Isobel Pooley stands 6 feet 3 inches tall, she’s a high jump athlete with a big future ahead of her.

She just missed out on 2012 Olympic selection when aged just 19 and she has since gone on to win Commonwealth Games silver and in 2014 she leapt 1.96m to break the 32 year old UK outdoor record.

The future looks bright for this British athlete!


How did you start high jumping?

I first tried high jump at school in a PE lesson and loved it straight away. After the first few sessions, my teachers suggested that I join an athletics club in order to practice more often, an idea which I relished!

We searched online and joined Aldershot Farnham and District AC where I spent a year doing sprint training before I got established at the high jump.

Being so tall, did high jump seem inevitable?

I wasn’t particularly sporty as a child and being 6ft at only 13 years old, struggled with coordination and body awareness.

I always enjoyed taking part in different sports but it wasn’t until I discovered high jump that I really excelled.

As an explosive individual event it suits me perfectly and obviously my height gives me a natural advantage over my more diminutive opponents!

Did you play any other sports while growing up, do you still?

I took swimming lessons as a child and tried my hand at gymnastics too, although I wasn’t very good!

I’ve always loved animals and went horse riding nearly every weekend when I was a child. I always dreamed of having a horse and used to build complex courses of show-jumps in the garden and inevitably ended up jumping over them myself!

Little did I know that these skills would come in handy in an international high jump career later on!

Once I discovered high jump, I began to devote more and more of my time to training and gradually athletics became my sole sport. I look forward to returning to horse riding and other recreational sports after I retire, although that won’t be for at least a decade!

The slogan for London 2012 was ‘Inspire a Generation’, what does this phrase mean to you?

When London won the 2012 Games bid, I had the burning desire to compete for Team GB at a home Games.

However, as I was only 13 at the time, and I knew that ultimately it would be nothing short of a miracle to achieve Olympic selection at 19 years old – which is very young for a high-jumper.

But the whole prospect was certainly a massive inspiration for me.

Isobel Pooley_2Ultimately I only missed out by 2cm and I decided to make 2012 a year for learning and to gain as much experience as possible over what was a unique sporting summer.

So I look back at 2012 and am incredibly grateful for the wisdom I earned in my race for potential selection and the inspiration I enjoyed while cheering on my fellow athletes at the Games.

I experienced the Games as intensely as I could. I went to the park nearly every day and witnessed some incredible live action.Seeing the older athletes fulfill their dreams on the world stage fueled my desire to reach my own ambitious goals.

What are your career goals?

I count myself incredibly lucky to have been so close to making Olympic selection in 2012 despite my young age and that has been a great springboard which has now taken me to the Commonwealth silver medal and a UK record and I still believe this is only the beginning.

I am so excited to develop a deeper and more mature understanding of high jump as an event.

High jumpers typically peak in their mid to late twenties so I can expect to improve steadily with time on my side.

What motivates you to train and compete?

I heard a great phrase once, ‘You never know how far you can fly until you spread your wings’.

I understand this to mean that an individual never knows the full extent of their potential unless they dare to commit 100% to the cause.

I know that I have a talent and I aspire simply to be the best that I personally can be. The beauty is that no one knows for sure how good that is! 

Want to find out more? Learn how Isobel’s career progresses in Part 2!

Connect with Expert Guy Holland

WatchFit Experts change lives!

And they can do the same for you.


Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans