Tag Archives: heptathlon

Track Beauty of the Week: Brianne Theisen

Brianne Theisen is this week’s Track Beauty!

Theisen is a world-class heptathlete, having had stints at the World Championships and the Olympic Games. As a 16-year old, she made competed at the 2005 World Youth Championships, finishing in 17th place in an event won by future World Champion Tatiana Chernova Татьяна Сергеевна Чернова. Brianne also wound up in the same ranking spot a year later at the World Junior Championships in Beijing.

Article by Joboy Quintos

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Track Beauty of the Week: Linda Züblin

Linda Züblin is this week’s Track Beauty!

Züblin has been Switzerland’s best multi-eventer the past few years. She has a personal best of 6,018 points, around 200 points short of Corinne Schneider’s 27-year old Swiss record. Linda particularly excels in the hurdles, long jump and the javelin, having best marks of 13.55s, 6.24m and 53.01m, respectively.

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The Versatile Rosolova

I first learned about Denisa Rosolova while watching last year’s European Indoor Championships. It was remarkable how a former champion heptathlete and world class long jumper shifted to the quarter mile and strike gold! I admired her athletic talent and versatility. More importantly, Rosolova has the audacity to try something unorthodox. For this, she has reaped dividends.

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Track Beauty of the Week: Dafne Schippers

Dafne Schippers is this week’s Track Beauty!

Schippers started out as an excellent heptathlete in her junior and youth days, but has since ventured to the sprints. The Dutch athlete won the World Junior title in Moncton back in 2010, scoring 5,967 points. A year later, she topped the European Junior Championships in Tallinn, amassing a total of 6,153 points.

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Track Beauty of the Week: Laura Ikauniece

Laura Ikauniece is this week’s track beauty!

The Latvian is a rising star in the multi-events. She struck athletics success early, winning the silver medal at the 2009 World Youth Championships in Brixen. Ikauniece scored a then personal best of 5,647 points (girls’ implements) – less than a 100 points from the Youth champion, Katarina Thompson of Britain. Laura failed to barge into the top three at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Moncton, finishing in sixth place.

Photo from Romualds Vambuts/Sportacentrs.com

The statuesque Latvian bounced back in 2011, as she snared a European Juniors bronze medal. En route to her return to the podium, Laura scored a then personal best of 6,063 points. Ikauniece’s best events are the high jump and the javelin throw. The fact that she had jumped 1.82m twice as a 17-year old, speaks volumes of her talent. Her lanky figure is remiscent of the Tia Hellebaut – a heptathlete-turned-Olympic champion high jumper. Laura had recently set a new personal best of 53.73m in the javelin throw.

The 2012 athletics season, Ikauniece’s first full year as senior athlete, has exciting prospects. with the European Championships and the Olympic Games in the calendar. Laura is still barely out of her teens. She has fine athletics pedigree, being the daughter of Vineta Ikauniece, a retired sprinter who still holds several Latvian records. More importantly, Laura exudes both seriousness and enjoyment when she competes – a potent combination for champion athletes.

At the International Combined Events Meeting held in Talinn, Estonia last April, Ikauniece’s vast untapped potential took centerstage. Laura set personal bests in four out of five events, as she improved her pentathlon personal best to 4,346 points to grab top honours. At the Hypo-Meeting in Götzis last 27 May 2012, Ikauniece achieved lifetime bests in four disciplines (200mD – 24.43s, 800mR – 2:13.68,  100mH – 13.90s and Shot Put – 12.67m), and tied her three-year old high jump mark. The rapidly improving Latvian was rewarded with an impressive 6,282 point-total – a new personal best and an outright ticket to the London Olympics.

Laura immediately made an impact in her first major international as a senior athlete. The up and coming Latvian athlete again set a flurry of new personal bests in the hurdles (13.53s), high jump (1.83m), 200m (24.36s), long jump (6.31m), and the 800m (2:12.82). She amassed a total points tally of 6,335 and, you got that right, a new lifetime best!

In the coming months and years, watch out for this talented Latvian heptathlete.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Additional links:

Laura’s IAAF biography

Laura’s LVS biography (in Latvian)

Istanbul 2012: Top Seven Performances

Amongst the major international athletics championships, the World Indoors is the most underrated. Big name stars like Usain Bolt usually opt out of the biennial meet, especially in crucial Olympic years. Indoor athletics has a far smaller reach than its outdoor counterpart, with the smaller venues usually found in the frigid countries of the northern hemisphere.

