What happened to Tatiana Grigorieva? Retired pole vaulter, 44, reflects on the pressure to win a medal at the Sydney Olympics – and says she still gets recognised on the street 20 years later
Pole vaulter Tatiana Grigorieva became a household name when she won silver at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the same night sprinter Cathy Freeman won gold.
And as the 20-year anniversary of the games fast approaches, the retired Russian-born Australian athlete reflected on the pressure that was expected of her to win.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph’s Stellar magazine, the 44-year-old recalled the moment she realised she was no longer jumping for herself, but for the nation.
What happened to Tatiana Grigorieva? The retired pole vaulter, 44, reflected on the pressure to win a medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics for The Sunday Telegraph’s Stellar magazine. Pictured at the 2000 Games
‘Emotionally, it was such a full-on experience; I still get goosebumps looking back,’ Tatiana revealed.
The mother-of-two said the expectation of the nation dawned on her when she walked across the track ahead of the final.
‘It was a shock because I suddenly realised I was not jumping for me anymore; suddenly I felt more pressure,’ she said.
Immense pressure: The 44-year-old (pictured) recalled walking across the track for the final, ‘It was a shock because I suddenly realised I was not jumping for me anymore; suddenly I felt more pressure’
The silver medallist continued: ‘I had expected the crowd to want entertainment but then, and these are very big words, I felt expectation – not just from all the spectators there but also from the nation’
‘I had expected the crowd to want entertainment but then, and these are very big words, I felt expectation – not just from all the spectators there but also from the nation.’
Tatiana retired from the sport in 2007 and has led a varied life ever since.
Twenty years on from the games, she has owned an ice cream shop, competed on Dancing With The Stars and Gladiators, studied beauty therapy and become an athletics coach.
Varied career: Two decades since the games, Tatiana has owned an ice cream shop and performed on Dancing With The Stars (pictured)
Busy: She also featured on a Gladiators reboot, studied beauty therapy and become a high-performance athletics coach
And while she continues to expand her portfolio, her most prized role is being a devoted mother to daughter Sophia, nine, and son Makar, 11.
Tatiana told Stellar magazine on Sunday that while she still gets recognised on the street, her children find it ‘strange’ as they only think of her as ‘Mum’.
She previously confessed to Nine Stories that she hopes her children take up sport as it’s ‘done so much’ for her.
‘I hope that one day my children will take up some kind of competitive sport – be it swimming or athletics – because it’s done so much for me,’ she said at the time.
‘Not just the fame element, but just the way I live my life and am able to focus my energies.’
Still a household name: Tatiana told Stellar that she still gets recognised on the street sometimes, but that her two young children find it ‘strange’ as they just think of her as ‘Mum’
Read more: Tatiana’s full interview is featured in The Sunday Telegraph’s Stellar magazine