Ivana Spanovic

Athlete Profile

    Serbia Serbia
    10 MAY 1990
Ivana Spanovic in the long jump qualification at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
100 Metres 11.90 +0.7 Sremska Mitrovica 18 MAY 2013
Long Jump 7.10 +0.3 Beograd 11 SEP 2016
Triple Jump 13.78 +0.2 Beograd 14 JUN 2014

Personal Best - Indoor

Performance Wind Place Date
60 Metres 7.31 Novi Sad 31 JAN 2015
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 7.24 Beograd (Kombank Arena) 05 MAR 2017
Shot Put 12.40 Novi Sad 19 JAN 2013
Pentathlon 4240 Novi Sad 19 JAN 2013

Progression - Outdoor

100 Metres

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

Performance Wind Place Date
2017 6.96 +0.1 London (Olympic Stadium) 11 AUG
2016 7.10 +0.3 Beograd 11 SEP
2015 7.02 +0.5 Zürich (Letzigrund) 03 SEP
2014 6.88 +1.5 Eugene (Hayward Field), OR 30 MAY
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

Performance Wind Place Date
2014 13.78 +0.2 Beograd 14 JUN
2011 13.54 0.0 Novi Sad 18 JUN

Progression - Indoor

60 Metres

Performance Place Date
2016 7.36 Novi Sad 13 FEB
2015 7.31 Novi Sad 31 JAN
2014 7.43 Novi Sad 18 JAN
2006 7.68 Budapest (WT) 27 JAN

800 Metres

Performance Place Date
2013 2:43.68 Novi Sad 19 JAN

60 Metres Hurdles

Performance Place Date
2013 8.49 Novi Sad 19 JAN

High Jump

Performance Place Date
2013 1.78 Novi Sad 19 JAN

Long Jump

Performance Wind Place Date
2017 7.24 Beograd (Kombank Arena) 05 MAR
2016 7.07 Portland (Oregon Convention Center), OR 18 MAR
2015 6.98 Praha (O2 Arena) 07 MAR
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 Csárnok) 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

Performance Place Date
2013 12.40 Novi Sad 19 JAN


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 (Sidi Youssef Ben Ali) 13 JUL 2005

Honours - Long Jump

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
IAAF World Championships London 2017 4 6.96 +0.1 London (Olympic Stadium) 11 AUG 2017
The XXXI Olympic Games 3 7.08 +0.6 Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico) 17 AUG 2016
IAAF World Indoor Championships 2 7.07 Portland (Oregon Convention Center), OR 18 MAR 2016
15th IAAF World Championships 3 7.01 +0.8 Beijing (National Stadium) 28 AUG 2015
2nd IAAF Continental Cup 2014 2 6.56 -0.1 Marrakech (Le Grande Stade) 14 SEP 2014
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 10 6.35 +0.9 London (Olympic Stadium) 08 AUG 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics q1 DNS Daegu (DS) 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 (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak) 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 (Sidi Youssef Ben Ali) 16 JUL 2005

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Updated 9 September 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. The 24-year-old, 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 Marrakech, 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, in 2014, a bronze medal in the IAAF World Indoor Championships and a silver at the Zürich European Championships.


The popular Serbian also set an indoor national record at the Balkan Championships in February, 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, where she uncharacteristically underperformed, jumping only 6.30 in qualifying.


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 recognised as a role model and I am so happy when I come to a stadium and see more and more children there.”


If 2013 was a success, 2014 has been even better, although that there have been minor disappointments along the way. The year started well with her national indoor record in February and Spanovic headed to Sopot for the IAAF World Indoor Championships with gold on her mind.

“I went there as a person who probably should win the gold medal, but the day of the final, things didn’t go well,” she says. “I had trouble with my take off and my landing and in the end I finished third. My result was worse than I expected. I expected to jump over 7 metres because 2 weeks before I jumped 6.92, so I wanted to jump even further at the World Championships. I didn’t make it, but in the end I’m satisfied, because it’s my second big medal, so I’m happy.”


That satisfaction continued, as the outdoor season began as the indoors had ended – with big jumps and a high level of consistency.

“The season has been perfect. I had a pretty good indoor season and we’ve moved on from that result. I finished with 6.92 indoors and started outdoors with 6.85 and my second Diamond League competition was 6.88, which was a world leading result. I haven’t improved on that mark, but I have a medal from the European Championships.”


Indeed, the only item missing from Spanovic’s 2014 record is the elusive 7 metre jump that she has been chasing all year.

“I feel that I am close to 7m,” she reveals. “I was close at the Europeans, but I was far from the board because I had some troubles with the wind, but I am ready for 7m and I think it’s just a question of the day that I jump it.”


That could come as soon as the IAAF Continental Cup, which is high on the Serb’s list of priorities, following victory at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zürich, which saw her narrowly miss out on taking the overall title.

“I would like to be in the first three at the Continental Cup. I want to be the best and it’s a very important competition for me. It’s my first one and I’m very satisfied with the season. I’m very happy that I’m going to be there, jumping for the European team.”


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 specialised 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): 6.88 (2014)

Long Jump (Indoor): 6.92 (2014)


Yearly Progression

Long Jump:

2004 – 5.91; 2005 – 6.43 NJR; 2006 – 6.38 (6.48i); 2007 – 6.41 (6.53i NR);, 2008 – 6.65 NJR; 2009 – 6.71 NR; 2010 – 6.78 NR;  2011 – 6.71 (6.74w); 2012 – 6.64; 2013 – 6.82 NR;  2014 – 6.88 NR (6.92i NR)


Career Highlights

2005   qualifying   IAAF World Youth Championships (Marrakech)       5.97

2005   heats         IAAF World Youth Championships (Marrakech)       12.28 (100m)

2006   1st           Serbian Junior Championships (Kragujevac)            6.28

2006   1st           Serbian Championships (Novi Sad)                         6.18

2006   7th          IAAF World Junior Championships (Beijing)              6.23

2007   18q          European Indoor Championships (Birmingham)       6.18

2007   1st          Serbian Junior Championships (Senta)                     6.36

2007   2nd        IAAF World Youth Championships (Ostrava)               6.41

2007   5th         European Junior Championships (Hengelo)                6.22

2007   2nd        European Youth Olympic Festival (Belgrade)               6.20

2008   1st          Serbian Championships (Novi Sad)                           6.45

2008   1st          Serbian Junior Championships (Senta)                      6.65

2008   1st         IAAF World Junior Championships (Bydgoszcz)           6.61

2008   30q       Olympic Games (Beijing)                                           6.30

2009   1st        Serbian Junior Championships (Novi Sad)                   6.47

2009   1st        Universiade (Beograd)                                                6.64

2009   2nd       European Junior Championships  (Novi Sad)                6.71

2010   1st        European Team Ch. – 2nd League (Beograd)               6.78

2010   8th        European Championships (Barcelona)                         6.60

2011   2nd       European Under 23 Championships (Ostrava)              6.74

2011   1st        Serbian Championships (Kragujevac)                         6.39

2012   1st        Serbian Championships (Novi Sad)                            6.50

2012   14 q     European Championships (Helsinki)                             6.33

2012   11th     Olympic Games (London)                                           6.35

2013   1st        Serbian Indoor Championships                                   6.65

2013   5th        European Indoor Championships (Göteborg)              6.68

2013   3rd        IAAF World Championships (Moscow)                        6.82

2014   3rd        IAAF World Indoor Championships (Sopot)                 6.77

2014   2nd       European Championships (Zürich)                              6.81


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