Ivana Spanovic of Serbia competes in the Women's Long Jump Qualifications on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 7, 2012 (Getty Images)
Ivana Spanovic of Serbia competes in the Women's Long Jump Qualifications on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 7, 2012 (Getty Images)
  • COUNTRY Serbia Serbia
  • DATE OF BIRTH 10 MAY 1990

Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.

Updated 27 February 2014

 

Ivana SPANOVIC, Serbia (Long Jump)                              

Born: 10 May 1990, Zrenjanin, Serbia

Weight: 65kg

Lives: Novi Sad

Coach: Goran Obradovic

Manager: Daniel Wessfeldt

 

Ivana Spanovic has been gracing long jump pits around the world for a long time. Despite not having yet turned 24, Serbia’s first ever IAAF World Championships medalist has been a regular participant in global and continental competition for almost ten years, having first represented her country at the 2005 World Youth Championships in Marrakesh, aged just 14. Having picked up medals on a regular basis during that time, it seems that she was always destined for a successful career as a senior athlete.

 

Over the past 9 years, the woman from Zrenjanin in northern Serbia has come a long way since her 8th place in her qualifying pool at those first championships, making pleasing yearly progression which culminated in a bronze medal and outdoor national record at the Moscow World Championships in 2013 and, at the beginning of 2014, an indoor national record at the Balkans Championships, just 8cm shy of the magical 7m barrier.

 

Sport was always going to play a big part in the young Spanovic’s life, but not necessarily long jumping. “I grew up in a sports oriented family,” she recalls. “I tried several sports. I enjoyed doing karate with my brother, playing handball and volleyball, but in the end it was athletics that won my heart.”

 

That decision, which has proven to be a wise one, was in no small part down to the exploits of her mother, who herself was no stranger to success on the track. “I was inspired and motivated by my mother's medals, who was a very good sprinter,” she says. “I still have a good memory of when my father took me to my first training.”

 

“I started my career in athletics when I was 7 years-old and was coached by Jani Hajdu, who had trained my mother as well. At the beginning I wanted to run faster than she did and to win more medals than her.”

 

Before long, it was apparent that Ivana had considerable talent for jumping – so much so that she soon had to look outside of Serbia for competition.

 

“When I look back, I can say that I started very early, winning medals and being part of the international scene. I didn’t have strong competitors in my country, which led me to look up to international athletes’ performances and seek motivation from them. I always wanted to be well positioned in the European and world rankings.”

 

A 7th place at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing in 2006 when aged 15 was Spanovic’s initial breakthrough, but it was the following year at the World Youth Championships that she really began to make her mark. Having competed at the senior European Indoor Championships at the age of 16, she went on to take the silver medal in Ostrava with an excellent 6.41m.

 

That was just the start of things to come, as she went one better the following summer, taking the World Junior title in Bydgoszcz, this time with a 6.61m leap, before competing at the Beijing Olympic Games later in the summer. The knack of performing at her best in her main competition of the year is one that Spanovic appears to have developed, something that she readily acknowledges:

 

“It was very satisfying  to be awarded with medals for all the hard work and sacrifice that I had to make in order to achieve  success.  Winning the medals at big championships is always one of my main goals and I am happy that I have managed so far to be in the best shape at the right moment.”

 

Indeed, her run of medals continued into 2009, when Spanovic got to compete in front of a Serbian crowd in international Championships not once, but twice, as Belgrade hosted the World University Games and Novi Sad was the venue for that summer’s European Junior Championships.

 

The then 18-year-old didn’t disappoint, taking home the gold at the Universiade and a silver medal in the European Juniors, with a huge 6.71m. “I really enjoy competing at home in front of my home crowd,” she admits. “It’s always a special atmosphere and energy that I can feel and share with my fans and supporters. They motivate me to push myself over the limits.”

 

The transition from precocious junior to successful senior was not necessarily easy for Spanovic, whose initial bids for senior medals were met with good, but not outstanding results, although an 8th place finish at the European Championships in 2010, a silver medal at the European Under 23 Championships in 2011 and an 11th placing at the London Olympics hinted at things to come. The period marked a big change in her circumstances, as she left Zrenjanin to move to the city of Novi Sad to start working with current coach Goran Obradovic.

 

2011 and 2012 were also notable for Spanovic’s first encounter with serious injury, in the form of a stress fracture to her jumping ankle, which understandably hindered her progress.

