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Croatian high jumper Vlasic retires after career full of medals

Croatia’s two-time world champion and double Olympic medallist Blanka Vlasic announced on Friday she was retiring after struggling with injuries for years.

Vlasic, 37, said in an open letter that since winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, “I have been trying to cure my injury, four years full of hope that I will once again stand in front of the bar and challenge myself.

“The following years brought countless rehabilitation treatments, hope and disappointment.”

Vlasic has long suffered from injuries to her Achilles tendon and heel and had to undergo frequent operations.

She said she let the decision to end her career “come naturally”.

“I knew that the time has come and I was completely peaceful” with it, she added.

Coached by her father Josko Vlasic, she made her first Olympic appearance in 2000 aged 16.

Five years later she underwent surgery of her thyroid gland, but she recovered to win silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Eight years later she won bronze in Rio.

Vlasic was world champion twice – in 2007 and 2009 – and was named World Athlete of the Year in 2010.

Her personal best of 2.08 metres puts her second on the all-time list behind the 2.09m leapt by world record holder Stefka Kostadinova of Bulgaria.

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