Every so often in sport, an athlete comes along with a level of talent so otherworldly, and a biological composition so perfectly suited to an event, that it seems, as the old cliche goes, they were simply born to do it.
Yulimar Rojas is that kind of athlete. When she takes to the triple jump runway the Venezuelan, who stands at 1.92m, holds thousands of fans captive in her grasp – her speed, power and astonishing elasticity offering up the promise of something ridiculous, something absurd, as she bounces off the board and bounds towards the sand.
On the final day of the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22, that’s exactly what occurred, Rojas setting an outright world record with her 15.74m* in the sixth round.
Her closest rival was a full metre behind.
That sense of timing, showmanship and electrifying entertainment has become Rojas’s trademark. She did the same in Tokyo, saving her best for the final round, where she smashed the world record with 15.67m.
So, what is it about saving her best for last?
“I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t know,” she says. “It didn’t feel any different, but it is the jump for glory. Maybe one day I’ll be known as ‘the girl of the sixth jump’.”
She’s 26 now, and Rojas has already done it all, won it all. What’s left? One specific number.
“I was born to jump 16 metres,” she says. “This is what inspires me to inspire others to achieve their dreams, and help athletics remain the best sport in the world.”