Sunday, November 25, 2012

Track Beauty of the Week: Olha Saladukha Ольга Саладуха

Olha Saladukha Ольга Саладуха is this week's Track Beauty!

Saladukha is one of the world's best triple jumpers. her first high caliber competition in the triple jump came in 1999, during the World Youth Championships, where Olha finished in 9th place with a 12.76m best mark. [1] She fared much better in the World Juniors three years later, improving four places to 5th in the final. 

Saladukha at the 2010 Barcelona European Championships. (Photo from Erik van Leeuwen)
The Ukrainian almost barged into the podium during her debut in the European Championships in Goteborg back in 2006, but her best leap of 14.38m fell behind the top three. Despite finals appearances in the 2007 World Championships, 2008 World Indoor Championships and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Olha seemed unable to nail a spot on the coveted podium - until the past two years.

As Olha matured as an athlete, her performance in major events became more impressive. She finally won her first senior title at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona, thanks a classy 14.81m leap in the final, the best mark by a European athlete that year. [2] Saladukha came tatntalizingly close to the 15 meter barrier at the 2012 European Championships (14.99m) and the 2011 World Championships (14.94m), where she again topped the rest of the field.

Coming into the London Olympic Games, the reigning World and European Champion was the favorite to win gold. However, an in-form Olga Rypakova Ольга Рыпакова and an injury-free Caterine Ibarguen thwarted Olha's hopes for an Olympic gold. Saladukha's 14.79m was 0.20m short of her world-leading mark of 14.99m - good enough for a bronze medal.[3]

  1. "Olha Saladukha." Retrieved 11-30-2012.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Track Beauty of the Week: Linda Züblin

Linda Züblin is this week's Track Beauty!
Photo from akiwitz
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.[1] [2] Linda particularly excels in the hurdles, long jump and the javelin, having best marks of 13.55s, 6.24m and 53.01m, respectively.[3]

Her best season came in 2008, when she placed 46th in the world heptathlon rankings.[4] She made her Olympic debut the same year, notching a 30th place in Beijing with a score of 5,743 points.[5] Throughout her athletics career, the 26-year old has taken part in two editions of the World Championships (Osaka and Berlin) and at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona.[6]

Züblin seems to have the knack of performing big-time in Götzis. Since setting her personal best in the Austrian multi-events mecca in 2008, Linda has set has come tantalizingly close to bettering her benchmark in the subsequent years in that very town. 

Unfortunately, a return to the 6,000-point territory has eluded the Swiss athlete. Nevertheless, she is just nearing the prime of her career. Götzis 2013, after all, is just around the corner!

  1. "Swiss Records in Athletics." Retrieved 11-25-2012.
  2. "Linda Züblin." Retrieved 11-25-2012.
  3. Ibid.
  4. "International Association of Athletics Federations - Records and Top Lists." Retrieved 11-25-2012.
  5. "Linda Züblin."
  6. Ibid.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Track Beauty of the Week: Ingvill Måkestad Bovim

Ingvill Måkestad Bovim is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo from Chell Hill
Måkestad Bovim is Norway's best middle distance runner. She holds the Norwegian records in both the 800m (1:59.82, 2010) and the rarely run 1000m (2:36.7, 2011). [1] Ingvill's 1500m run personal best is 4:02.20, only two seconds from the legendary Grete Waitz's national record. As a junior, she specialized in the two-lap event before shifting to the longer distance as she grew older.

Despite notching respectably competitive times in her mid-twenties, Ingvill made the most impact as a 29-year old in 2011. The Norwegian barged into the Daegu World Championships 1500m final, finishing 6th overall with a time of 4:13.32. [2] Remarkably, this was her debut in the world stage. 

Måkestad Bovim was having a superb season prior to the London Olympic Games. She had been in the toughest of races last season, having been a fixture in the Samsung Diamond League legs. In fact, she had run an impressive 4:03.71 in July, [3] highlighting her great form ahead of London. However, an unfortunate injury forced the Norwegian to withdraw from the quadrennial event. 

  1. "Ingvill Måkestad Bovim." Retrieved 11-11-2012.
  2. "Ingvill Måkestad Bovim." Retrieved 11-11-2012.
  3. Ibid. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cathrine Larsåsen in "God Morgen Norge"

Our favorite pole vaulter Cathrine Larsåsen appears on the show, "God Morgen Norge."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Track Beauty of the Week: Ayako Kimura 木村 文子

Ayako Kimura 木村 文子 is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo from
Kimura is an elite-level Japanese hurdler. She has a personal best of 13.04s in the 100m hurdles, [1] set in April 2012. Ayako was just four-hundredths of a second from Yvonne Kanazawa's 金沢 イボンヌ 12-year old national senior record and one-hundredth of a second faster than Asuka Terada's 寺田 明日香 career best performance in 2009. 

Ayako's breakout year came in 2010, when she lowered her 2009 best of 13.74s to 13.28s. [2] Her improvement has been gradual in the subsequent years, running 13.19s in 2011 before her impressive performance in Hiroshima last April.

However, the Japanese champion failed to replicate her form at the London Olympic Games. Kimura crashed out of the heats with a below-par clocking of 13.75s. Nevertheless, the future looks bright for the promising Kimura. She has a relatively clean and straighforward hurdling technique, with none of the glaring technical deficiencies common amongst her peers. The London Olympics, after all, was just her first appearance in the world stage.

Ayako Kimura could be the next big thing in Asian hurdling.

  1. "Ayako Kimura." Retrieved 11-3-2012.
  2. "木村 文 子 Ayako Kimura." Retrieved 11-3-2012.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Track Beauty of the Week: Kajsa Bergqvist

Kajsa Bergqvist is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo from Wikimedia
The retired Swedish high jumper is an athletics legend. Throughout her illustrious career, Kajsa had won gold medals in the European Indoors, European Championships, World Indoors, and the World Championships. Only the Olympic title was missing from her medal cabinet. All in all, Bergqvist had won a total of five golds, one silver, and four bronzes from the various major championships of the sport. [1]

Coming from the frigid Scandinavian north, it is unsurprising that Bergqvist excelled in indoor competition. In 2001 and 2003, she topped two consecutive editions of the World Indoors.The Swede had personal bests of 2.06m outdoors and 2.08m, the standing world indoor record. [2]

However, injury had somewhat clipped the wings of the Swedish high jumping talent. She missed the Athens Olympics after tearing her Achilles' tendon. [3] Had Kajsa been in sterling form in 2004, perhaps the golden Swedish athletics haul of 2004 could have added another gold medal. Amazingly, Bergqvist won the World Championships gold a year later in Helsinki despite the potentially career-threatening setback she sustained. [

Kajsa Bergvist hung up her spikes in 2008, retiring as one of the greatest high jumpers in history. 

  1. "Kajsa Bergqvist." Retrieved 11-1-2012.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.