Photo from Wikipedia

Nevertheless, it has that obscure charm. When I first saw the start lists of some events, I thought that the rest of the non-European, non-American world was underrepresented. I thought wrong. As soon as the 60m dash heats came out, a cacophony of athletes from small countries – from Mongolia in the Gobi desert to Fiji in the Pacific – competed amongst their more illustrious counterparts.

Even if I had to rely on live streaming links and my less-than-perfect internet connection to watch the World Indoors, I must say that I had a grand time. Despite the absence of most of the track & field titans, the festivities were certainly not devoid of memorable athletics moments. The three-day event has seen former World Indoor champions like Elena Isinbayeva Елена Гаджиевна Исинбаева, Justin Gatlin, and Valerie Adams re-emerge on the big stage, whilst playing host to bevy of promising talent.

One Gold, Three Silvers (Photo from Zimbio/Getty Images)

The women high jumpers deserve special mention too, as the troika of Antonietta Di Martino, Anna Chicherova Анна Владимировна Чичерова, and Ebba Jungmark shared a the second spot on the podium, behind the champion, the come-backing Chaunté Lowe (1.98m). The three athletes had equally identical sheets, with each clearing 1.95m.

The United States topped the overall standings with a staggering 18 medals, 10 of which were gold. Great Britain had 9, while African distance powerhouses Ethiopia and Kenya won 5 and 4, respectively.

The following list enumerates my favorite performances from Istanbul (aside from the 60m hurdles, of course!):

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Track Beauty of the Week: Anna Bogdanova Анна Богданова

Anna Bogdanova Анна Богданова is this week’s track beauty!

The Russian’s parents were world-class Olympic swimmers back in the day. Bogdanova, however, was frail and sickly as a child, according to an IAAF feature. Hence, she did not follow her parents’ footsteps towards pool glory. Moving to the Russian resort town of Sochi from frigid St. Petersburg proved pivotal, as the young Bogdanova was exposed to athletics for the first time.

   

Photos from IAAF, Life and Zimbio/Getty Images

Despite displaying talent in the multi-events, the Russian became frustrated with the sport, failing to barge into the highly competitive national team. She came back to athletics months later, thanks to the proddings of her coach. After placing 13th in her first ever international competition, the 2007 European Indoor Championships in Birmingham. Taking full advantage of her new found vigor, Bogdanova qualified to the Osaka World Championships the same year, finishing 10th in the heptathlon despite the humid conditions.

Bogdanova, the 2009 European Indoor Champion (Photo from Zimbio/Getty Images)

A year later at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Bogdanova won her first ever major international medal, a pentathlon bronze. At the Beijing Olympics the same year, the Russian scored a personal best of 6,465 points to rank a respectable sixth place. In 2009, Bogdanova wrested the European Indoor Pentathlon title.

Vote for Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина!

As much as I admire Dafne Schippers’ herculean effort at the European Junior Championships, I believe that Darya Klishina Дарья Клишина should be hailed as the European Athlete of the Month for July 2011.

Read Track Beauty of the Week: Darya Klishina

CAST YOUR VOTES! VOTE FOR DARYA!

Darya en route to the European Indoor LJ title (Photo from Wikipedia)

CAST YOUR VOTES! VOTE FOR DARYA!

Pound-per-pound, Klishina’s 7.05m winning leap in Ostrava holds more weight than Schippers’ 6,153 point victory in the junior heptathlon. Darya’s personal best mark is the second-best jump this year.

View more Darya Klishina posts here

But then again, I am quite biased for Klishina!

CAST YOUR VOTES! VOTE FOR DARYA!

Track Beauty of the Week: Ksenija Balta

Ksenija Balta is this week’s track beauty!

Reflecting the rich multi-events tradition of Estonia, Balta started as a fairly successful heptathlete. As a junior, she scored 5,747 points to clinch the bronze at the 2005 European Junior Championships in front her homecrowd in Kaunas. After 2006, however, Balta specialized in the long jump and the sprints.

   

Photos from Zimbio/Getty Images, Wikipedia and vikerraadio.err.ee

Soon enough, she reaped the benefits of specialization. The 25-year old leaped 6.87m to top a quality field at the 2009 European Indoor Championships in Torino.

