Nicola McDermott has bettered the Australian women’s high jump record for the third time this year to win the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
McDermott cleared 2.02m at the second attempt, before just clipping the bar with her third and final try at 2.04m.
It meant the gold went to Russian Mariya Lasitskene, the three-time world champion.
The 28-year-old Lasitskene won gold with 2.04m on what was a belated Olympic debut after the Russian track and field federation was banned from the 2016 Rio Games for systematic doping.
The bronze on Saturday night went to Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh with 2.00m.
McDermott equalled the best-ever performance by an Australian female high jumper at Olympic level, with Michele Brown also finishing second the last time the Games were hosted by Tokyo in 1964.
The NSW jumper became the first Australian to break the 2.00m barrier at the Australian Olympic trials in April and improved the national record to 2.01m at the Stockholm Diamond League meet last month.
Now the national record sits at 2.02m, but with McDermott and Eleanor Patterson – who was fifth in the Olympic final in 1.96m – both in career-best form, it could well be raised even further in the near future.
Patterson won the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal as a teenager but was almost lost to the sport after failing to even qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
But she has been rejuvenated after moving to Sydney and linking up with coach Alex Stewart, who also mentors Australia’s leading male high jumper Brandon Starc.
McDermott’s silver was the third medal won by the Australian track and field team in Tokyo.
Decathlete Ash Moloney and javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber both won bronzes.