Athletics: "Flo-Jo", the myth and its questions for the first time approached

Athletics: Rojas, a triple jump forward

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She promised it, she did it. Ambitious and determined, Yulimar Rojas kept her word by offering herself the world record for the triple jump (15.67 m) on Sunday, around which she had been turning for several months, the reward of an extraordinary journey started in one of the districts underprivileged in Venezuela.

It had been months since the athlete with endless legs hammered that the successful performance in 1995 by Inessa Kravets (15.50 m) was within his reach. She finally chose the most beautiful setting, in the final of the Olympic Games, to achieve her goals and enter definitively into the history of her discipline.

Assured of victory in the competition from her first attempt, she however waited for her 6th and last try to definitively erase the Ukrainian from the shelves.

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At 25, the double world champion (2017, 2019) is at the top of her game and has no opponent to her measure. In the women’s triple jump, there is her and the others and it is quite logical that she won gold at the Olympic Games, five years after the silver medal won in Rio, thus becoming the first woman in his sacred country at this level.

Rojas’ dominance over the triple jump is relentless. The Venezuelan, who also dabbled in the high jump with a South American title in 2014, has four of the six best performances of all time. In 2020, just before the cessation of competitions due to the coronavirus pandemic, she had offered herself the indoor world record (15.43 m) before being elected athlete of the year following a vote organized by the International Federation.

– Exceptional physical abilities –

Coming from a disadvantaged background in Altavista, a sector of the “barrio” (working-class district) of Pozuelos, on the outskirts of Puerto La Cruz, a coastal town in Venezuela 300 km east of Caracas, Rojas grew up in a family of six children (four girls, two boys).

It was his father-in-law, a former professional boxer, who passed on his taste for sport to him. Volleyball, sprint, high jump: little Rojas hesitated for a long time before finally opting for the triple jump.

Difficult to do better for the slender Rojas (1.92 m), member of the athletics section of FC Barcelona, ​​who combines exceptional physical abilities with perfect technique.

“She has an atypical style, she does not look like anyone, she has her own style, analyzed for AFP the Frenchman Teddy Tamgho, world champion of the triple jump in 2013. For the moment, it is a waste of time for the competition. She is 2 legs above the competition. To beat her, she has to make mistakes. She is the one who loses, not the other who beats her.”

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Alone in the world, the protege of the Cuban Ivan Pedroso, Olympic gold medalist in the long jump (2000), even comes to dream of being the future “first woman at 16 m”. A goal far from inconceivable according to Teddy Tamgho.

“She has an exceptional elastic rebound, she does not lose speed, believes the Frenchman, now a coach. She is a girl capable of doing 5.70 m, 5.80 m, on the last jump. Even boys of very even if it is more complicated for her with her long compasses, if she manages to have good coordination in the air, she is at 16.20 m, 16.30 m right away .”

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