A victorious Balta in Torino (Photo from Zimbio/Getty Images)

That same year, she reached the final of the Berlin World Championships. She was a favorite coming into the 2010 Doha World Indoor Championships, but faltered against quality competition, managing a modest fourth place (6.63m), losing on countback to Brazil’s Kellie Costa.

Balta, in light of her heptathlon background, also holds the Estonian 100m and 200m dash records, aside from her long jump national mark (as well as the corresponding indoor equivalent events). In fact, she attempted to double up in Barcelona, but pulled out in the 200m. The 25-year old finished a dismal 16th in long jump qualifying.

 

Photos from elu24.ee and gabrielalaanet.com

A knee injury prior to last March’s European Indoor Championships in Paris sidelined the Estonian. Balta withdrew from the competition, unable to defend her Torino crown.

Additional link:

Balta’s FHM shoot

10-for-10: Tatiana Chernova talks about standing victorious on the podium, Queen and F.R.I.E.N.D.S!

World-class heptathlete Tatiana Chernova Татьяна Сергеевна Чернова answers the 10-for-10 quiz!

Chernova is amongst the elite in athletics, having won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She had much success as a junior and youth athlete, bagging titles at the 2006 World Junior Championships and at the 2005 World Youth Championships, respectively. Prior to her breakout performance at the Beijing Olympics, Chernova notched a new personal best of  6,618 points.

Chernova in action (Photo from IAAF)

At the world-renowned Gotzis Hypo Meeting last month, an in-form Chernova scored 6,539 points – the second best tally in 2011 – as she finished behind reigning Olympic champion Jess Ennis.

With ten months to go before the Daegu World Championships, Chernova is on-track in exorcising the ghosts of her injury-plagued campaign in Osaka four years ago.

1. How did you get started with track?

My dad always trained heptathletes, so I became involved in heptathlon when I was a child. At first I took part in four event competitions. And when I [grew] up, started to do heptathlon! I won my first competitions, and next year win with the record World Youth Championship! So, [that] was [the] beginning.

2. What’s the most memorable moment of your track career?

For me, every moment of my sports life brings happiness. Because when you win, and standing on the podium, listening the national anthem, then you understand the meaning of hard and long training, you feel the achievement of goals and Dreams!

3. What’s your life-long dream?

My dream is to realize myself and be happy.

4. Let’s lighten up a bit! What would you rather wear and why? Short shorts or tights?

I prefer anything more shorter. I love the freedom of movement.

5. If you could be a Glee cast member, who will you be? And what song will you sing?

Never heard of [Glee]. Hopefully I will be forgiven their fans.

6. How I Met Your Mother or F.R.I.E.N.D.S.?

This [FRIENDS} is my favorite serial. Looked all seasons several time. Most importantly – he is about common people, about the relations between them and their lives. Favorite serial always raises the spirits!

7. What’s the best pump-up song of all-time?

I like Queen’s “We are the champions”! Every time I listen it, creeps running through the skin.

8. If you could spend the rest of your days at any place in the world, which would you choose?

I would [like to travel] around the world in a balloon! I don’t like to sit long in one place and do nothing.

9. Name three things you just can’t live without.

Heptathlon, Jaguar, sun.

10. Fill in the blanks: I’ll run an ultra marathon just to go out with _________.

Bradley Cooper.

Track Beauty of the Week: Remona Fransen

Remona Fransen is this week’s Track Beauty!

The Dutch multi-event athlete had just won her first-ever major championship medal, a bronze at the 2011 European Championships in Paris. The tall Fransen tallied a total of 4,665 points in the Pentathlon en route to her 2nd-runner up finish.

Photo from bndestem.nl

The 25-year old notched an impressive array of personal bests in the two-day competition. Fransen remarkably broke her best marks in all five disciplines. She even set a Dutch national record in the high jump, with her 1.92m leap (an unsurprising feat considering the fact that she’s built like the stereotypical high jumper!).

Prior to her breakout 2011 season, Fransen’s best performance was a heptathlon gold at the European Cup Combined Events 1st League, second tier continental competition, where she set a personal best of 5,993 points in the heptathlon.

Photos from Jeroen Bosman

With her surprise European Indoor bronze, Fransen’s confidence must be at an all-time high. Expect the talented Dutchwoman to contend for future continental titles – and to at least finish within the top echelons come the 2012 London Olympics.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Video Credits:

EAA

Track Beauty of the Week: Denisa Rosolová (Denisa Ščerbová)

Denisa Ščerbová-Rosolová is this week’s track beauty!

