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Updated 27 July 2009
Yuliya KREVSUN, Ukraine (800m)
Born: 8 December 1980, Vinnytsya
Coach: Ihor Lishchynskyy
“Please, don’t ask me when I began my career,” Yuliya Krevsun said with a satisfied smile. “I daresay that I was born on the track!” Krevsun’s grandmother, Dina Moskvina, was a basketball player in the Russian town team of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Her father, Yuriy Gurtovenko, was a master class shooter. Krevsun’s mother and first coach, Militina Moskvina, was an 800m runner like her daughter (PB 2.07.0). That is why, one week after Yuliya Gurtovenko’s birth, she was taken to a stadium in her baby carriage.
“I grew up in stadiums and at training camps,” Krevsun recalled. “I hadn’t the choice of other sports. I ran and jumped from early childhood in my mother’s various training groups.” At the age of five, Yuliya was a participant in a big town race in Irpin (near Kiev) and won a prize as the youngest runner. When Krevsun was only seven, her grandmother presented her with an inscribed bowl which confirmed that she had achieved the 3rd youth sport rating (under the Ukrainian classification system, an athlete has to achieve certain results to obtain a grade – 3rd youth grade is the lowest, International Master Class the highest).
“This bowl was broken later but I glued together the fragments and I still keep my grandma’s present as one of my biggest trophies in athletics,” Krevsun said. “By the way, I began as a walker then tried 10km running. At the age of 13, I took 12th place in the Ukrainian U23 championships in 38.25.00. Only in 1997 did I decide to run the 800m.”
In 1997, Krevsun participated in the Olympic Youth Days in Portugal, clocking 2:10.0 at 800m and finishing third. But these were hard times in the family. She was brought up by her mother whose wages were so trifling that Yuliya had to work in the market. “I helped my mother all this time,” Krevsun recalled. “We sold fruit and vegetables all day and went to train late at night.” These were not the ideal circumstances for her to improve in athletics.
In January 1998, Krevsun’s mother accepted an offer to attend Donetsk Sport College as a coach and, with Yuliya attending as a pupil, they left their native city. They lived in a hostel where Yuliya met her future husband Serhiy Krevsun, a Master Class boxer and participant in the European Junior Championships.
In January 1999 Krevsun moved to more professional group coaching by Konstantyn Stepantsov and began to train with Ihor and Iryna Lishchynski. In August, she competed in the European Junior Championships 800m in Riga, Latvia. She finished 2nd in her heat but, due to a judging error, she was given third in the results. The Ukrainian team lodged an appeal and won, so Krevsun started in the Final and took the silver medal with a PB 2.03.81.
On 2 July, 2001 Krevsun finished second at the national Championships, in Kiev, with another PB (2.01.97) and reserved a ticket to the European U23 Championships, in Amsterdam. She reached the Final but was 5th in a slow and tactical race (2.04.23)
On 1 June 2002, in Kalamata, Greece, Krevsun fulfilled the standard of International Class level athlete (Ukrainian classification) with 2.00.49. One and a half months later she won the Ukrainian Championship, in Donetsk, for the first time. Selected for the European Championships in Munich, she finished 7th in her heat (2.08.04).
“2003-2004 were stagnant years,” Krevsun said. “I could not improve on my previous results. I was dissatisfied and decided to put an end to my athletics career. I wanted a quiet life, romantic dinners with my husband and a baby’s laugh in our home.” So, on 21 April 2005, her son, Danil, was born.
“Suddenly I felt a burst of energy and a big itch to come back on the track,” Krevsun said. “In June 2005 I began rehabilitation training and, in October, I went to the training camp with my little son. It was a very difficult period. I tried to get back into good shape but caring for a son took a lot of time. In July 2006 I lost the National Championships to Natalia Tobias (1500m runner) and decided to change something in my career.”
In September 2006, Krevsun moved to Ihor Lishchynskyy’s group and began to train with his wife Iryna (2007 World Championships bronze medalist at 1500m). “I was satisfied with my new training,” Krevsun said. “I felt great progress in the winter of 2007. We didn’t make special preparations for the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham but I went through the first round easily and finished 4th in the Semi-Final with a personal indoor record 2.01.04. It hurt but I was only at one hundredth outside the Final.”
