Sex Sells: Blanka Vlašić Returns to Competition at the adidas Grand Prix

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May 24, 2013

There were two main press conferences on Friday in New York City in advance of Saturday’s adidas Grand Prix (NBC 1-3 pm Eastern). One with 800 world record holder David Rudisha and one with three of the top women’s field event stars of the meet, Olympic champions Jenn Suhr (2012 gold, also 2008 silver) and Brittney Reese (2012 gold, also 2009 and 2011 gold) and two-time world champion Blanka Vlašić. After each main press conference, there were breakout sessions with featured stars as well as others (including Ben True and Shannon Rowbury).

(Editor’s note: You can find more about Shannon Rowbury’s 2013 and what she thinks about Mary Cain mania here. We had a big sit down with David Rudisha’s coach Brother Colm O’Connell. That story is here

After the women’s main press conference, it became a mad house as the media scrambled to interview Vlašić. So much for American bias. The sexy Croat, who is known throughout the world for her not just her high jumping but also her looks and post-jump dances, had an absolute swarm of media around her compared to a trickle for Suhr and Reese as shown in the following pictures:


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Suhr's crowd

Suhr’s crowd

Brittney's crowd

Brittney’s crowd

Where's Blanka Vlašić? So many journalists it's hard to say

Where’s Blanka Vlašić? So many journalists it’s hard to say

Some of that is  understandable as this is Vlašić’s first competition in 20 plus months as she’s coming back from Achilles surgery, but don’t kid yourself, a huge part of this was related to her looks.  After all, she’s the only one of the three without an Olympic gold medal.

As for what the three field event stars said, you can view their opening statements and a bit more on the video below but Reeese said she’s excited to be in New York after PR’ing at 7.25m in Doha and thinks she’s in good shape for Moscow as a result.

Suhr, an upstate New York resident, said she’s always excited to compete in New York. The oft-injured Suhr is healthy and has been training well. She also said she’s thrilled meet organizers are taking the Millrose Games runway out to Icann stadium and putting it in front of the stands so the fans can watch the stellar women’s pole vault, which has six of the top seven in the world from last year, up close.

As for Vlašić, it was clear that tomorrow won’t be a normal meet for her:

“Hi, long time no see. You can imagine how excited and nervous, and everything – everything that I can think of I – I feel at this moment. I’m just happy that I’m here. I’m just happy that this break is over,” said Vlašić.

“It’s been a long time. I’m looking forward to the start of the second part of my career.”

When asked if she had a goal height in mind, Vlašić said the following, “No, I’m just grateful that I have another opportunity to jump, to compete. I realized (how) much I missed it.”

One of the funniest moments of the day came when a journalist said that he had missed her famous post-jump dances and asked if we’d get to see them again.

Vlašić got a lot of laughs when she deadpanned, “I had a lot of time to practice – you can expect some new moves.”

Vlašić then responded seriously, “This dancing thing comes naturally and really spontaneously. I don’t think about it. I don’t plan it. So if I’m happy then I’m dancing so whenever you see dancing that means I’ve done really well,” said  Vlašić before adding optimistically, “I also expect (to do) a lot of dancing this year.”

Four minutes of press conference video below. We embedded it to start where talks about her dance moves:

More: adidas Diamond League Friday Press Conference: 
*LRC Brother Colm O’Connell Talks David Rudisha Past, Present, and Future: Is David’s Best Running Ahead of Him?
 Miler Shannon Rowbury Confident Where She’s At, Talks About Mary Cain Phenomenon Previews:
*LRC Men’s Preview: David Rudisha Set To Shine Again As Hagos Gebrhiwet And Dejen Gebremeskel Prepare To Clash
*LRC Women’s Preview: Abeba Aregawi Makes Her US Debut As Americans Rowbury, Uceny, Grace Hope To Contend … Will Brenda Martinez Get Closer To 4:00?
*LRC 2013 adidas HS Boys Dream Mile Race Preview – Will A 5th American Prep Make History And Go Sub-4?

The 1:59:40 GOAT shirts are here
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