Darya Klishina

Darya Klishina is a Russian long jumper who is as famous for her long jumping abilities as she is for her stunning good looks. The blonde-haired superstar of Russian track and field was the only Russian athlete who was cleared to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The ‘number one beauty of Russian sport’ (an unofficial title bestowed by a 2010 internet poll) is also used to things going against her. Let’s find out more about her.

Darya Klishina: All You Need to Know

When was Darya Klishina born?

Darya Klishina was born on January 15th, 1991. She was born in the town of Tver, Russian SFSR. 

When did Darya Klishina start playing sports?

At the age of eight, Darya Klishina began playing volleyball, and at thirteen changed her preference for athletics, specifically long jump, thanks to the influence of her father, a former athlete.

How was Darya Klishina’s childhood?

Darya Klishina during her childhood days

A World youth champion back in 2007, Klishina dreams of winning her first senior World Championships title in Moscow but is yet to compete at the Luzhniki stadium. Having the World Championships on home soil is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“When I heard that the World Championships were to be held in Moscow, my first thought was: ‘Oh great, I don’t need to travel anywhere to get acclimatised!’ And I was happy because finally all my friends and family will be able to come and support me.”

Klishina’s parents always look forward to welcoming her back to Tver, a small city 165km north-west of Moscow. Her father was once a high jumper with a PB of 2.15m, and her mother works in a local research and development centre. In the early years, they weren’t afraid to let their 13-year-old daughter go off to the capital alone to chase her sporting dreams.

“My parents gave me a lot of freedom,” says Klishina. “Even when I lived in Tver, we rarely saw each other. I would leave for school at 8.15 am, come back home, eat and do my homework; then take a bus across town alone, with a change on the way, to train at volleyball.

“I would come home around 9 pm, have a quick supper and go straight to bed. My parents always understood and approved of my choice to go into sports. But it must have been very hard for them to let me leave.”

Fast and sharp, Klishina had every chance of succeeding as a volleyball player had she not been spotted, aged 12, by the young coach Olga Shemigon at a regional track and field championship. From then on Shemigon, who had never coached a world-class star before, and Klishina, a small girl alone in a big and strange city, worked the ‘mine field’ together.

“At first, my parents called me several times a day to make sure I was okay. They wanted to know whether I’d eaten and got safely to my dorm, whether anyone was upsetting me. I was lucky Tver was not too far away, and I could go home at weekends. But I quickly made friends in Moscow, and when I finished school, I started renting a flat. Today, I can’t even imagine my life any different.”

Darya Klishina: Long Jump Career

Klishina achieved a jump of 7.03 metres on 26 June 2010, a Russian junior record, and the second best junior mark of all time. This jump was also the second best jump in the world that year, behind only her teammate Olga Kucherenko’s mark of 7.13 metres that year. Despite her dominance in the long jump in 2010, Klishina did not compete at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics.

In 2016, Klishina was approved to compete in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics through special permission granted by the IAAF. The IAAF had suspended the Russian national federation from competing due to breach of anti-doping rules, and Klishina was the only member of the athletics team allowed to compete. This decision was initially reversed on 13 August 2016. Klishina immediately appealed the decision, saying that she is “a clean athlete and have proved that already many times and beyond any doubt. Based in the US for three years now, I have been almost exclusively tested outside of the Anti-Doping system in question. I am falling victim to those who created a system of manipulating our beautiful sport and is guilty of using it for political purposes.” On 15 August 2016, the eve of the long jump event, Klishina’s appeal was upheld, once again allowing her to compete. She qualified for the long jump final, finishing ninth. This finish marked the first time in 20 years that a Russian woman failed to win a medal in the long jump.

Klishina competed as an authorized neutral athlete at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics in London. She won a silver medal with a season-best jump of 7.00 metres, finishing two centimeters behind American gold-medalist Brittney Reese.

What was Darya Klishina’s worst injury?

In 2011, Klishina injured her foot while stretching just before the World Championships final, and was forced to jump through the pain before surgery and a lengthy period of rehabilitation. The following summer, she was back in shape for the Russian Championship but failed to qualify for the London Olympics.

She repeatedly insisted in interviews that her spirits remained high, and that there would be more than one Olympic Games ahead of her. Now, six months on, as we are sitting down for a chat on the now cat-free staircase, Klishina admits: “Yes, I was feeling really bitter.”

“The worst thing was that I was actually in perfect shape,” says Klishina.

“My coach [Olga Shemigon] and I had worked really hard: and it was all for nothing in the end. The Russian Championship was my first competition of the summer.

“I didn’t have the chance to get into the rhythm of the competition, of the jumps… I’ve learnt my lesson. This winter I’ve jumped in competitions twice as much as usual. It’s been my own decision.”

How tall is Darya Klishina?

Darya Klishina is five feet 11 inches or 1.8 metres tall.

How was Darya Klishina’s encounter with Maria Sharapova?

Darya Klishina watching Maria Sharapova’s match during Wimbledon 2011

The history of Russian sport already counts a number of beautiful blondes who failed to secure any major wins, like tennis player Anna Kournikova. Staying with the tennis analogy, could Klishina be the next Maria Sharapova – known not only for her looks, but for her achievements as well?

“Maria and I met at Wimbledon a year ago,” says Klishina. The first thing I said was: “Wow, I didn’t expect you to be so tall! I don’t think I am short but it turned out that she is much taller than I am.” At 1.88m, four-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova is eight centimetres taller than Klishina.

How do fans behave around Darya Klishina?

Her status as a national beauty puts a lot of pressure on her and, even to training, Klishina is sporting cute plaits. In the social media world, every photograph gathers thousands of ‘likes’ and excited comments.