 

So it was at the Moscow World Championships in 2013 that Spanovic finally found her feet as a senior. With her personal best of 6.78 having been set in 2010, it might have appeared that her progression had stalled, that the precocious teenager was destined to be an ordinary senior. Yet, having flown out to 6.70 in the first round of the final to briefly sit in silver medal, she jumped a Serbian record 6.82 in round 5 to take bronze on countback from Volha Sudareva of Belarus.

 

It was the crowning moment of her career so far and, as the first medal of any kind for a Serbian athlete at an outdoor IAAF World Championships, it didn’t go unnoticed back home.

 

“It was very emotional and it still is, not only for me, but for my team, my country,” she concedes. “So for all of us it was a historic moment that we will always remember. Of course, there is a lot of public and media interest, but I try to stay focused on what I have to do in order to achieve this again.”

 

The impact of the medal wasn’t so much life changing for Ivana, but for the whole sport in Serbia, which also had Emir Bekric’s 400m hurdles bronze medal to cheer.

 

“The World’s medal didn’t change me,” she says. “But athletics as a sport has become more popular with youngsters in Serbia after Moscow. I am glad to be recognized as a role model and I am so happy when I come to a stadium and see more and more children there.”

 

Off the track, her success has provided Spanovic with business opportunities to keep her busy when she’s not competing, but, understandably, given her new found celebrity status, it’s the small things in life that she appreciates most.

 

“We have a fitness centre, which is specialized only for ladies and we are very proud of all our members. But most of the time when if I am not on the track and in the gym, I spend with my family and friends, do some shopping, playing with my dog and relaxing by reading a good book.”

 

Having already improved her outright personal best to 6.92 in the 2014 indoor season, the future looks rosy for Ivana, who knows that she still has more to achieve in the sport.

 

“I will keep working hard in order to improve my performance and keep fighting for the finals and a podium at the biggest championships and meets,” she promises. “My biggest wish is to be injury-free and do my best to fulfill my dreams.  And yes to jump over 7m is something that I dream of every day.”

 

In the form of her life and with the World Indoor Championships coming up in Sopot, that dream could come true more quickly than she realises.

 

Personal Bests

Long Jump (Outdoor): 6.82 (2013)

Long Jump (Indoor): 6.92 (2014)

 

Yearly progression

Long Jump: 2005 – 6.43; 2006 – 6.38; 2007 – 6.41; 2008 – 6.65; 2009 – 6.71; 2010 – 6.78; 2011 – 6.71 (6.74w) ; 2012 – 6.64; 2013 – 6.82; 2014 – 6.92

 

Career Highlights

2006

7th

IAAF World Junior Championships

6.23

2007

2nd

IAAF World Youth Championships

6.41

2007     

2nd

European Youth Olympic Festival

6,20

2008

1st

IAAF World Junior Championships

6.61

2009

1st

Universiade

6.64

2009

2nd

European Junior Championships

6.71

2011

2nd

European Under 23 Championships

6.74

2013

3rd

IAAF World Championships

6.82

  

Prepared by Dean Hardman for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2014

