Australian high jumper Brandon Starc (© Dan Vernon)
Brandon Starc can pinpoint the exact moment when he realised he had the potential to become a world-class high jumper.
“Singapore, Youth Olympic Games, 2010,” explains Starc on the latest episode of IAAF Inside Athletics. “It was my first trip outside of Australia and my first time putting on an Australian uniform.
“I got a silver medal – on countback too, so I was so close to gold. After that, I thought, 'I'm 16 and I've got a global medal; I can do whatever I want'. That kick-started the feeling of wanting to give this 100% to see where it could take me. It's been a slow road since then, but the 2018 season kind of made up for it all.”
Eight years after his Youth Olympic Games silver medal, Starc enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2018. He won gold on home soil at the Commonwealth Games on Gold Coast, equalled the Oceanian record of 2.36m in Eberstadt, and won the Diamond Trophy in Brussels.
“It’s special putting on the Australian uniform, especially at the Commonwealth Games,” he says. “They might not know who you are, but they're cheering for you and that's a really great feeling. To compete for your country overseas is a whole other ball game.
“Winning a gold medal gives you a lot of confidence going into your next competition,” he adds. “That kick-started a whole year with the belief that I can compete with the world's best and do some damage.
“The difference (in 2018) is that I believed in myself and that I belonged in the high jumping world. Before the Commonwealth Games final, I said to myself, 'alright, I'm here, I'm in the final, I have a good chance of doing well. Back yourself and go well'.”