“I’m approached by all kinds of people, not just by men,” says Klishina. “Kids, girls, and even old grandmas on the street ask for autographs. Unless people are pushy, I don’t mind. On the contrary, I am pleased to have their support.”

Which agency represents Darya Klishina?

These days, Klishina is represented by IMG, an international marketing agency. Her main aim is not to get distracted by sponsorship deals but to keep training and competing. She knows that without her long jumps, Klishina risks becoming just another pretty model.

“All major photo shoots are scheduled in advance, two weeks minimum. My coach always has the last word. If you had wanted to shoot me a couple of hours earlier, I would have said ‘no’. I had important technical training. I can’t reschedule the training because of a photo shoot or an interview.”

Who is Darya Klishina’s role model?

At a recent master class, Klishina was the one queuing for the autograph of her role model, Galina Chistyakova. The 1989 World indoor Long Jump champion set the current World record of 7.52m when she was 25.

Klishina, like Chistyakova, has tasted success with a European indoor gold medal. In fact, Klishina first did so in Paris in 2011, and regained her title in Gothenburg in March this year.

Chistyakova believes that Darya Klishina is capable of beating her record, and one day jumping further than 7.52m.

“Darya is naturally built for long jumping: she is tall, slim, long legged,” says Chistyakova. “Physically she is very gifted, and capable of beating my World record. I haven’t studied Dasha’s jumping technique in detail but I think she can add to her length.

“It’s very important for Darya to be able to cope with all the attention surrounding her. I know how difficult it is to compete with the media chasing you. It’s important for her to aim high. People get excited that, at 22, Klishina achieved a personal record of 7.05m but at that age, I’d jumped 7.29m and that was after having my daughter Irina aged 20.”

Does Darya Klishina love cooking?

At 1.80m tall, Klishina weighs only 57kg. And it’s not just her genes. Klishina’s slim build is due to her passion for cooking.

“I like grocery shopping, coming home and inventing new dishes,” says Klishina. “When my friends visit me, I cook either meat or fish in the oven, and my favourite side is vegetables, stir-fried or baked. I’ve just bought a convection oven.

“As for puddings, I don’t care much for sponge cakes but I do love sweets and cheesecakes. I don’t follow a strict diet but I try to eat healthily. A packet of crisps for lunch isn’t for me, and I always try to buy a kilo of tangerines instead of sweets for at home.”

Was Darya Klishina offered money to become an escort?

Famous Russian long jumper Darya Klishina was offered over $200,000 per month to work as an escort. Here’s what Klishina said about the incident: “I was offered to be an escort. The message came from an unknown person from the US, in a direct message. It was several months ago … I was not expecting something like this. He just wrote a direct message to me on Instagram.

“I’m not somebody who swears at people and just answered him back with, ‘Sorry but I am not interested in this offer’.

“He then got back to me saying, ‘Wait, don’t you refuse straight away. You don’t even know the conditions and the amount I’m offering’.

“The sum was big, very big. It was over $200,000 per month.

“I then thought, ‘Do I really look like a woman who would agree to something like this?’”

Did Darya Klishina have an uncomfortable photo shoot when she was younger?

Anybody as stunning and gorgeous as Darya Klishina is bound to have spent some time in front of the camera. However, she had a bad experience when she was much younger. Speaking about the incident, she said: “I’m happy with my body, I have nothing to be ashamed of, but that photo session was a little bit too much for me.”

Klishina went on to add that when asked to take some her clothes off she “felt uncomfortable”.

Who was the only Russian track and field athlete to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics?

Darya Klishina, the only Russian track and field athlete cleared to compete at Rio 2016. She wasn’t allowed to represent Russia and had to participate as a neutral athlete. Darya Klishina, who missed the recent International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships through injury, told Russia’s official state news agency TASS that the nation’s situation was “not very good”.

Her pessimism follows allegations Russia tampered with data from the Moscow Laboratory, handed to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) earlier this year, fuelling fears the country will be banned from Tokyo 2020.

WADA has given Russia’s Sports Ministry and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) until tomorrow to explain the “inconsistencies” it uncovered in the data.

Russia will have to address the differences between the Laboratory Information Management System database provided by a whistleblower in October 2017 and the version WADA extracted from the facility earlier this year.

Compliance Review Committee chairman Jonathan Taylor said a team of forensic experts, who analysed the data, could find no “innocent reason” for the inconsistencies, thought to include the deletion of positive test results.

If deliberate manipulation is proven, RUSADA could be declared non-compliant by WADA – a sanction which would trigger a range of punishments, including a ban from sending athletes to Tokyo 2020.

Any ban would have to be approved by the WADA Executive Committee, half of which comprises International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other officials from the sports movement, who have previously been against a blanket suspension from the Games.

Klishina said she was fearful there would be a repeat of the lead-up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, dominated by the Russian doping scandal.

The IOC opted not to impose a blanket ban on Russian athletes at Rio 2016 following state-sponsored doping revelations in the McLaren Report and left it up to International Federations to decide on the extent of the nation’s participation.

The 28-year-old long jumper, who won World Championships silver in 2017, said she was hopeful Russians who “have been cleared for competitions at present” would be able to compete under the country’s flag at Tokyo 2020. Here’s what Darya Klishina had to say about the issue:

“I wouldn’t like the situation of Rio 2016 to repeat itself during the coming Olympic year, I hope this wouldn’t happen, but media forecasts look pessimistic so far. Everyone still hopes for the better, but the situation shows that our position is not very good. I hope that participation will be allowed at least to those who have been cleared for competitions at present, that they would have a chance to compete under the Russian flag. But we can only wait.”

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