Personal Best - Outdoor
Performance Wind Place Date
100 Metres 11.90 +0.7 Sremska Mitrovica 18 MAY 2013
Long Jump 6.82 +0.1 Moskva (Luzhniki) 11 AUG 2013
Triple Jump 13.54 0.0 Novi Sad 18 JUN 2011
Personal Best - Indoor
Performance Wind Place Date
60 Metres 7.43 Novi Sad 18 JAN 2014
800 Metres 2:43.68 Novi Sad 19 JAN 2013
60 Metres Hurdles 8.49 Novi Sad 19 JAN 2013
High Jump 1.78 Novi Sad 19 JAN 2013
Long Jump 6.92 Istanbul (Ataköy Arena) 22 FEB 2014
Shot Put 12.40 Novi Sad 19 JAN 2013
Pentathlon 4240 Novi Sad 19 JAN 2013
Progression - Outdoor showShow All Graphs
100 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2013 11.90 +0.7 Sremska Mitrovica 18 MAY
2009 12.09 +0.5 Novi Sad 30 JUN
2006 12.02 +1.4 Novi Sad 10 JUN
2005 12.23 +1.7 Senta 18 JUN
Long Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2013 6.82 +0.1 Moskva (Luzhniki) 11 AUG
2012 6.64 +1.1 Sremska Mitrovica 03 JUN
2011 6.71 +1.1 Ostrava 17 JUL
2010 6.78 +0.9 Beograd 20 JUN
2009 6.71 -0.1 Novi Sad 24 JUL
2008 6.65 +1.6 Senta 15 JUN
2007 6.41 +0.5 Ostrava 15 JUL
2006 6.38 +0.6 Novi Sad 11 JUN
2005 6.43 +1.7 Trípoli, GRE 30 JUL
Triple Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2011 13.54 0.0 Novi Sad 18 JUN
Progression - Indoor showShow All Graphs
60 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 7.43 Novi Sad 18 JAN
2006 7.68 Budapest (WT) 27 JAN
800 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2013 2:43.68 Novi Sad 19 JAN
60 Metres Hurdles Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2013 8.49 Novi Sad 19 JAN
High Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2013 1.78 Novi Sad 19 JAN
Long Jump Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2014 6.92 Istanbul (Ataköy Arena) 22 FEB
2013 6.73 Istanbul 23 FEB
2011 6.34 Rijeka 19 FEB
2009 6.47 Budapest (Syma Hall) 14 FEB
2008 6.52 Peanía 09 FEB
2007 6.53 Moskva 14 FEB
2006 6.48 Budapest (WT) 05 FEB
2005 6.01 Beograd 12 FEB
Shot Put Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2013 12.40 Novi Sad 19 JAN
Pentathlon Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2013 4240 Novi Sad 19 JAN
Honours - 100 Metres
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
4th IAAF World Youth Championships 5h11 12.28 +1.6 Marrakech 13 JUL 2005
Honours - Long Jump
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
IAAF World Indoor Championships 2014 3 6.77 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 09 MAR 2014
14th IAAF World Championships 3 6.82 +0.1 Moskva (Luzhniki) 11 AUG 2013
The XXX Olympic Games 11 6.35 +0.9 London (OP) 08 AUG 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics q1 DNS Daegu 27 AUG 2011
The XXIX Olympic Games 16q2 6.30 +1.8 Beijing (National Stadium) 19 AUG 2008
12th IAAF World Junior Championships 1 6.61 +1.3 Bydgoszcz 12 JUL 2008
5th IAAF World Youth Championships 2 6.41 +0.5 Ostrava 15 JUL 2007
11th IAAF World Junior Championships 7 6.23 0.0 Beijing (Chaoyang Sport Center) 19 AUG 2006
4th IAAF World Youth Championships 8q1 5.97 +2.1 Marrakech 16 JUL 2005

Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.

Updated 27 February 2014

 

Ivana SPANOVIC, Serbia (Long Jump)                              

Born: 10 May 1990, Zrenjanin, Serbia

Weight: 65kg

Lives: Novi Sad

Coach: Goran Obradovic

Manager: Daniel Wessfeldt

 

Ivana Spanovic has been gracing long jump pits around the world for a long time. Despite not having yet turned 24, Serbia’s first ever IAAF World Championships medalist has been a regular participant in global and continental competition for almost ten years, having first represented her country at the 2005 World Youth Championships in Marrakesh, aged just 14. Having picked up medals on a regular basis during that time, it seems that she was always destined for a successful career as a senior athlete.

 

Over the past 9 years, the woman from Zrenjanin in northern Serbia has come a long way since her 8th place in her qualifying pool at those first championships, making pleasing yearly progression which culminated in a bronze medal and outdoor national record at the Moscow World Championships in 2013 and, at the beginning of 2014, an indoor national record at the Balkans Championships, just 8cm shy of the magical 7m barrier.

 

Sport was always going to play a big part in the young Spanovic’s life, but not necessarily long jumping. “I grew up in a sports oriented family,” she recalls. “I tried several sports. I enjoyed doing karate with my brother, playing handball and volleyball, but in the end it was athletics that won my heart.”

 

That decision, which has proven to be a wise one, was in no small part down to the exploits of her mother, who herself was no stranger to success on the track. “I was inspired and motivated by my mother's medals, who was a very good sprinter,” she says. “I still have a good memory of when my father took me to my first training.”

 

“I started my career in athletics when I was 7 years-old and was coached by Jani Hajdu, who had trained my mother as well. At the beginning I wanted to run faster than she did and to win more medals than her.”

 

Before long, it was apparent that Ivana had considerable talent for jumping – so much so that she soon had to look outside of Serbia for competition.

 

“When I look back, I can say that I started very early, winning medals and being part of the international scene. I didn’t have strong competitors in my country, which led me to look up to international athletes’ performances and seek motivation from them. I always wanted to be well positioned in the European and world rankings.”

 

A 7th place at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing in 2006 when aged 15 was Spanovic’s initial breakthrough, but it was the following year at the World Youth Championships that she really began to make her mark. Having competed at the senior European Indoor Championships at the age of 16, she went on to take the silver medal in Ostrava with an excellent 6.41m.

