The Rio Olympics have, in a sense, come as a surprise for Eliza McCartney.
The 19-year-old Aucklander was initially targeting the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but her rapid progress meant a rethinking of her goals.
"It only became apparent in the last year or so I could go to Rio." she said.
McCartney started pole vaulting aged 14 and a discipline with many components to be mastered appealed to the amiable young woman who laughs easily and often.
"I quickly started doing quite well. I was surprised by that and kept going. Technically it is a hard sport and it can take years to get that technique right. It is something that, when you do it right, it feels amazing."