Andrey Tereshin in London 2006 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Andrey TERESHIN, Russia (High Jump)
Born 15 December 1982, Ivanovo; 1.95m, 78kg
Coach: Alexander Belov
Andrey Tereshin’s native town, Ivanovo, is known in Russia as “the town of brides”. The main industry there used to be a sewing factory that hired mainly women while men left town to look for another job. As a result, legend has it that a man looking for a bride should first go to Ivanovo. “Of course I know about the legend around my town but it just makes me smile,” Tereshin – unmarried, by the way - said. “It is my native town. I have spent all my life there. What more can I say about it?”
When Tereshin was seven, an athletics coach came to his school looking for tall kids. 1.95m by now, Tereshin was already among the tallest and was selected for the high jump club. He started with high jump from the very beginning and did not even try other athletics disciplines. “Of course it’s hard to do high jump when you are only 7,” he said. “So first we kids just played different active games and jumped on the trampoline. I liked athletics at once and never doubted I would become an athlete.”
The high jump school in Ivanovo is famous for its best student – the 2000 Olympic champion, Sergey Klyugin. But, by the time that Tereshin was starting with athletics, Klyugin was finishing his career, though he has always tried to follow the example of his elder colleague: “When I was a kid, Sergey for me was like an idol,” Tereshin said. “Later we got acquainted and he gave me many tips on my jumping technique. He made me understand that it is realistic to achieve big goals in athletics. We stay in touch up to now and he is my big support.”
At junior level, Tereshin was seemingly unbeatable. “If I am not mistaken, I have been the national champion in juniors and U23 12 times,” he said. In 2003 he placed second at the European U23 Championships, in Bydgoszcz, Poland, with 2.27m.
In 2005 the real competition started for Tereshin. Ivan Ukhov and Andrey Silnov are, respectively, four and two years younger, and that was the time they caught up with Tereshin. He was second that year at the National Indoors behind Pavel Fomenko and beat Ukhov, who was fourth with 2.28m. Thus Tereshin qualified for the European Indoor championships in Madrid. But there he was only 8th with a modest 2.24.
That was the start of the negative trend against which Tereshin has been fighting for years. He can be brilliant and unbeatable at national level but, once he goes out to the European or World Championships, it is hard to recognise him. Such a thing happened in 2005 in Madrid and at the World Championships in Helsinki (2.15 and 23rd place), in 2007 at the European Indoors in Birmingham (2.20 and 7th place), at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka (2.24 and 24th place) and at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia (2.24 and 11th place). “I cannot summarise all these cases,” Tereshin says. “Every time it was something different that did not let me jump high.”
Sometimes it was just nerves – like in Madrid and Birmingham. In spring 2005 Tereshin underwent surgery for appendicitis. He missed about a month and a half and had to speed up his training to be in shape for the national trials. Tereshin jumped his PB at the time (2.32) in Tula placing second behind Olympic champion Vyacheslav Voronin. However, in Helsinki, he was only 23rd – one of the worst results in his career. “I think I lost there more psychologically than physically,” he said. “I was not mentally ready to jump high as I had missed too much training. Probably physically I was not in bad shape but my mind did not let me perform high jumps.”
Osaka 2007 remains the most painful defeat for Tereshin. After a tough fight for the place in the team at the national trials it was a pity to be only 24th at the World Championships. “It’s a long story why I did not manage to jump high in Osaka,” he said. “A month before the championships I was 100 per cent ready, at least, to win a medal. But the coaches of our national team insisted that this last month we would spend at the training camp and wouldn’t take part in competitions. This was like stewing in your own juice. I really felt I lacked the competition practice in Osaka. I was just too nervous as it was my first start after such a long break.”
Before Osaka the Russian team was training in Vladivostok. This city has a 6-hour time difference with Moscow and 2 hours with Osaka. Still the acclimatisation there, according to Tereshin, did not go perfectly: “In Osaka I still felt exhausted because of the heat and humidity,” he said. “The conditions for training in Vladivistok were not bad, but it is such a dull city. Everything around is grey and it made me feel depressed. I like it when there is a place to go out, like to go sightseeing or just walk the streets and see people around. There was nothing like that in Vladivostok.”
The 2006 World Indoor Championships in Moscow is the “moment of glory” as he calls it in Tereshin’s career. This was the exception from the rule as he was perfect both at the national trials and at the championships. Tereshin jumped his PB indoors (2.36) at the Russian Indoor Championships and then was only a centimetre worse at the World Championships. His 2.35 for second place behind Yaroslav Rybakov remains the best achievement in his career. “In Moscow I was surprisingly calm,” he said. “I knew that all my family and friends were there and that I just did not have the right to let them down. I felt the energy from the public and it inspired me.”
Moscow remains, for Tereshin, a dream place to live. A silver medal from the World Indoors is not enough for an athlete to afford it. “What should I do to move to Moscow? Oh, it is so expensive that I think I need to win both the Olympics and the World Championships. But I have the chances, so why not?” Tereshin smiles.
The start of 2008 indoor season was, for Tereshin, very hard. During the whole of January he could jump no higher than 2.26. While Silnov and Ukhov were constantly showing results above 2.30, Tereshin seemed to have no chance to qualify for the World Indoors in Valencia. However, at the Russian Championships, he equalled his PB of 2.36 and finished second behind World silver medallist Rybakov (2.38).
