Australia’s newest golden girl
The 25-year-old trailblazer is dominating the sport – she is Australia’s best pole-vaulter and the current world #2.
When you are young, your parents probably told you to reach for the stars. For pole vaulter Nina Kennedy, she took this quite literally and is currently the best pole vaulter in Australia at a mere 25-years-old.
Nina was born in Busselton, WA which is a town three hours south of Perth – though the distance from the city did not deter her from completing primary school in WA’s capital and joining her first club, Perry Lakes Little Athletics.
At just 12-years-old, her life changed as her athletic prowess was identified by a pole vault coach at an athletics meet. From that day forward, Nina has worked her way to the top and earned her place as a trailblazer for the next generation of elite pole vaulters.
In 2015, 17-year-old Nina made her Australian senior team debut at the World Championships following her breakthrough earlier that year when she broke a junior world record where she raised her PB three times in a single competition.
Fast forward to 2022, Nina currently holds the Australian record jump height of 4.82m (achieved at the Sydney Track Classic in March 2021). She has reached unfathomable heights and found huge success at athletics tournaments across the globe. Most notably in 2022, she has had a stellar season with a bronze medal at the Athletics World Championship in Oregon and topping it off by becoming the gold medal champion at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
With her sights set high on the Paris 2024 Olympics, Nina’s long list of outstanding achievements go beyond holding the Australian record and landing medals in 2022.
Amongst her accolades throughout the years she has been a two-time Diamond League champion, three-time Australian national champion, bronze medalist at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and an Olympian at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The world of elite sport is never easy, but it’s a chance for an athlete to show true resilience in their sport. Nina has had her fair share of battles with injury and mental health, though, this has not deterred her perseverance to keep working harder each day for success at the next competition. Amid these hardships, COVID-19 challenges sought to get her during her Olympic campaign as she was forced to isolate away from the Olympic village just days from her competition. Fighting both an 8cm tear in her abductor and the mental battles of physical isolation, Nina pursued and made Australia proud by still jumping in Tokyo.
As we see many top-level pole vaulters start to say goodbye to the sport and retire, Nina is one of the youngest in the sport with many years ahead of her to excel further than she already has.
Nina continues to build height in her career and cement her position as one of the best pole vaulters in the world.