Molly Caudery is one of the big surprises of the 2024 season. She has improved from 4.83m to 4.85m, and now, 4.86m, on the eve of the World Indoor Champs in Glasgow, Scotland.

Stuart Weir did this first interview (of three) as a preview to the World Indoor Champs, March 1-3, 2024, in Glasglow, Scotland. 

Molly Caudery

I first remember speaking to Molly Caudery at the European Championships in Munich in 2022.  She had just cleared 4.50 to reach the women’s Pole Vault final.  How things have moved on in a short time with seven vaults of 4.70 and above. In Budapest last year, she was fifth in the World Champs with 4.75, and in the current indoor season, she has recorded a 4.83, a 4.85, and 4.86. She is still just 23. On a recent UK Athletics press point, I asked her if the rapid progress from 4.50 to 4.80 had surprised her.  Her honest answer was: “Definitely surprised how quick it’s all happened. Everything has come up all at once in the last six months following worlds. I knew that I had been in quite good shape, but to go from my PB being 4.60 at the beginning of 2023 to 4.85* already this year – getting up to the high heights – that’s a pretty big jump. So now it’s all happened very quickly for me actually”.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 17: Molly Caudery of Great Britain acknowledges the crowd during the Women’s Pole Vault Final on day one of the Microplus UK Athletics Indoor Championships 2024 at Utilita Arena Birmingham on February 17, 2024 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk – British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images)

Having suffered a few serious injuries – two Achilles surgeries and almost losing a finger when she was lifting weights and caught her finger between the bar and the rack, requiring 3 surgeries and a nine-month lay-off, she attributes her recent to progress to “not getting injured;I think that’s been my main success at the minute. I’ve just been able to consistently build through training. I took so much confidence from last year, and I’ve improved physically, mentally, and just overall confidence, and I think that’s just taken me to the next step”.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 08: Molly Caudery of Thames Valley celebrates during the Women’s Pole Vault Final during Day One of the UK Athletics Championships at Manchester Regional Arena on July 08, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond – British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images)

Initially coached by her father, she is now working with Scott Simpson. She also acknowledges Holly Bradshaw’s help: “I probably met Holly back in 2015 or something, but she wouldn’t have known who I was. I went up to train in Cardiff, and she was there with Scott. I remember seeing her and being in awe of her. And then, I got to know her a little bit in 2018 and moved to Loughborough to be in the group in 2020, when I was training with her full-time and did for the last three years.  She’s still around in the HIPAC in Loughborough, and I still see her day in and day out, and we have a really good relationship. I’ve learned so much from Holly, and she’s been quite a huge part of my career and an inspiration for me growing up. then, to learn from her and be surrounded by such a professional person has been a huge help to me”.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 08: Molly Caudery of Thames Valley competes during the Women’s Pole Vault Final during Day One of the UK Athletics Championships at Manchester Regional Arena on July 08, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond – British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images)

She confessed that her progress had caused her to re-assess her expectations.  A year or two ago, just getting to the Olympics would have been a satisfying achievement.  Now she can set her sights higher: “I think every athlete has their timeline, and mine has been ‘2028’s gonna be my time’.  The aim was to try and get to the 2024 Olympics this year, but by opening up the way that I have, I’ve got to adjust to what I’ve been given or given myself, I guess. And I know that 4.85*, which I’ve jumped so far, could be pushing towards those medal areas. So, I do think I need to re-evaluate. It’s crazy to think that that could put me up there.

Molly Caudery cleared 4.85m, another PB, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics.

It’s every athlete’s dream to get an Olympic medal. If I could get that Olympic gold one day, that would be the whole dream come true. But besides that, I think, after this year and how it’s been going, that five-metre mark isn’t so far away. So, over the next 10 years, I would love to be able to make my way towards that, and if I could be a 5-metre jumper, I think that could go down in history. So I guess that’s definitely on my radar.  And then the things that come along with that would be records and the British record, and, I guess, more medals at major championships, and I think being an athlete, it’s all about getting those medals. So I’d just like to  build up a really good – what do you call it – a good  profile medal profile over the next few years?”

Molly Caudery, 4.85m, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics

Two other things you need to know about Molly is that she is a mean baker. “I actually love cooking and baking. It’s something I really, really enjoy doing in my spare time. So if I do get a little bit of time, I’ll bake and bring cakes into the HIPAC [Loughborough High-Performance Elite training center) for everyone to have. It is just caked in general, I’m not the best at biscuits [cookies in American] or brownies, but any big-tiered cake like birthday cakes, chocolate, or just plain or vanilla, just that’s my go-to”.

She has 200,000 followers on Instagram

*A couple of days after the interview, she mentioned that she had jumped 4.85, and she went to La Perche Elite in Rouen, France, and jumped 4.86!