Vlasic to forego Tokyo but still aiming for a comeback

Blanka Vlasic
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Croatia's Blanka Vlasic won medals at both the 2008 and 2016 Olympic Games in the high jump

Blanka Vlasic will forego any attempt to qualify for her fifth Olympic Games but the Croatian hasn’t called time on her venerable career just yet.

Now 36, Vlasic hasn’t competed since winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro due to a succession of Achilles tendon problems but the Croatian still harbours aspirations of returning to 2.00m-plus form in 2021.

Her coach and father Josko recently told Croatian media: “Blanka's condition is much better. The bone is no longer inflamed, the Achilles tendon is not yet well, but her general condition is fine and she is training. We estimate that continuous jumps over two meters are not a reality at this time.

“She will continue her career anyway, but now she does not want to sell her reputation and does not want to jump below two meters. We sent a letter to the Croatian Olympic Committee so that they could act on it.”

Vlasic was the most dominant high jumper on the women’s side in the late 2000s. The Croatian competed prolifically during her halcyon years, amassing a 29 competition win streak from 15 June 2007 which was famously snapped by Tia Hellebaut at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing where the Belgian edged out Vlasic on countback at 2.05m.

Vlasic won four world titles in total - two indoors and two outdoors - between 2007 and 2010. She was also crowned European outdoor champion in Barcelona in 2010 and remains second on the world all-time list with a 2.08m clearance which she set on home soil in Zagreb in 2009.

Vlasic also cleared 2.00m for the first time at the same venue in 2003, a feat she was to achieve a total of 106 times across the next twelve seasons.