Education: National University of Physical Education and Sports
Profession: High jump athlete
Did you know? She has a ritual of stepping from the bed with her left leg in the morning, as that’s the leg she pushes from when high jumping.
Yuliya Levchenko is one of the most promising athletes in Ukraine.
She achieved her first big victory at 16 when she won a gold medal in high jumps at the Youth Olympic Games. Just three years later, Levchenko was among top adult athletes when she won silver at the 2017 World Championship.
Levchenko was reportedly born in Bakhmut, a city in Donetsk Oblast. As a child, she was drawn to many occupations, including journalism, medicine and law. But there was nothing she enjoyed more than physical training.
Levchenko’s gym teacher noticed her natural talent and signed her up for athletics classes when she was 13.
After only a week of training, much to everyone’s surprise, she managed to win an athletics competition in Kyiv.
After her victorious performance at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China, Levchenko continued to gain momentum. In the following years, she won bronze at the 2016 U20 World Athletics Championship and another bronze at the 2017 European Indoor Athletics Championship.
Her silver medal at the 2017 World Championship was a big sensation. There, Levchenko set her personal record with a 2.01-meter result. The current record among women is 2.09 meters.
After that, the athlete continued to collect prizes including the gold at the 2018 European Team Championships.
Her road to success was complicated by injuries. Levchenko broke her big toe twice at 15. The period was so difficult, she even thought about quitting sport.
“You’re just getting in shape, just starting to show (high) results, and then everything falls apart,” she told the 1+1 TV channel. “I was thinking maybe I’m not meant for it, maybe it’s a sign.”
But Levchenko didn’t give up. Today she spends up to three hours a day in the gym, five days a week.
And her hard work paid off: The athlete now ranks third in the women’s high jump rating, according to the World Athletics platform. But she says there’s no reason to relax, as the competition among Ukrainian athletes is fierce, pushing her to continue getting better.
“Competition motivates, it constantly keeps you in shape,” she said in an interview with Red Bull.
But while she aims to reach goals, Levchenko doesn’t lose sleep over worrying about results. Instead, she’s simply enjoying the moment, and that’s her success formula, she says.
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