Paige Spiranac of track and field

A new generation of influencer-athletes is rising, famed not only for their athletic prowess but also for their impressive online followings, with one teenage track and field star dubbed the Paige Spiranac of her sport.

Spanish pole vaulter Clara Fernandez — who has won at least 21 titles since 2018, according to The Sun — has risen to social media fame with nearly half-a-million followers across Instagram and TikTok.

The Nike-sponsored athlete has been touted as the “Paige Spiranac of pole vaulting”, in a reference to the American golf coach with an Instagram following of more than 3.7 million.

Fernandez recurrently goes viral on both platforms as she shares with fans photos and behind the scenes clips from training sessions and track meets.

She recently jumped on a popular TikTok trend, writing “She’s so lucky” over a video of herself stepping onto a number one podium. The clip was followed by “the luck” — hours of intensive training, weightlifting and cardio.

In another recent TikTok video, the 19-year-old spruiked her Nike sponsorship, modelling a new pole vaulting outfit and garnering 470,000 views.

Many clips of her seemingly gravity-defying stunts feature a TikTok warning label: “The actions in this video are performed by professionals or supervised by professionals. Do not attempt.”

In true influencer fashion, Fernandez also shares a fair deal of lifestyle and beauty content, including a recent trip to her favourite hair salon for a makeover.

The teen star also shared a recent vacation to Spain’s Canary Islands, writing “Already in love with this island” alongside a series of shots of herself lounging on the beach and cuddling with her beau, businessman Marc Lerch.

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Engagement rumours are already swirling about the young pair. Lerch recently posted a series of photos to Instagram with the caption, “Moments I like with the love of my life”, alongside an emoji of an engagement ring — though an actual ring is yet to be seen.

Fernandez’s personal best is reportedly an impressive 4.05m in outdoor competition — about a metre short of the women’s world record of 5.06m, set by Yelena Isinbayeva in 2009.

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