Paraskevi Papahristou, born 17 April 1989 is a Greek triple jumper. Papahristou won the bronze medal at the 2008 World Junior Championships. She competed in the 2009 European Indoor Championships, and went through the qualification round with a jump of 14.47 meters. However, in the final she was injured and failed to register a valid jump. After taking the bronze medal at the 2009 Mediterranean Games, she competed at the 2009 World Championships without reaching the final round. She won the gold medal at the 2009 European U23 Championships that season. During the indoor season of 2011, she competed in the qualifying rounds of the 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships without reaching the final. She achieved a personal best of 14.72 meters in June 2011 in Chania – a mark which ranks her third among Greek female triple jumpers, after Hrysopiyi Devetzi and Paraskevi Tsiamita.
This jump was also the second best ever achieved by a European under-23 athlete after Anna Pyatykh's record of 14.79 meters. She successfully defended her gold medal at the 2011 European U23 Championships in in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Greek triple jumper Paraskeví Papahrístou has already won twice at the European Athletics U23 Championships and now she wants to make an impression among the seniors at this summer's European Athletics Championships in Helsinki. She won her first under 23 title in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 2009 and last summer became one of a small group of athletes to retain their titles at that level when she bounded her way to the top of the podium in the Czech city of Ostrava.
"Last summer, I got some big distances; I think I can do well. Look at the marks that won medals in Barcelona, I have possibilities in Helsinki, but the Ukraine's defending European and world champion, Olha Saladuha will be very tough to beat," said Papahrístou.
"The important thing for me is that the weather is warm and dry. I always jump best when there are these conditions. Last summer, I jumped 14.72 meters in Greece and I wanted to try to beat the European under 23 record of 14.79 meters held by Russia's Anna Pyatykh since 2003 in Ostrava but it was too cold. I was happy - very happy, to get the gold medal in Ostrava, my second gold medal, but I wanted to jump further there," added Papahrístou, who finished 2011 lying second on the European rankings behind Saladuha.
Evidence that Papahrístou is a woman who feels the cold could be seen at the recent European Athletics Indoor Permit Meeting in Düsseldorf, Germany. During her event, she was huddled a big quilted jacket, while other jumpers were content with conventional tracksuits. As soon as the competition was over, she quickly shed her spikes and donned fur-lined boots.
"Yes, I do feel the cold. What do you expect, I come from Greece," she joked, when European Athletics talked to her earlier this month. There are two additional reasons why the 2012 European Athletics Championships, which will be held in the Finnish capital from 27 June – 1 July, have added significance for Papahrístou.
"I was not in condition to go to the European Championships in Barcelona two years ago so Helsinki will be my first European championship outdoors, although I have been to two European Indoor Championships," she reflected, remembering that she was injured during the summer of 2010 and lost her chance for glory.
A medal in the Catalan city from Papahrístou would have certainly boosted the spirits of the Greek team, which has participated in every edition of the European Athletics Championships since they were inaugurated in 1934 but on that occasion did not have an athlete on the podium for the first time in 20 years. It is a situation that Papahrístou will be doing her best to avoid being repeated in Helsinki.
"It's not just about athletics though, everyone knows about the bad economic situation in Greece so a medal would make a lot of people happier."
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