The injury and illness trials and tribulations of former world champion Blanka Vlasic are well documented and so it was no surprise that she gotone of the biggest cheers of the night when she won the women’s high jump at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday night.
When she flew clear with her first attempt at 2.00m, the crowd roared, she squeezed out a tear or two before breaking into a smile, and it was no secret that everyone felt genuinely pleased for the woman who dominated the event for several years at the end of the last decade before the start of her problems.
In the end, it was enough to triumph in the French capital.
Russia’s world indoor champion Mariya Kuchina, almost 10 years younger than Vlasic, cleared an outdoor personal best of 2.00m on her third attempt but after both women brought the bar down three times at 2.02m, the night belonged to Vlasic.
The statistics books say that it was Vlasic’s 104th competition over 2.00m or better, and her 163rd jump at 2.00m or better, but, notwithstanding her many successes on the global stage, few will have felt better to Vlasic.
Watch Blanka’s video statement HERE.