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petak, 14. siječnja 2011.

Blanka Vlašić

Blanka Vlašić at the 2008 Internationales Stadionfest

Blanka Vlašić (born 8 November 1983) is a Croatian athlete who specialises in the high jump. She is the current Croatian record holder in the event, and also the current World Champion both indoors and outdoors. Her personal best jump of 2.08 m was set on 31 August 2009 and is the second highest height cleared in the history of the event.

The daughter of Croatian decathlon record holder, Joško Vlašić, she was a talented junior athlete and attended her first Olympic Games in 2000 Sydney at the age of sixteen. She won the World Junior Championships in Athletics in both 2000 and 2002. Vlašić broke her national record in 2004 and also won her first world senior medal at the World Indoor Championships that year. A hyperthyroid condition hindered her second Olympic appearance in Athens and she spent the 2005 season recuperating from surgery.

She returned in 2006, taking the silver at the World Indoor Championships. The 2007 season signalled a strong run of form: she won at the 2007 World Championships, became the indoor world champion in 2008 and her winning streak came to an end with a narrow loss at the Beijing Olympics, where she took silver. She became World Champion for a second time in 2009. She ranks second in the all-time high jump rankings, behind Stefka Kostadinova. Her awards also including the IAAF World Athlete of the Year 2010 and European Athlete of the Year Trophy (2007,2010).

World and Olympic competition
Although she recorded an indoor season's best of 2.01 m in February, she failed to repeat her previous season's indoor form and finished fifth at the 2007 European Athletics Indoor Championships (later upgraded to fourth after Venelina Veneva tested positive for banned substances).

During the 2007 season, Vlašić jumped over two metres in seventeen of her nineteen outdoor competitions, along with several close attempts at a would-be world record of 2.10 m.

Vlašić also won eighteen out of nineteen outdoor competitions, with her only loss coming early in the season at the first Golden League meeting in Oslo. As the women's high jump was a jackpot event this year, had Vlašić won here, she would have won (along with Russian Pole Vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and American sprinter Sanya Richards) a share of the Golden League jackpot ($1,000,000).

Vlašić's consistency over two metres, and consistency at the first attempt, this season, put her as a firm favourite to challenge for honours at August's World Championships and she proved the expectations had been right. She became a world champion with a jump of 2.05 m.

In early October, Vlašić was named female European Athlete of the Year by the European Athletic Association 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.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing, Vlašić won the silver medal, beaten by the Belgian Tia Hellebaut (both cleared 2.05 m, but Vlašić needed one more attempt than Hellebaut). This ended her recent unbeaten streak of 34 competitions. Vlašić's season ended in despair, as she was again beaten on countback in the final leg of the ÅF Golden League series, which ended her chances of winning the $1,000,000 jackpot. Having won the previous 5 Golden League events, she finished Memorial Van Damme meeting in 2nd place to Ariane Friedrich.

August 2009 was a month of highlights for Vlašić as she won gold 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, clearing 2.04 m on her second attempt to win gold.

Her personal best came 31 August at a meet at Zagreb, Croatia, her home country. She cleared 2.05 m 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 all-time in the event. Her three attempts to set a new world record at 2.10 m failed.

Despite missing some meetings due to a virus in early 2010, further improvements came when she cleared 2.06 m indoors in Arnstadt in February. The victory at the Hochsprung mit Musik meeting brought her to third on the all-time indoor lists.

More about Blanka Vlašić you can read on Wikipedia.

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