Holly Bradshaw

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Holly Bradshaw
Holly Bleasdale at Great North Games 2011 in Gateshead, UK.jpg
Bradshaw in 2011.
Personal information
Birth nameHolly Bethan Bleasdale
Full nameHolly Bethan Bradshaw
Born (1991-11-02) 2 November 1991 (age 27)
Preston, Lancashire, Great Britain
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight66 kg (10 st 6 lb; 146 lb)
Spouse(s)Paul Bradshaw
CountryGreat Britain
Event(s)Pole Vault
Turned pro2010
Coached byScott Simpson
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)4.81m (2017)
4.87m i (2012)[1]
Updated on March 2013.

Holly Bethan Bradshaw (née 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 indoors and outdoors, with clearances of 4.87 metres (2012 indoors) and 4.81 metres (2017 outdoors). She won a bronze medal at the 2012 World Indoor Championships, a gold medal at the 2013 European Indoor Championships, a bronze medal at the 2018 European Championships, and a silver medal at the 2019 European Indoor Championships. She also won at the 2018 Athletics World Cup. Coached by Scott Simpson.,[2] she has been consistently ranked among the world's best and has been ranked in the world top ten on the Track and Field News merit rankings four times (2012, 2013, 2016, 2017).[3]

Early life[edit]

Bradshaw 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.


Bradshaw 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 to 2010, where she completed her A-Levels.[4] 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 at the 2012 London Olympics

Bradshaw'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.[5]

Bradshaw'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, Bradshaw set a new British U23 record with a 4.53m vault at the British Under-23 Championships in Bedford.[6] However, just 5 days later, she set a new British senior record of 4.70m,[7][8]

In January 2012, Bradshaw 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 she made her first world indoor record attempt at 5.01m, but failed.[9] Later that year, on 11 March she won a bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships held in Istanbul.

Bradshaw 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, Bradshaw said that she was disappointed but that "by Rio, I will be at the top of my game." Bradshaw 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.[10]

In 2015 she vaulted 4.55 m to be selected in the British Team to the world Championships. At the World Championships in Beijing, Bleasdale cleared 4.70 m before failing at 4.80 m. With this height, she finished 7th in the final where the Cuban Yarisley Silva took the gold medal with a jump of 4.90 m.

2016 Olympic[edit]

Bradshaw competed in Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, jumping 4.60m to advance to the final. In the final she cleared 4.70m on her second attempt but failed her three attempts at 4.80m and finished fifth.[11] She almost cleared her last attempt at 4.80m but in the last moment the cross bar fell to the ground.[12]

After the Olympics, she competed in 2016 Diamond League in Zurich, winning first place with 4.76m.[13][14]


Holly Bradshaw participated in many of the 2017 Diamond League meetings, and also reached the finals of the Diamond League in Brussels. She set a new personal best outdoors in Manchester in the same year at 4.81m. She participated in other notable events of pole vault around the world that year, which secured her a place in the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London in front of the home crowd, where she ended up 6th with a jump of 4.65m, and she lost the bronze medal only on count back. She has been hoping to seek glory that was taken away from her in the 2012 Olympic games in the same stadium, and afterward said she would focus on the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham. She also won the national outdoor championships in 2017.[15]


Bradshaw started her 2018 indoor season in February, competing in the Perche Élite Tour meet in Rouen, France, where she won with a clearance of 4.60 metres[16] before going on to clear 4.70m on 30 March at an outdoor competition in Australia. As one of the favourites for the pole vault title at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast,[17][18] she finished fourth with another clearance of 4.60m.[19] After clearing a season's best of 4.72 metres on 8 July in Rottach-Egern, she went on to win the biggest outdoor title of her career on 14 July 2018, when she won at the inaugural Athletics World Cup in London, improving her season's best to 4.75 metres. She further improved her season's best to 4.80 metres on 17 July in Jockgrim, before winning a bronze medal on 9 August at the European Championships in Berlin, with another clearance of 4.75 metres.


Holly Bradshaw had a good start in the early 2019 by winning the indoor nationals with a jump of 4.80m in February.[20]

International competitions[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  Great Britain /  England
2010 World Junior Championships Moncton, Canada 3rd 4.15 m
2011 European Indoor Championships Paris, France 11th (q) 4.45 m
World Championships Daegu, South Korea NM (q)
2012 World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 3rd 4.70 m
Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 6th 4.45 m
2013 European Indoor Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 1st 4.67 m
2014 World Indoor Championships Sopot,Poland 9th 4.55 m
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 7th 4.70 m
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 5th 4.70 m
2017 World Championships London, United Kingdom 6th 4.65 m
2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Coast, Australia 4th 4.60 m
Athletics World Cup London, United Kingdom 1st 4.75 m
European Championships Berlin, Germany 3rd 4.75 m
2019 European Championships Glasgow, United Kingdom 2nd 4.75 m
(q) Indicates overall position in qualifying round

Note: Bradshaw had three failures at her opening height of 4.25m in the qualifying round at the 2011 World Championships

Personal life[edit]

After her disappointment at finishing in sixth place at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Bradshaw, then still Bleasdale, 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!"[21]

Having competed previously under her maiden name, Bradshaw confirmed she would return to action under her married name in 2015.[22]

In an interview in February 2018, Bradshaw stated that she intends to focus on pole vaulting for the next three years, with her main aims being to win the 2019 World Championships in Doha, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and to clear five metres, before starting a family in 2021.[23]


  1. ^ BBC, SPORT (22 January 2012). "Holly Bleasdale smashes own British pole vault record". BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  2. ^ http://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=21834
  3. ^ "Women's Pole Vault rankings" (PDF). Track and Field News. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  4. ^ "FE students add to Team GB Olympic medal haul". FE Week. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  5. ^ BBC, SPORT (24 July 2011). "World Junior medals for Hitchon and Bleasdale". BBC. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  6. ^ Mulkeen, Jon (27 June 2010). "Bleasdale breaks record, Williams one of four double winners in Bedford". Athletics Weekly. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  7. ^ Mulkeen, Jon (2 July 2011). "Bleasdale smashes UK pole vault record". Athletics Weekly. Archived from the original on 5 July 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  8. ^ Reporter, Sportsmail (2 July 2011). "Bleasdale soars to set new pole vault record in Germany". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Enorme saut de L'Anglaise Holly Bleasdale qui passe 4.87m à Villeurbanne" (in French). athlenews.com. 2012. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  10. ^ "Holly Bleasdale wins gold at European Indoor Championships". BBC Sport. 2 March 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Rio 2016 pole vault women – Olympic Athletics". International Olympic Committee. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Holly Bradshaw misses out on medal after finishing fifth in pole vault". Daily Mail. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  13. ^ "diamond league 2016 zurich results" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Diamond League joy for Scholar and pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw". Sky Sports. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  15. ^ "British Athletics Results". www.uka.org.uk. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Elite Perche Tour : Lavillenie s'offre une MPM, Mayer un record personnel". Eurosport. 10 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Holly Bradshaw".
  18. ^ "Results". www.thepowerof10.info. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Athletics | Result Women's Pole Vault Final - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games". results.gc2018.com. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Indoor round-up: Ingebrigtsen clocks 3:36.21 world U20 indoor 1500m record, Holloway and Irwin fly to world leads in Fayetteville| News | iaaf.org". www.iaaf.org. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Holly Bleasdale accepts marriage proposal after pole vault final". BBC News. 7 August 2012.
  22. ^ Bradshaw sets sights on return
  23. ^ "Holly sets deadline for winning major prizes". www.lep.co.uk. Retrieved 12 February 2018.

External links[edit]