Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
4 minute read
26 Apr 2020
8:33 am

Women in Sport: Golden girl Hestrie aimed high

Wesley Botton

Her nearly comical approach to jumping endeared her to sports fans and she became a household name.

Hestrie Cloete of South Africa is seen after the women's high jump final on August 28, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in the Sports Complex in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

One of the best athletes South Africa has produced in any sport, former high jumper Hestrie Els will be best remembered for two things: her stunning double at the World Championships and her unique style. It may not have been the most intimidating approach, but Els’ opponents knew she was in the zone when she visualised her jumps with hand motions and a shoulder lift. And shortly before launching herself into the air, her windmill arm motion managed to propel her over the bar more often than not. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFerz9eAf1g At her peak, her nearly comical approach endeared her to sports...