Created 24 July 2012
Anna NAZAROVA, Russia (Long Jump)
Born 3 February 1986, Saint Petersburg
1.73m / 57kg
Coach: Viktor Kuzin, Valeriy Metelsky
Anna Nazarova is one of the most consistent Russian long jumpers. But despite getting a medal at the national championships almost every year since 2003 (in the corresponding age category) she has hardly done an interview for the national press. That’s what can happen when you compete in one of the most star-studded events in your country, that has such titled athletes as Tatyana Lebedeva and Tatyana Kotova and a media phenomenon of our days in Darya Klishina. But it is Nazarova who is heading for the London Olympics as the national season leader. And coming from the rainy and windy Saint Petersburg, strong-minded and optimistic Nazarova is looking forward to whatever London has to offer.
Anna Nazarova started doing athletics when she was 8 years old. “I was very skinny and weak. I was getting ill very often, so my parents decided to bring me to the sports school so that I would get stronger and healthier. And the coach there immediately said that I would become a jumper. It seems he was right!” Nazarova smiled.
Anna started in both long and triple jump and also tried running 200m and hurdles. She won multiple medals at National Junior Championships indoors and outdoors in long and triple jump in 2003 and 2004. But then she decided to focus more on the long jump, as her speed and power characteristics and body composition were more suitable for this event. She had some more outings in the triple jump over the next years though and her indoor PB (13.80) set in 2007 can be considered rather high at the junior level.
Her second place at the 2004 Russia Junior Championships, with a personal best of 6.48,
The following year Nazarova had her first international success. It came at the European Junior Championships, in Kaunas, when the Russian won a bronze medal. In 2006 Nazarova couldn’t qualify for the European Championships, but won the National U23 Championships with a PB of 6.66 and had to wrap up the season as there were no more meets for her age category.
In winter of 2007, Nazarova won the national indoor title setting a PB of 6.68 and headed to Birmingham for the European Indoor Championships, but couldn’t make it to the final. “It was a very painful experience for me. I was really ready to win a medal, I had this goal in mind all the way, but I simply didn’t have enough competition experience,” Anna recalled.
In the summer of 2007 she won silver at the National U23 Championships behind Yelena Sokolova. But in Debrecen, at the European U23 Championships she beat not only Sokolova, but also her longtime rival, the Czech Denisa Rosolova (née Ščerbova), world and European junior champion who is now more famous as a 400m and 400m H runner. That win took a personal best: Nazarova leaped 6.81 that day, beating Rosolova by 1 cm. “I was heading to Debrecen to get the gold medal. This win was very important for me as it really increased my levels of confidence and helped me to detect the mistakes in mental preparation for the competition. I didn’t have any specific rivals to beat though. I got used to the intense competition in my event from the early years, so I always make sure to fight for my own best marks,” Nazarova explained.
For the next two years Nazarova was waiting for her time to succeed at the top national level to get an opportunity to compete at the major championships. And she got that chance in 2010. She won Russia Indoor Championships beating Kotova and Klishina.
“I wasn’t feeling very comfortable that day. After the summer season I was injured: a tear of semimembranosus muscle which affected the sciatic nerve on my lead leg. This is the thing that doesn’t go away in a moment. And I had just started working with Viktor Kuzin, who had enough courage to start coaching that limping athlete (myself). So I wasn’t too confident coming into the competition. But to be successful in a competition, you need to throw this kind of thoughts out of your head,” Anna said.
Several days later she headed for Doha, to take part in the World Indoor Championships, along with Klishina. But there was no luck for the Russians. The third place was taken by Keila Costa with a 6.63 mark while Klishina jumped 6.62 and Nazarova 6.61. “I clearly underperformed there. The track didn’t suit me at all. I hardly made it to the final and was hoping to get used to the surface and the pit, but it didn’t happen,” Anna recalled. To make matters worse that year she had to miss the whole summer due to a severe viral infection.
In 2011 Anna was once again successful at the National Indoor Championships, losing only to Klishina by just 1 cm. But at the Paris European Indoor Championships she couldn’t jump far enough to get into the final, while Klishina and the third Russian Yuliya Pidluzhnaya won the gold and the bronze respectively. “I was in a great shape then, but I couldn’t make a proper approach. In all attempts I took off at about 18-20 cm before the board. And I missed the final by just 1 cm!” Anna recalled.
