Katerina Stefanidi

Olympic Person of the Month February 2024

Katerina Stefanidi is a Pole Vault champion, Olympic gold medallist and world champion. Our Olympic Person of the Month has had an impressive career and is not only a role model on the field.

Born into a family of track and field athletes in Athens on 4 February 1990, Stefanidi began pole vaulting early and celebrated her first successes at an early age. However, she faced challenges transitioning to senior level and temporarily paused her athletic pursuits. A move to the USA reignited her passion, enabling her to excel both athletically and academically. Utilising pole vaulting to secure a scholarship at Stanford University, she balanced her studies in cognitive psychology with her athletic career, maintaining her competitiveness and motivation. In 2015, she took a break from academia to focus solely on her sport, creating the perfect training environment in Cleveland with her husband as her coach.

From this point onwards, Stefanidi’s career reached new heights when she won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio with a height of 4.85 metres. Building on her triumph, she used her momentum to win another gold medal at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, setting a national record of 4.91 metres. Stefanidi also won at the European Championships in both 2016 and 2018, collecting a total of 10 medals at major international athletics championships. After taking part in the Olympic Games in London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021, Stefanidi is aiming for her fourth participation in Paris 2024. Her remarkable achievements have cemented her status as the greatest female athlete in the history of Greek sport.

Katerina Stefanidi’s success in the pole vault is just one facet of her inspirational journey. In addition to her athletic achievements, she is a leading advocate for the mental health and well-being of young people. Through her own experiences of overcoming adversity, Stefanidi highlights the importance of perseverance and resilience, especially for young people. By sharing her story, she inspires the youth and encourages them to overcome life’s obstacles. Like any elite athlete, Stefanidi has experienced ups and downs in her career, but she remains determined in her pursuit of excellence.

Recognising the importance of imparting life skills beyond sports, Stefanidi stands as a prime example of perseverance, resilience, and determination. Her ability to overcome setbacks and pursue her dreams transcends sport and inspires others to persist in their own endeavours.