Ivana Spanovic secured a long jump bronze medal at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August, the first athlete from Serbia to win a World Championships medal.
The 23-year-old from Novi Sad will be chasing more honours when she competes at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, between 7-9 March.
Here we gain an insight into her life as she answers our work, rest and play questions.
IVANA AT WORK
What is your favourite training session?
IS: I’d have to say weights sessions or any of the technical long jump sessions. The technical sessions are so important because as a long jumper it is so important to know and understand every aspect of the long jump. My coach (Goran Obradovic) and I record every jump and never finish a training session until we are satisfied. Sometimes we train for one hour, three hours or five hours. We never know.
What is your least favourite training session?
IS: I don’t really look forward to the long running sessions, say the 600m or 400m reps.
What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?
IS: One, to always be in great shape. Two, to have a healthy lifestyle and third, to be a role model to younger children.
What is your least favourite thing about being an athlete?
IS: I am always tired. If I can choose a second, it is I never have enough time for family or friends because I am always training or competing in competitions all over the world.
Do you have a favourite training venue?
IS: I hate the cold weather, so it would have to be somewhere warm. I really like training in Qatar while I also like America.
IVANA AT REST
Where is your favourite place to relax?
IS: I would say my home. I like to listen to music, play with my dog or read a book. Sometimes when you spend a lot of time with other people, it is nice to be able to spend time on your own.
What is your perfect non-training day?
IS: It is always the same. I would go to Belgrade (the Serbian capital) with my boyfriend or my friends, and I would go to the shopping centre or cinema. It is a great place to gather and relax.
What is your favourite movie?
IS: One of my favourite movies is The Green Mile.
What is your favourite meal?
IS: I love pasta and Italian food, so it would be pasta with vegetables and fish.
What is your favourite music to relax to?
IS: I love instrumental music when I’m at home. But during training, or in the car, I listen to pop music. I always like to listen to Andrea Bocelli, but other than him I don’t really have a favourite.
If you could pick one athlete to relax with for a day, who would it be and why?
IS: Sergey Bubka (six-time pole vault world champion and men’s world record-holder) because I would like to listen to his experiences as an athlete. It would be very important for me to listen to an athlete who was at the top for so long.
IVANA AT PLAY
When did your passion and interest in fashion begin?
IS: From the age of about 14 or 15. Everyone else thought it was very strange and that I shouldn’t do it (have an interest in fashion), but for me it was normal. I have a lot of friends who are fashion designers and I like to wear clothes that make me feel good. Everybody is always talking about what I’m wearing, my latest haircut, my nails or make up, but I’m a girl and I need to do this.
What is your favourite fashion label?
IS: In the fashion line, it is really not so important which label I’m wearing. It is more important, for me, simply to feel good with what I’m wearing.
Do you have a favourite place to shop?
IS: A shopping centre in Belgrade called Usce. I love to go there because it is a place where you can relax, have a drink, eat and go shopping. It is a one-hour drive from Novi Sad and I try to go there once a week.
Who is the most fashionable person in athletics and why?
IS: I’d say Blanka Vlasic and Lolo Jones. Blanka is from nearby Croatia and, because the mentality of the people is similar (to Serbia), I love her style. Lolo Jones is so different from the other athletes – her face, her body her personality. It is so different and I love her for it.
Steve Landells for the IAAF