Nicola McDermott's record-breaking 2m high jump fuelled by Bible verse

“There was a large turning point in my career when I realised that no gold medal could bring lasting satisfaction to my heart.”

During a qualifier for the Tokyo Olympic Games yesterday, Australian high jumper Nicola McDermott became the first Australian woman to break the two-metre barrier.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist gained selection for the next Australian Olympic Team and revealed her inspiration was a Bible verse tattooed on her wrist.

“What was written was fearless hearts are birthed in perfect love. And that’s from Jesus and 1 John 4:18,” McDermoyt said, reported by The Northern Star.

“That’s been my verse because I was always scared of two metres. I knew in my body I could do a lot higher but the fear aspect of high jump is the thing that gets to you with the mind.

“Today I went out and I was like no, I’m fearless because I know I’m loved, I know I’ve got this, let’s go out there and do it.”

As indicated by her prominent pointer to Jesus and 1 John, McDermott has found where “lasting satisfaction” – as the ‘Ministry’ page of her website states.

“In the pursuit of sporting success, there was a large turning point in my career when I realised that no gold medal could bring lasting satisfaction to my heart,” McDermott shares on her site.

“I was introduced to Jesus, not just the religious kind of meeting that presents itself once a week – the intimate way, which overflows a love to see His will done in every nation, stadium, school, church and community I can travel to.”

When McDermott won a bronze in the Commonwealth Games High Jump in April, 2018, Bible Society Australia also was sending out a Daily Bible email series written by the elite athlete. Here’s what she wrote for her Daily Bible reflection on the day which turned out to be a bronze medal winner for her:

“In track and field, you can sometimes tell who an athlete’s coach is by just watching their technique. A coach can have a certain idea of how to run/jump/throw and teaches accordingly to match that model. Once the coach has a few athletes able to replicate that, they are able to teach and develop them more to become an elite squad.”

“In order for us to be taught by God, we have to receive his Spirit. In receiving him, we are adopted into a family of courageous believers, recognised as children of God by not what we do, but how we live our lives. A fearless, free life is the divine handprint of our mighty teacher.”

And the Bible verse she was reflecting on was: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
(Romans 8:14-15)

She asked readers, “How can you live fearlessly today?”

Speaking about friends she does not see often (but who were probably watching her on the Commonwealth Games telecast), she wrote earlier:

“I have a few very close friends who live interstate from me whom I see a few times a year. I know they’ve been spending time with God because I can see the peace, wisdom and joy transforming even their physical appearance. Like salt brings a good pasta sauce to life, so does the Spirit intercede with our own bodies to breathe eternity into them. It is life changing when we understand that ‘us’ has an expiry date but the living Spirit inside does not. That is what transforms lowly bodies into glorious, imperishable ones. A characteristic is the steadfast hope and peace that comes as a product of what is inside.”

“We will be like Jesus, and as he was rejected on earth so too will we be. But this hope and transformation will not be in vain; it is preparing us for a place where we do belong, heaven. We shouldn’t identify with this life, but in eagerness seek the One who gave us the key to heaven, which is Jesus.”

Those thoughts were based on Philippians 3:20 – “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”