Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

90. Blanka Vlasic

High Jump
Age: 24

The current world champion in high jump. Blanka Vlasic comes from the eastern Adriatic port of Split. Her father and coach, the current national decathlon champion Josko Vlasic, named her after Casablanca, another famous Mediterranean port, where he competed in 1983, the year of Blanka's birth. In May of 2007, Vlasic raised her own national record to 2.04m in Doha, and then to 2.07 m in August same year, getting steadily closer to the 2.10 dream jump. "I think it will come eventually", she said in a 2007 interview. "I don't want to limit myself and say I that I need to jump it next year, or the year after." She has already jumped her way through two Olympics; she competed in 2000, when she was just 16, and also in 2004, but she failed to medal. She keeps her cool about the upcoming games. "I don't rank competitions — every single one is the Olympics to me", she said in a recent interview. "Since I became a favorite in every race, it's just another burden that I have to bear."