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Blanka Vlašić

Blanka VlašićIt is not too difficult to see from the photographs of Blanka Vlašić that she takes her sport very seriously - putting an incredible intensity into each jump. This intensity has made her one of the top high jumpers in the history of the sport and a highly visible source of pride to all Croatians.

But, she also possesses a lighter side displayed in the little dance she performs for fans after successfully clearing the bar. According to Blanka you have to spice it up a little, so she does a different dance at every competition to send positive energy to the audience. Furthermore, the German magazine Bild correctly chose Blanka as being one of the sexiest athletes of the world. Being one of the best Croatian athletes Blanka Vlašić is high on the list of beautiful female athletes.

Bild Magazine especially remembered her dancing at the World Cup final and they attached an attractive picture in the magazine with a Croatian flag draped around her legs. Hear Blanka Vlašić speak to a Laureus World Sports interviewer about the London Olympics in 2012

click here for the Blanka Vlašić Interview with text transcript or video.

Blanka VlašićBlanka Vlašić was born in Split, Croatia in 1983. Her mother Venera was a cross-country athlete, basketball player and gymnast, while her father Joško was a decathlon athlete and the current record holder of Croatia. She was named after the Moroccan city Casablanci where her father won the gold medal at the Mediterranean Games in 1983. Since the beginning of her career she has been coached by her father, Joško Vlašić and a former high jumper Bojan Marinović. Blanka is a member of the ‘Champions for Peace’ club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sports, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization. Champions for Peace are top-level sports champions who are either still active or have retired from their sports career who wish to help disadvantaged communities through sports. They are role-models, heroes and a source of inspiration for young people throughout the world. The Champions for Peace initiative was created by Peace and Sport to offer these top athletes a structure for communal expression and action to support sports projects at the service of peace and human and social development. They share their time, popularity, their sports experience, skill or resources to help projects for peace-promotion and peace-building through sports. They also participate in raising awareness among decision-makers in political and private sectors to change attitudes. This collective action ensures the efficiency of their undertaking and their resolve is increased. The Champions for Peace club is a flexible structure where each athlete can participate according to his or her own availability and desire.

Blanka VlašićBlanka has three brothers, the oldest Marin is a former basketball player, while the youngest Nikola is an exceptional football talent. Blanka’s sports talent was evident early when she began to train with her father who worked as a coach in athletic club at 7 years of age. Her most outstanding merits were her speed and excellent coordination. Her above average height and slenderness prevailed in the decision that her specialty would be the high jump. Her father nurtured her development over the years in all parameters of training with no aspirations to create a noticeable result too quickly.

The first significant result Blanka achieved was in 1999 at the World Championships for Juniors in Poland where she took 8th place. The 2000 Olympics were magic for her and Blanka will always remember it for the rest of her life. Besting her personal records from 180 cm to world-class 193 cm setting the standards for the Olympic Games in Sydney. With a 192 cm high jump at the Olympics, she finished in 17th place, being the youngest competitor at 16 years of age. A month afterwards she became World Junior Champion while competing in Chile with a 191 cm jump.

Blanka VlašićIn 2001 at the World Championships in Edmonton she achieved an extraordinary 6th place with a 194 cm jump. Next was a 5th place at the Good Will Games held in Melbourne and a gold medal at the Mediterranean Games in Tunisia. In May of 2002. she finished high school with excellent success, and she was freed from matriculation and landed a position as a pharmaceutical technician. At the 2002 Senior European Championships in Munich she came in 5th place and in that same year she defended her title of the best junior at the World Junior Championships in Kingston with 196 cm jump. For the next two years she decided that she would concentrate professionally only on her high jumping. In 2003 Blanka improved her personal record by jumping 198 cm which was 4 cm better than the Croatian record. At the indoor World Championships in Birmingham she finished on the 4th place and she won in Paris at the Golden League competition with a 199 cm jump. In Zagreb on the 7th of July on Hanžeković Memorial she jumped an amazing 2 meters. In the Polish city of Bydgoszcz she became the European champion at 23 years of age as the result of 198 cm jump. In Zurich at the Golden League meet she jumped 201 cm taking second place in this holy competition. She reached the end of the season in the 4th position in the IAAF rankings of the world's best female high jump athletes.

