Latvian long jumper earns gold, makes history in European championships

The fourth time was the charm for Latvian long jumper Ineta Radēviča, who scored big July 28 during the 20th European Athletic Championships in Spain, leaping to a new personal best and earning a gold medal for her country.

It is the first gold medal for a Latvian woman in the championships, which are held every four years, and the first medal overall for Latvia in this year’s competition. The championships started July 26 and continue until Aug. 1 in Barcelona.

Radēviča, 29, started strong in her first attempt, reaching 6.73 meters, the best performance among the 12 finalists in the women’s long jump event, according to results reported by European Athletics.

She maintained her top spot through the next two attempts, jumping 6.87 meters and 6.79 meters, respectively. Her personal best, 6.92 meters, came in her fourth attempt. It was matched by silver medalist Naide Gomes of Portugal.

Russia’s Olga Kucherenko, who won bronze in the event, also scored her best distance on her fourth attempt—6.84 meters.

Radēviča did not get a chance to improve her distance, fouling out in her fifth and sixth attempts.

Radēviča, who attended the University of Nebraska in the United States, competed in the long jump for Latvia during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

During the 2006 European Ahtletic Championships in Sweden, Latvia’s Staņislavs Olijars won gold in the 110-meter men’s hurdles event.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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