Stefka Kostadinova
High Jump, People

Stefka Kostadinova Who?

Stefka Kostadinova, Women’s High Jump World Record Holder For 33 Years.

Stefka Kostadinova changed the women’s high jump in the 80’s and 90’s because she dominated the competitions. Furthermore, Kostadinova came from a country that already had a world record holder in the women’s high jump, Lyudmila Andonova.

The country is Bulgaria and this is high jump legend Stefka Kostadinova.

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Early Life

Stefka Kostadinova was born on March 25, 1965, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Young Stefka Kostadinova

Young Stefka Kostadinova

She liked athletics from an early age and attended the Plovdiv School of Sports.[1] In fact, Kostadinova became a high jump star at an early age because she set a world record for her young age group. As a teenager, she could high jump 6’6″ which is difficult for male competitors.[1]

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Stefka Kostadinova Career

Kostdadinova joined the international scene in 1985 when she won the world championship. Her list of accomplishments is huge because she won eight international competitions. Furthermore, she is the only Bulgarian in history awarded the Sports Oscar, according to BNR.[5]

Stefka Kostadinova

Stefka Kostadinova

Through her high jump career, Kostadinova set seven world records.[4]

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Amazingly, she jumped over 2 meters more than 197 times in her career; a feat unmatched by any other athlete so far.[1]

Kostadinova’s superhuman feat happened in Rome in 1987 when she high jumped 6’10¼” (2.09m). The height broke her own world record and stands today, 33 years later.

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Here is a video of Kostadinova’s record-breaking jump. Notice how she runs the curve and stays leaning at takeoff!

Competition

Two high jumpers, by the way, Kajsa Bergqvist and Blanka Vlasic have achieved a height within a ½” of Kostadinova’s record.

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Seems like there are always a number of jumpers in the vicinity and this year, Mariya Lasitskene is a threat to break the record.

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Personal Life: Stefka Kostadinova

Romantically, Kostadinova married her high jump coach, Nikolay Petrov, who guided Kostadinova to multiple victories.

Similarly, Petrov coached Kostadinova through all of her high jump success. Most noteworthy, Petrov and Kostadinova parented a son, Nikolay, just months before winning gold in the 1995 World Championships.

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In contrast, the two divorced in 1999. The same year, she officially put an end to her athletic career but she had not participated in any major sports competition since the World Indoors Championship in 1997.

A few years later in 2007, Kostadinova married her companion, Nikolai Popvasilev.[3])

Executive Career: Stefka Kostadinova

After retiring, Kostadinova started a career in sports administration. Furthermore, she has served as vice president of the Bulgarian Athletic Federation, vice president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee. She was deputy sports minister of Bulgaria from 2003 through 2005.

Additionally, On November 11, 2005, Kostadinova was elected president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee. She replaced Ivan Slavkov, who by the way, was expelled by the International Olympic Committee for violating its standards in ethics.[2]

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Recent ideas about wiping out old world records sit poorly with Kostadinova. As stated in 2017:

Kostadinova, who hates the idea, criticized proposals to wipe out athletics world records. The proposals are an attempt to regain public trust and clean up the sport’s image, tarnished by a series of doping problems.

Kostadinova, who is still the world record holder with a jump of 2.09 meters from the 1987 world championships in Rome, said on Wednesday the suggestion of expunging all existing records would be “unfair to all (athletes) who absolutely honestly reached the peak of their careers”.[6]

So to answer the question, Stefka Kostadinova Who? The answer is reigning women’s high jump world record holder and sitting president of the Bulgarian Olympic committee!

A determined sportsperson and a woman of sheer commitment, Kostadinova continues to be one of the most loved and respected athletes of her time.

Oh, and one more thing. Lot’s of athletes have come close to this record. When will it fall and is Mariya Lasitskene the athlete to do it?

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