Yargelis Savigne

Cuban-girl_mugCountry: Cuba
DOB: 11/13/1984
Club: Unattached
Events: Triple Jump
Height: 5 ft 5 in
Weight: 140 lb
Personal Best(s): 15.28m (Osaka, 2007)

She is known for her eye-catching knee-high socks and fashionable hairdos. Like many of her English-speaking Caribbean counterparts, she took up running when she was 11 years old but quickly moved to the jumps, learning the triple jump but initially focusing on the long jump.

The young fashionista won the Cuban National Junior Championships in 2001, the Caribbean and Central American Championships in 2002, and in 2003 briefly held the Cuban junior long jump record (6.63m/21ft.-9in). Acting on her coach’s suggestion that she take up triple jump because there was a shortage of long jump competitions on the European circuit in 2005, she used only a 9-step approach and placed second in her initial competition with14.12m/46t-4in). She then won in a subsequent meet with an 11-step approach (14.56m/47ft.-9¼in).

Savigne’s international breakthrough came in 2005, when she competed in both the triple and long jumps at the Helsinki World Championships and won silver and finished fourth, respectively. (6.99m/22ft.-11¼in) She continued her good form to place third at the World Athletics Final with 14.81m.

Two years later, at the 2007 Worlds, Savigne’s big break came when she improved on her Helsinki silver with 15.28 m. A year later at the 2008 World Indoor Championships, she took gold with 15.05m on her final attempt, even though she did not compete for a month prior to the Championships because she had pulled a hamstring muscle.

In Beijing, Savigne was fifth in the Olympic triple jump but failed to reach the final of the long jump.

By 2009, she was the top female triple jumper, for although Russia’s Nadezhda Alekhina had the best jump that year at 15.14m, 49ft.-8in, the Cuban owned the remainder of the year’s top ten. She also won her second consecutive World Outdoor Championships title with a 14.95/49ft. -¾in. leap in Berlin. In that competition, the fierce competitor registered the top three jumps.

Savigne, whose bears the family nickname “Yayi,” is managed by 1992 Olympic high jump gold medalist Javier Sotomayor.

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