The Czech athlete originally started out as a heptathlete, but shifted focus to the long jump. The then 16-year Rosolová leaped 6.40m to win silver at the World U-17 Championships. A year later, she was crowned as the World junior champion, notching a 6.61m jump in the final.

Photos from topathletics.org and Denisa Rosolová

The skilled Rosolová went back to the multi-events in 2008 (her best mark in the heptathlon is 6,104 points). According to an EAA article, injuries sustained from the grueling discipline saw Rosolová shift to the 400m.

Photos from Denisa Rosolová’s Facebook fan page and Daylife/Getty Images

Rosolová had won numerous Czech national titles in the long jump and heptathlon. Despite winning the European indoor long jump silver in Birmingham back in 2007, triumph seemed to elude Rosolová in both the jumps and the multi-events.

In 2010, Rosolová made the big shift to the quarter-mile. Success was immediate for the versatile athlete. At the European Championships in Barcelona, the Czech went tantalizingly close to 50 seconds in the 400m, finishing 5th (50.90s) in the highly competitive final.

At the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Paris, Rosolová nipped the fancied Russian duo of Olesya Krasnomovets Олеся Александровна Форшева and Kseniya Zadorina Ксения Ивановна Задорина in the last 60m, winning her first major senior title. The 24-year old ran an indoor personal best of 51.73s en route to the gold, bettering her 2011 season’s best by a massive five hundredths of a second.

Denisa, however, wasn’t as successful outdoors in 2011. Despite notching a new personal best in the 400m dash in Ostrava (50.84s), the Czech could only muster a semi-finals finish in the Daegu World Championships, exiting the competition in 52.53s. At the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Rosolova qualified for the finals (her first in the worlds as a quarter miler) and finished in sixth place.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Guts Pose: Carolina Klüft

Check out heptathlon world record holder Carolina Klüft’s guts pose. Taken during the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.

Photo from elmundo.es

Same Old Carro

Take a look at the following Carolina Kluft interviews. The BBC interview was held right after Kluft won the 2003 Paris World Championships as a 20-year old heptathlete. The interview is in-depth and provides a uniquely intimate look on how Kluft thinks. Her answers are succinctly honest.

The second clip is a more recent albeit less formal interview by Spikesmag. Kluft had just leaped a season’s best, earning a spot in the final despite her wild card entry to the 2010 European Championships.

At first glance, the younger Kluft from 2003 might seem like an entirely different person. She was at the cusp of greatness, a world champion heptathlete at the tender age of 20. Fast forward seven years later. Kluft had retired from the multi-events, opting to focus on the long jump. She’s a far cry from her dominant self, failing to land within the top 3 during the Barcelona European Champs. Her body has also suffered from a string of injuries, the price of competing at the top level for so long.

Read “The Talented Ms. Kluft”

And yet, Kluft remained competitive. She still finds meaning in the sport, enjoying the competition and the challenge of a new event. Despite the difference in appearance and in events, it is apparent that the 2010 Kluft is as hungry and competitive as the 2003 Kluft!

Indeed, Caro is every inch the champion.

Video credits:

BBC

Spikesmag

Track Beauty of the Week: Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis is this week’s track beauty!

I first noticed Ennis back in the 2006 Goteborg European Champs. Kelly Sotherton was Britain’s top heptathlete at that time. Ennis was a young, 20-year old upstart. Because of stress fractures on her foot, she missed her shot at glory back in 2008. Ennis gradually crawled out of Sotherton’s shadow, winning gold at the 2009 Berlin World Championships – her first major international crown.

Photos from thesun.co.uk, bbc.co.uk and Wikipedia

Ennis, despite her small stature, is one mean competitor. Her personal bests in the 60m hurdles (7.95s) and the high jump (1.95m) are British National records. She recently scored a superb 6,823 points at the 2010 Barcelona European Athletics Championships, erasing the legendary Carolina Kluft‘s championship record. Fresh from her dramatic victory over Beijing Champion Natalia Dobrynska, it’s only fitting that we honor the newly-minted European Champion as the Track Beauty of the Week.

The multi-event specialist is, without a doubt, the poster girl of the 2012 London Olympics.

Additional links:

Wiki

Photo credits:

The Sun

BBC

Video credits:

EuroChampionships10

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