Nazarova didn’t step on the podium at the summer Nationals that year, even though she had a 6.88 jump in qualification and leaped 6.76 in the final. It meant that instead of Daegu she was heading for the Shenzhen Universiade, where she did both the long jump and the triple. The long jump was the first on the list, not only in terms of priority, but also in terms of schedule. There she didn’t have any problems winning the competition with a 6.72 leap. She was also asked to compete in the triple jump to help the team in the overall medal count, but she got badly injured in the qualification round.
“I had a deformation of the meniscus and the cruciate ligaments on my take-off leg. But luckily I didn’t have to undergo a surgery. I got an excellent treatment in Saint Petersburg. And I want to thank our sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, for settling the costs of the treatment,” Nazarova said.
In 2012 Nazarova had a very quiet indoor season, with only a couple of small meets, as she didn’t want to go hard on her injured knee. It gave her some extra time for the studies. Anna graduated from the Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance, department of human resources management, and she is currently working on her PhD thesis on professional sports in the system of social-labour categories. “I don’t have much time for hobbies as sport is really time-consuming. So I’m just happy when I have some extra days or hours to spend with my family. Lately I got into baking as my fiancé has a sweet tooth, and I also like reading, mostly biographies. You can learn a lot from the lives and thoughts of such great personalities as Einstein, Lenin, van Gogh. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about Freud and his theories,” Anna said.
In the beginning of the summer of 2012, Nazarova was more than impressive. At her third competition of the season, the Moscow Championships, she managed to improve her PB by 23 cm, for the first time flying over the 7.00 mark – 7.11. “I don’t see this result as high. It’s a decent mark to work on. Of course it’s the second best result in the world this season and the best in Russia before the Olympics, it’s kind of pleasing, but I aim for more,” Nazarova said. Anna admits that the tailwind and her coach’s words were important success factors that day. “My coach, Viktor Kuzin, was very calm and convincing that day. He means a lot to me, he’s like the second father. I’m working with him since the autumn of 2009, but I saw him only during the training camps; back at home I used his training plans. But I needed more sessions under his guidance, so last year I moved from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, where my coach lives,” Anna explained.
At the National Championships, in Cheboksary, Nazarova produced a 6.90 jump in the qualifying round and a 6.88 one in the final to grab the silver and the ticket to London. “I’m going to London with positive thoughts on my mind. I’m really looking forward to the trip. Even though I expect it to be rainy and foggy there, I’m eager to experience this typical London climate. I think it’s quite similar to the Saint Petersburg one, I’m no stranger to this. And the British mentality, primness and calmness, appeals to me as well. I believe it will help all the athletes not to be overwhelmed by stress and pressure. I’m sure that Olympic experience will make me better and stronger as an athlete no matter what the outcome will be. I don’t like to plan any results ahead, but I promise to make my best effort there,” Nazarova said.
2003: 6.03; 2004: 6.48; 2005: 6.31; 2006: 6.66; 2007: 6.81; 2008: 6.71; 2009: 6.60; 2010: 6.54; 2011: 6.88; 2012: 7.11
2003 1st Russian Youth Indoor Ch. (Cheboksary) (Triple Jump) 13.13
2003 2nd Russian Youth Championships (Cheboksary) 6.12w
2003 1st Russian Youth Championships (Cheboksary) (Triple Jump) 13.13 (13.28w)
2004 1st Russian Junior Indoor Championships (Volgograd) 6.36
2004 1st Russian Junior Indoor Ch. (Volgograd) (Triple Jump) 13.07
2004 2nd Russian Junior Championships (Cheboksary) 6.48
2004 q World Junior Championships (Grosseto) 5.45
2005 1st Russian Junior Indoor Championships (Saransk) 6.34
2005 1st Russian Junior Championships (Tula) 6.26
2005 3rd European Junior Championships (Kaunas) 6.31
2006 2nd European Champions Clubs Cup (Valencia) 6.41 (6.42w)
2006 11th Russian Championships (Tula) 6.31 (6.32q)
2006 1st Russian U23 Championships (Kazan) 6.66
2007 1st Russian Indoor Championships (Volgograd) 6.68
2007 2nd Russian U23 Championships (Tula) 6.52
2007 1st European U23 Championships (Debrecen) 6.81
2007 5th Universiade (Bangkok) 6.50
2008 3rd Russian Championships (Kazan) 6.69
2008 2nd Russian U23 Championships (Chelyabinsk) 6.71
2010 1st Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow) 6.75
2010 6th World Indoor Championships (Doha) 6.61
2011 2nd Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow) 6.73
2011 q European Indoor Championships (Paris) 6.57
2011 1st Universiade (Shenzhen) 6.72
2012 2nd Russian Championships (Cheboksary) 6.88 (6.90q)
Prepared by Elena Dyachkova for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2012