However the World Championships in Valencia became another one in the long story of Tereshin’s defeats at the major championships. He jumped only 2.24 m to finish 11th. This time the reason was – a leg injury. Several days after the Russian championships, Tereshin injured his leg at the competition in Prague. According to the management of the Russian team, he reassured everyone that he would be fine by the time of the championships. Still in Valencia Tereshin did not even make the Final.
The 2008 outdoor season started for Tereshin almost as usual. He was again good at the trials, jumped 2.30 m, sharing the second place, that, theoretically, guaranteed him the ticket to Beijing. But, as it turned out later, only theoretically. The formula of the team selection for the Olympics was: first two places at the national trials qualify automatically, plus one place is decided by the coaches’ council from among the finalists. The thing was, the formula did not prescribe what to do in the jumps, if two or more people share one place.
Formally the coaches’ council did not have any choice. Tereshin and Russian record holder Vyacheslav Voronin shared the second place and both should have been on the team, together with the national champion Yaroslav Rybakov. However the council could not but remember the sad story of Tereshin’s losses at the major championships. The candidature of then European champion Andrey Silnov looked more promising. After long discussion, the decision was postponed till the Executive Board meeting of the All-Russian Athletics Federation.
In the meantime Andrey Silnov, who was fourth at the trials with the same result 2.30 m, posted the World season lead in London – 2.38 m. This made the situation even more complicated. As a result, the decision on the third participant in the men’s High Jump appeared the only one in all the Olympic kinds of sports, that was made not even by the federation, but directly by the Executive Board of the Russian Olympic committee. 16 out of 20 board members voted that Andrey Silnov should be included in the Olympic team, while Tereshin and Voronin would jump for the third place left on a specially organised tournament.
In the rainy competition at the final training camp in Irkutsk, Tereshin did not manage to clear 2.27 m and was left out of the team. In Beijing, Silnov became the Olympic champion, Rybakov the bronze medalist, while Voronin did not pass the qualification with a result of 2.25 m.
“If you have the dream of your life to compete at the Olympics, and then other people just take it away from you, you wouldn’t feel good, right?” Tereshin commented on the situation. “I did not even watch the Beijing Olympics. Simply because I could not stand watching it! I’d like to stress now that I don’t have any issues with Andrey Silnov personally. As an athlete, after the trials he did everything possible, he was perfect. Everything that happened further is not our business, we are just athletes. But I’ll remember this disappointment forever. This is not something one can easily forget”.
In the summer season 2009 Tereshin finished third at the trials in Cheboksary with a brilliant jump at 2.33 m. However this again meant the decision on his trip to the World Championships would be made by the coaches’ council. “I am already sick and tired of these decisions”, Tereshin said emotionally. “I don’t want to make any predictions what they’ll say. All I know is that I jumped nearly my PB and I am satisfied with myself”.
This time the coaches’ council unanimously voted for Tereshin. In the absence of injured Silnov there were no other candidatures. Can the World Championships in Berlin be a kind of compensation for Tereshin for the missed Olympics? “No, nothing in sports can be a compensation for the Olympics”, Tereshin denied. “And after all, what is the compensation we are talking about?! What happened last year will haunt me, I think, all my life. But now I am concentrated on the World Championships and want to jump there, at least, not worse than I jumped at the trials in Cheboksary. Hopefully, ta result around 2.33 m will be enough for a medal”.
2.36i (2006, 2008)
2000: 2.15; 2001: 2.18; 2002: 2.24; 2003: 2.27; 2004: 2.26; 2005: 2.32; 2006: 2.31/ 2.36i; 2007: 2.34; 2008: 2.31/2.36i; 2009: 2.33/2.31i.
2000 1st Russian Junior Championships (Cheboksary) 2.15
2001 1st Russian U23 Championships (Cheboksary) 2.15
2001 1st Russian Junior Championships (Kazan) 2.18
2001 q European Junior Championships (Grosseto) 2.12
2002 1st Russian U23 Championships (Cheboksary) 2.24
2003 2nd European U23 Championships (Bydgoszcz) 2.27
2003 6th Universiade (Daegu) 2.20
2004 2nd Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow) 2.28
2004 1st Russian U23 Indoor Championships (Moscow) 2.15
2004 5th Russian Championships (Tula) 2.24
2005 2nd Russian Indoor Championships (Volgograd) 2.31
2005 8th European Indoor Championships (Madrid) 2.24
2005 2nd Russian Championships (Tula) 2.32
2005 23rd World Championships (Helsinki) 2.15
2006 1st Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow) 2.36
2006 2nd World Indoor Championships (Moscow) 2.35
2007 3rd Russian Indoor Championships (Volgograd) 2.25
2007 7th European Indoor Championships (Birmingham) 2.20
2007 24th World Championships (Osaka) 2.23
2007 1st CISM Military Games (Hyderabad) 2.26
2008 2nd Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow) 2.36
2008 11th World Indoor Championships (Valencia) 2.24
2008 2nd Russian Championships (Kazan) 2.30
2009 4th Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow) 2.27
2009 3rd Russian Championships (Cheboksary) 2.33
Prepared by Natalia Maryanchik for the IAAF ‘Focus on athletes” project’. Copyright IAAF 2009.