Even though she is busy preparing for the 2021 Olympic Games, Nicola McDermott still found time to inspire high school students in Maitland earlier this month.
Her message – “never disqualify yourself from your goal”.
The 24-year-old high-jumper is taking part in the Olympics Unleashed presented by Optus program to share her experiences.
Students at Maitland Grossman High School were honoured to welcome her last week.
Nicola said it was nice to relate to the students, having grown up in a more regional area herself.
“It was beautiful to be able to share from my own personal experience of growing up on the Central Coast and not having huge institutes to train at – we were able to really connect,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.
“I was able to meet a few of their athletes and inspire them.
“To be able to reach the teenagers and the kids who at their age are heavily influenced by those around them is incredible.
“I am hoping it left a lasting message of what they can achieve.
“[I tell them] good things take time, if what spurs you on is really strong you need to hold onto it.
“Never disqualify yourself from your goal because if you keep training and keep investing in yourself you will reach your highest potential and usually that is more than enough to get yourself onto a national team or higher.”
When it comes to career highlights, Nicola has many including qualifying for the Games.
“I think the two metre jump I did in Sydney on 18 April was a dream come true,” she said.
“I had my family and friends at the Olympic trials and to get the national record and break that barrier was incredible.
“The Commonwealth Games in 2018 was also incredible, I had a personal best and won the bronze medal, it was my first real performance on the national stage.”
Moving forward, Nicola’s focus is on doing her best in Tokyo next month.
“I am really excited, it’ll be my first Olympics,” she said.
“I know I am really going to love it, I don’t care if it is different to previous years.
“I love the opportunity to represent Australia in whatever I do but with the Olympics I know we have the whole nation behind us.
“I don’t have any concern or worry going into it, I am just there to perform and jump a personal best and whatever that gets me whether it’s on the podium or not I will be really excited to be a part of it.”