More often than not these days, most women's high jump competitions end with winner Blanka Vlasic adding to her collection of dazzling World record attempts. Tonight was no exception as the popular Croatian treated the capacity crowd at Kaftanzoglio stadium with both an impressive victory and a tantalizingly close meet-capping attempt at a would-be 2.10m World record.
Much as in Zagreb on 31 August, the two-time World champion was again in her element, putting together a flawless scorecard through 2.04m. While she slightly brushed both of her first attempt successes at 2.00m and 2.02m, her 2.04m clearance was the best of her five leaps until that point, boding well for her now customary attempts at the rarified air that only she and an elite group of history’s finest jumpers have ever experienced.
13 days ago in Zagreb, the 25-year-old raised her own national record to 2.08m, to take sole possession of the No. 2 spot all-time. There, she indicated that she could come close to that mark again in Thessaloniki, whose Mediterranean setting is very similar to that of her native Split on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. When she had the bar raised directly to a would-be World record of 2.10m, she made those intentions clear.
Warming up with her first attempt, her second was better but her third was the best, one of the closest ever according to Vlasic.
“I had a very good attempt at the record,” she said, adding that she doesn’t keep track of how many times she’s taken a stab at breaking Stefka Kostadinova’s 2.09m mark set 22 years ago. “I’m sure that the day will come that I am going to break the record. It will come, if I stay healthy and relaxed. I don’t have to be anxious with that.”
It was her 14th victory this season in 16 competitions and most significantly it showed how consistent the former two-time World junior champion has become. Back in May, she opened her season with a 2.05m leap. Four months later, she ended it with a 2.04m effort.
As in Berlin, finishing second was Russian Anna Chicherova who topped 2.00m on her first try before bowing out with one attempt at 2.02m and a pair at 2.04m.
Italy’s Antonietta Di Martino and American Chaunte Howard both topped at 1.97m, with the Italian taking third on countback.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF