Tatyana Lebedeva: triple jump to a million dollars


MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti sports commentator Mikhail Smirnov.) Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia won the jackpot of the IAAF Golden League.

This 29 year-old athlete from Sterlitamak in Bashkiria won the triple jump at the final sixth stage of the prestigious competition in Berlin on Sunday. Now she is going to receive gold ingots worth a million dollars at the Golden League finals in Monaco next weekend.

Tatyana has become the third Russian to have achieved such success in the seven years of the Golden League. Far out distancing Tatyana Kotova and Olga Yegorova, she was the only one to garner the jackpot because no other athlete managed to win all six stages that counted towards the million bucks.

By scoring this victory, Tatyana corrected the "historical injustice" at the Olympics in Athens a year ago. An obvious favorite, she was only third in the triple jump that is her favorite event. Having mustered all her willpower, she had to compete for the Olympic title in the long jump several days running. After winning the long-awaited Olympic gold, Tatyana admitted that it was in an event that was not her favorite. Yet was grateful to fate because otherwise after failure in her favorite triple jump she would have had to wait for another four years to have another go at the Olympics. At the same time, Tatyana was being accused of being greedy and blocking the way of her younger rivals by winning two disciplines at once.

This season Lebedeva had to respond to all these challenges of fate, and her performance proved to be convincing. Tatyana even passed up the world championships in Helsinki. Her reasoning was that she had won world competitions before but never the Golden League. Tatyana did not give her rivals a chance in Paris, Rome, Oslo, Zurich, Brussels, or Berlin.

Long before her victory at the Golden League, Tatyana decided

that if she won the million, she would give one tenth to kind people, for instance, to those at a Sterlitamak sports school where she had started her athletic career. But what will her husband and daughter, who are waiting for her in Volgograd, think of this decision? "Show me the money, honey!"

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