In June 2007, Krevsun took the silver medal at the European Cup, in Munich, beaten by the experienced Svetlana Usovich, from Belarus. In July she broke two minutes for the first time to win the National Championships, in Donetsk, with 1.59.60. “The coach told me that I was in great shape but I believed him only at the beginning of August when I ran a PB of 52.45,” Krevsun added.
On 14 August Krevsun won the World University Games Final in Bangkok with a personal best 1.57.63, the world’s leading mark at the time. “I didn’t expect to run so quickly,” she said. “I was shocked by my result and felt great responsibility as the new world leader. But, after Bangkok, we went to the training camp in Korea and then to Osaka (for the World Championships). All this time, I trained without coaching assistance and I was a little confused because we were in another climate and time zone and I didn’t have the experience of what to do in such situation.”
Under pressure from being the 800m world leader, and after a long stay in Asia’s climate, Krevsun was unable to progress through the qualification round. She finished only 5th in her heat (2.02.45). But, two days later, Russian Svetlana Cherkasova, who also failed to reach the final, asked Krevsun to run a training race in the warm-up area to check their shape and to try to understand the cause of their bad performance in Japan. At this training race, Krevsun was beaten by Cherkasova but they clocked 1.58.1 and 1.58.4 respectively.
During the 2008 summer season Krevsun made her Golden League career debut in Berlin, where she finished 2nd (1.58.98) behind Pamela Jelimo. “I did not expect to be ahead of the World champion Janeth Jepkosgei (1:59.13),” Krevsun said. “Then I finished 4th in Oslo but was 3rd in Rome with a seasons best 1.58.75. So I had self-belief and confidence for the Olympics.”
On the Beijing track Yuliya looked great, wining her first round race with slow2:00.21 and finishing second in the Semi-Final with PB 1:57.32. “I looked forward to improve my PB in the Olympic Final but really I felt bit tired. Moreover the first lap in this race was too fast for me. I tried to keep up high speed but could not manage a finish kick. I finished 7th and clocked 1:58.73. It was a bad performance. To be competitive for Olympic medals I should run at least under 1:57.00. But I was not ready for such high results.”
As usual Krevsun didn’t compete during winter season 2009. “I don’t like indoor events at all,” Yuliya explains. “Indoor track is not my favorite because of the short stretches. They are not enough for me to pick up speed. Indeed I needed to take a little rest after my first Olympics.”
At the beginning of summer season 2009 Krevsun won the National Cup ahead of Tetiana Petlyuk, becoming the world leader with 1:59.16 and got her ticket for the first European Team Championships. In Leiria Yuliya confirmed her great shape finished first with new WL result 1:58.62.
“Certainly, I expect my best performance 2009 will be in Berlin. But this year we hadn’t the financial possibilities to make our usual preparation. We had to train on the outdated track of a little stadium located in Kremennaya town of Lugansk region instead of training session in the Swiss mountains. But I had very intensive and hard work so I’m sure that I’ll be able to improve my PB at World Athletics Championships in August.”
Krevsun has a little ritual before each race. On the start line she says to herself: “My Angel! You with me. Go forward and I’ll be following you.” (rus: ????? ???, ?? ?? ????! ?? - ??????, ? – ?? ?????.) Without knowing why, she introduced these words several years ago spontaneously and repeats them now before every race.
In 2007 Krevsun graduated from the University of Management and Administrative Department as manager of foreign-economic activity.
800m: 1.57.32 (2008)
800m: 1997: 2.10.0; 1998: - ; 1999: 2.03.81; 2000: 2.02.18; 2001: 2.01.97; 2002: 2.00.49; 2003: 2.01.08; 2004: 2.00.83; 2005: - ; 2006: 2.03.25; 2007: 1.57.63; 2008: 1.57.32; 2009: 1:58.62
1999 2nd European Junior Championships
2001 q European U23 Championships
2002 6th European Cup
2002 q European Championships
2007 SF European Indoor Championships
2007 2nd European Cup
2007 1st World University Games
2007 SF World Championships
2008 7th Olympic Games
2009 1st European Team Championships
Prepared by Liudmyla Iakusheva for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008.