|Birth name||Holly Bethan Bleasdale|
2 November 1991 |
Preston, Lancashire, Great Britain
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||66 kg (146 lb)|
|Coached by||Scott Simpson|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||4.71m (2012)
4.87m i (2012)
|Updated on March 2013.|
Holly Bethan Bleasdale (born 2 November 1991) is a British track and field athlete who specialises in the pole vault. She is the current British record holder in the event, having broken Kate Dennison's record on 2 July 2011, and is also the current (2013) European Indoor Champion. She is coached by Scott Simpson.
Bleasdale was involved in gymnastics from the age of six until she was 11, when she decided to try running. It was not until she was 17 that she tried pole vault for the first time.
Bleasdale was educated at Parklands Languages High School, a co-educational state comprehensive school in the town of Chorley in Lancashire, in North West England. She attended Runshaw College in Leyland from 2008-2010, where she completed her A-Levels. She is now studying for a degree in Sports Exercise and Science at Manchester Met University via distance learning to allow time for her training.
Bleasdale's Junior career took off when she broke the British Junior pole vault record in June 2010, with a vault of 4.35m. A month later, she competed at the 2010 World Junior Championship, in which she was the favourite for the gold medal. However, she failed to vault higher than 4.15m, resulting in a bronze medal behind Angelica Bengtsson and Victoria von Eynatten, who vaulted 4.25m and 4.20m respectively.
Bleasdale's first competition of the 2011 season was the 2011 European Indoor Championships, where she finished 11th in the qualifying round, with a best vault of 4.45m. Later in 2011, she represented Great Britain in the European Team Championships, where she finished in 5th place.
In June 2011, Bleasdale set a new British U23 record with a 4.53m vault at the British Under-23 Championships in Bedford. However, just 5 days later, she set a new British senior record of 4.70m, which is also a world U23 record.
In January 2012, Bleasdale improved the British indoor record by clearing 4.87m in Villeurbanne, during a Perche Élite Tour meeting. This puts her third on the world all-time list, behind Yelena Isinbayeva and Jenn Suhr, and also third all-time for indoor performances. At the same competition Bleasdale made her first world indoor record attempt at 5.01m, but failed. Later that year, on 11 March she won a bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships held in Istanbul.
Bleasdale competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She managed to reach the final, but knocked the bar at 4.55m, causing her to crash out of the running for a medal. However, she managed to finish in the top 8. In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Bleasdale said that she was disappointed but that "by Rio, I will be at the top of my game." Bleasdale won gold at the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg with a height of 4.67m in a jump off with Polands Anna Rogowska, both having previously jumped 4.72. She later stated in an interview that she could have shared gold with Rogowska, but chose to jump off to be the lone winner of the gold.
After her "disappointment" at finishing in sixth place at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Holly announced on Twitter that she had accepted the marriage proposal of her long-term boyfriend, Paul Bradshaw. She stated that this made it the "best day ever". Her tweet was as follows: "6th in the Olympics and @bradshaaaw proposes to me :) epic day!!!" Bradshaw's tweet in reply read: "I have just proposed to @HollyBleasdale and she said yes!!!!! Best day ever!"
- BBC, SPORT (22 January 2012). "Holly Bleasdale smashes own British pole vault record". BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- BBC, SPORT (24 July 2011). "World Junior medals for Hitchon and Bleasdale". BBC. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- Mulkeen, Jon (27 June 2010). "Bleasdale breaks record, Williams one of four double winners in Bedford". Athletics Weekly. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- Mulkeen, Jon (2 July 2011). "Bleasdale smashes UK pole vault record". Athletics Weekly. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- Reporter, Sportsmail (2 July 2011). "Bleasdale soars to set new pole vault record in Germany". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "Enorme saut de L’Anglaise Holly Bleasdale qui passe 4.87m à Villeurbanne" (in French). athlenews.com. 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "Holly Bleasdale wins gold at European Indoor Championships". BBC Sport. 2013-03-02. Retrieved 2013-03-02.
- "Holly Bleasdale accepts marriage proposal after pole vault final". BBC News. 7 August 2012.
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