 

That was just the start of things to come, as she went one better the following summer, taking the World Junior title in Bydgoszcz, this time with a 6.61m leap, before competing at the Beijing Olympic Games later in the summer. The knack of performing at her best in her main competition of the year is one that Spanovic appears to have developed, something that she readily acknowledges:

 

“It was very satisfying  to be awarded with medals for all the hard work and sacrifice that I had to make in order to achieve  success.  Winning the medals at big championships is always one of my main goals and I am happy that I have managed so far to be in the best shape at the right moment.”

 

Indeed, her run of medals continued into 2009, when Spanovic got to compete in front of a Serbian crowd in international Championships not once, but twice, as Belgrade hosted the World University Games and Novi Sad was the venue for that summer’s European Junior Championships.

 

The then 18-year-old didn’t disappoint, taking home the gold at the Universiade and a silver medal in the European Juniors, with a huge 6.71m. “I really enjoy competing at home in front of my home crowd,” she admits. “It’s always a special atmosphere and energy that I can feel and share with my fans and supporters. They motivate me to push myself over the limits.”

 

The transition from precocious junior to successful senior was not necessarily easy for Spanovic, whose initial bids for senior medals were met with good, but not outstanding results, although an 8th place finish at the European Championships in 2010, a silver medal at the European Under 23 Championships in 2011 and an 11th placing at the London Olympics hinted at things to come. The period marked a big change in her circumstances, as she left Zrenjanin to move to the city of Novi Sad to start working with current coach Goran Obradovic.

 

2011 and 2012 were also notable for Spanovic’s first encounter with serious injury, in the form of a stress fracture to her jumping ankle, which understandably hindered her progress.

 

So it was at the Moscow World Championships in 2013 that Spanovic finally found her feet as a senior. With her personal best of 6.78 having been set in 2010, it might have appeared that her progression had stalled, that the precocious teenager was destined to be an ordinary senior. Yet, having flown out to 6.70 in the first round of the final to briefly sit in silver medal, she jumped a Serbian record 6.82 in round 5 to take bronze on countback from Volha Sudareva of Belarus.

 

It was the crowning moment of her career so far and, as the first medal of any kind for a Serbian athlete at an outdoor IAAF World Championships, it didn’t go unnoticed back home.

 

“It was very emotional and it still is, not only for me, but for my team, my country,” she concedes. “So for all of us it was a historic moment that we will always remember. Of course, there is a lot of public and media interest, but I try to stay focused on what I have to do in order to achieve this again.”

 

The impact of the medal wasn’t so much life changing for Ivana, but for the whole sport in Serbia, which also had Emir Bekric’s 400m hurdles bronze medal to cheer.

 

“The World’s medal didn’t change me,” she says. “But athletics as a sport has become more popular with youngsters in Serbia after Moscow. I am glad to be recognized as a role model and I am so happy when I come to a stadium and see more and more children there.”

 

Off the track, her success has provided Spanovic with business opportunities to keep her busy when she’s not competing, but, understandably, given her new found celebrity status, it’s the small things in life that she appreciates most.

 

“We have a fitness centre, which is specialized only for ladies and we are very proud of all our members. But most of the time when if I am not on the track and in the gym, I spend with my family and friends, do some shopping, playing with my dog and relaxing by reading a good book.”

 

Having already improved her outright personal best to 6.92 in the 2014 indoor season, the future looks rosy for Ivana, who knows that she still has more to achieve in the sport.

 

“I will keep working hard in order to improve my performance and keep fighting for the finals and a podium at the biggest championships and meets,” she promises. “My biggest wish is to be injury-free and do my best to fulfill my dreams.  And yes to jump over 7m is something that I dream of every day.”

 

In the form of her life and with the World Indoor Championships coming up in Sopot, that dream could come true more quickly than she realises.

 

Personal Bests

Long Jump (Outdoor): 6.82 (2013)

Long Jump (Indoor): 6.92 (2014)

 

Yearly progression

Long Jump: 2005 – 6.43; 2006 – 6.38; 2007 – 6.41; 2008 – 6.65; 2009 – 6.71; 2010 – 6.78; 2011 – 6.71 (6.74w) ; 2012 – 6.64; 2013 – 6.82; 2014 – 6.92

 

Career Highlights

2006

7th

IAAF World Junior Championships

6.23

2007

2nd

IAAF World Youth Championships

6.41

2007     

2nd

European Youth Olympic Festival

6,20

2008

1st

IAAF World Junior Championships

6.61

2009

1st

Universiade

6.64

2009

2nd

European Junior Championships

6.71

2011

2nd

European Under 23 Championships

6.74

2013

3rd

IAAF World Championships

6.82

  

Prepared by Dean Hardman for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2014