pole vault competition at such a height, and gone on to win.