Sophie Cook says her ability to deliver when the pressure is on can fire her onto the multi-sport European Championship podium after claiming a surprise pole vault personal best in Munich.
The Dudley star, 27, safely navigated her way into Wednesday evening’s final after propelling herself over the bar at 4.50m.
Cook finished behind Slovenian star Tina Sutej, Denmark’s Caroline Bonde Holm, Switzerland’s Angelica Moser and Italian Roberta Bruni but her impressive fifth-place finish was enough to haul her through.
The West Midlands star thrived in the cauldron of Munich’s iconic Olympic Stadium and believes her ice-cool mentality can now reap rewards.
She said: “I do love a pressure jump.
“It was nerve-wracking but I felt like I knew what I needed to do, it was just about executing it at the right time.
“It was a stressful competition but I did really enjoy it.
“Everything just felt great today, and it was nice to jump what I know I'm capable of and also get through to the final.
“It feels amazing – very, very amazing.
“It was very unexpected but I couldn’t be happier.
“I just want to try and clear some bars first time and build some consistency around 4.50m. If anymore comes, then that’s great.”
Cook represented Team England at this summer’s Commonwealth Games and was unable to clear any height higher than 4.25m.
But behind-the-scenes fine-tuning has clearly paid dividends ahead of this week’s European Championships as she improved by 25cm to keep her unlikely medal hopes alive.
If you aren't hyped yet then this Beach Volleyball announcer will get you OUT of your seats!
Great breath control too. 😉
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— European Championships (@Euro_Champs) August 16, 2022
A jump of 4.25m would not have been enough for a place in the final as the top five athletes all cleared 4.50m during Monday’s morning session.
The atmosphere at the Olympic Stadium – celebrating its 50th anniversary of hosting the Games in 1972 – is only set to intensify for Wednesday evening’s final and Cook admits she’s relishing the prospect.
She added: “The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was super special.
“But the noise that those guys made in that stadium was great today.”
The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the Germany city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website