Blanka VlašićThe olympic year in 2004 begins great when she wins the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Budapest. During that summer she was jumping extremely well and at the beginning of August in Ljubljana she jumped 203 cm foretelling good things for the Olympic Games in Athens. Unfortunately after Ljubljana things started to go downhill. Blanka got ill and her form fell apart.

In Athens she managed to get into the finals, but only had enough stamina for one jump. Later it was found that she was suffering from a hyperthyroid condition. Nothing seemed to work the same as before, becoming quite exhausted from each effort and her sports career came into question. She tried conservative methods of treatment to bring her skills to an acceptable level, but without success. Eventually an operation was the only chance that she could continue her career, so in March of 2005 she underwent a thyroid operation in Zagreb. Her long recovery was painstaking, but it was effective, because in July of the same year she managed to jump 195 cm. The year 2006 was exceptional with Blanka flying over the bar 13 times at over 2 meters. She took second place at the World Indoor Championships in Moscow. Unfortunately, neither of her 201 cm jumps, in the first attempt, were enough for a medal at the European Championships in Sweden.

Blanka VlašićShe began 2007 with great results at a number of meetings. An especially emotionally performance was in late February at a meet in Gripe, Split, where around 5000 spectators emotionally accompanied her every jump. Problems with shoes and sliding during competition at the European Championships in Birmingham resulted with a 5th place from a modest 192 cm jump. The crown of the season and her career was a gold medal at the World Championship in Osaka with 205 cm jump. First on the top list of achievements was a jump of 207 cm in Stockholm, which is also the second best score of all time. She was the winner of the Grand Prix finals in Stuttgart, and the European Athletic Federation declared her the female athlete of the year, after the combined votes of a panel of experts, a group of journalists and the public. She is the first Croatian athlete and the first high jumper to win this award. And from the IAAF arrived a prestigious award honoring her jump of 207 cm which they declared accomplishment of the year. During the 2008 Olympic year in all 24 competitions, Blanka finished with jumps above 2 meters and jumped over that height a total of 41 times. She won 22 times and came in second twice. She took home the Gold Medal at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, the Silver Medal at the Olympics in Beijing, five victories in the Golden League competitions and a victory at the World Athletic finals in Stuttgart.

Blanka VlašićAugust 2009 was a month of highlights for Vlašić as she won a Gold Medal at the World Championships in Berlin, then set a new personal best at Zagreb. On 20 August, she won her second World Championship high jump crown after clearing 2.04 meters on her second attempt to win the gold. Her personal best came 31 August at a meet in Zagreb, Croatia, her home country. She cleared 2.05 meters on her first attempt, thus setting a meet record, then attempted and cleared 2.08 m setting a new personal best and tying the second-best performance of all-time in the event. Her three attempts to set a new world record at 2.10 meters failed. Despite missing some meets due to a virus in early 2010, further improvements came when she cleared 2.06 meters indoors in Arnstadt in February. The victory at the Hochsprung mit Musik meet brought her to third on the all-time indoor lists. Blanka won the Silver Medal in the 2011 Athletics Championships from South Korea. Her personal best jump is currently 2.08 meters with only two other women in history who have jumped higher. Anna Chicherova of Russia won gold at the 2011 World Championships beating Blanka who had been the favorite until a partial muscle tear in her left leg nearly forced her to withdraw from the competition.

Biggest sports achievements of Blanka Vlašić

  • Gold medal at World Athletics Championships in Osaka 2007
  • Silver medal at Olympic Games in Beijing 2011
  • Silver medal at 2011 Athletics Championships in South Korea 2008
  • Gold medal at World Championships in Berlin 2009
  • Gold medal at World Indoor Championships in Athletics, Valencia 2008
  • Silver medal at World Indoor Championships in Athletics, Moscow 2006
  • Bronze medal at World Indoor Championships in Athletics, Budapest 2004
  • Gold medal at European Championships U'23 Bydgoszcz 2003
  • Gold medal at World Junior Championships, Santiago de Chile 2000
  • Gold medal at World Junior Championships, Kingston 2002
  • Gold medal at Mediterranean Games, Tunis 2001
  • Eleven wins in Golden League series.
  • Second best jump of all times 207 cm.
  • European best athlete 2007
  • Biggest achievement in 2007 by IAAF
Blanka Vlašić website at: www.blanka-vlasic.hr

Post Jump Dance by Blanka Vlašić


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