Blanka Vlasic dancing at high jump ()Blanka Vlasic dancing at high jump () © Copyright

13 hours until the Olympic final. What would you do?

Four-time world champion high jumper Blanka Vlasic talks God, siestas and trackside dancing

Competition day


I have some dreams but I don’t dream too much before competitions. I have dreamt about Rio. I’ve woken up in Rio and said to my coach: ‘Oh, well, I’m feeling good. This is going to be a great competition.’ So that’s very positive. But sometimes, when I’m worried, I dream that I cannot finish my approach for some reason. So I dream of obstacles when I’m feeling worried.


I always wake up early. I’m not a sleepyhead, you know? I don’t sleep too long because ever since I was 16, I sleep after lunch.


I have breakfast. It depends, but I’ll usually have fruit with cereals, or sometimes eggs – nothing particular. When I was younger, I was much more specific about my diet and routine. Now I’m much more relaxed, even in training. Experience gives you confidence.


We usually have some morning wake-up training. It’s just like, stretching, a bit of running, just to shake up the system. There’s no need to go to a stadium for that, so we often do it in the hotel halls. When I come to the stadium for the competition, I don’t have to warm up too much. I start the engines very early.

Blanka Vlasic high jump ()



I’ll plan out my day with my coach Bojan [Marinovi´c]. He’s always with me. We don’t do much. I always have some movies on my computer. Sometimes we’ll go for a walk or just hang out a little bit.

12 noon

I’ll have an early lunch because of my early breakfast and I want to have time for my siesta.


99% of the time, you cannot reach me between 2-4pm. My siesta can take up to two and a half hours. I remember before I won my second world title in Berlin, I was so stressed. Defending the title is so much harder than winning it the first time. The girls were in top shape but I had the best siesta of my life! I was sleeping for like three hours. I remember waking up and saying: ‘Oh, I feel so refreshed.’ I’m proud that I can sleep after noon.

Before Beijing last year [where Vlasic won world silver] I didn’t sleep well at all. I was lying in bed and I was like: ‘oh, eyes’. My mind couldn’t go to sleep and I was exhausted when I came to the stadium.

Blanka Vlasic high jump ()



I wake up and drink my latte. Then I start my preparation. I take care of my hair and my make-up. I don’t put too much on but because I’m a woman, I think about this stuff. It’s also like some kind of ritual. I wouldn’t call it a ritual but it calms me down. I give myself time to work on my braid.


I take things really slowly. Getting ready can last for 45 minutes. I put everything I need in my bag and get into the mood for the competition. I listen to music. It depends on the mood but sometimes it will be motivational music. At the moment I love your girl from the UK, Paloma Faith. I listen to Coldplay and Jess Glynne, Maroon 5, Adele obviously. And Calvin Harris, stuff like that. I also have some Croatian music too.


What I like about hotels is that you’re there for one purpose, you know? Nobody will call you. You don’t have to go grocery shopping, or think about cooking, about making your bed, about going to the bank, you know? You do that for one purpose. You know, you catch up with your reading. I also write sometimes.


We get the bus, which can take half an hour, sometimes more, to get to the stadium. I pray with my rosary. I have a lot of time during competition so I pray and read the Bible. That’s how I enjoy that quiet time. Praying on the day of competition gives me inner peace.

Blanka Vlasic high jump ()



High jump involves a lot of waiting, so it’s a very psychologically challenging event. It is very specific, like pole vault, because you don’t choose when you will do your best jump. In high jump you just need to wait until the end when the bar is at the proper height to have your best jump, which you cannot decide.


Every girl has her special approach, and then we measure it, put the mark on it, and then we have some try-out jumps, usually like two or three.


I decide on which height I’m going to start at, and then show starts…




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