Mastering Compartmentalization: Yulimar Rojas’ Journey to Olympic Glory

The Skill of Compartmentalization: Yulimar Rojas Focuses on the Positives in Tumultuous 2020

Yulimar Rojas, the reigning world champion and record-holder in the triple jump, has mastered the art of compartmentalization – the ability to block out distractions and focus solely on the task at hand. This skill served her well on a memorable Friday night in February, when she produced the second-biggest jump in history with a leap of 15.43m at the World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid.

Rojas’ remarkable performance earned her the Female Athlete of the Year award at the recent World Athletics Awards. When reflecting on the tumultuous year that was 2020, the 25-year-old Venezuelan athlete chose to selectively remember the positives. “What I want to remember of 2020 is only the good things,” she said. “By remembering only the good things, it’ll help me to focus better for 2021.

And Rojas has big ambitions for the year ahead, with the Olympics being the primary focus. However, her success will not be defined solely by medals, but also by measurements. She has her sights set on two specific distances: 15.50m, which she believes she can achieve, and an even more ambitious goal – becoming the first woman to jump 16 meters, a feat that she feels she has the ability to accomplish.

Despite the setbacks of 2020, including the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, Rojas remains confident that 2021 will bring even greater joys. “I honestly believe if there hadn’t been the lockdown and the pandemic I would now be celebrating an Olympic medal, a better performance than 15.43m,” she said. “But I’m an athlete who always wants more, and despite what happened in 2020, I’m confident 2021 will bring more joys and I’ll find myself in even better shape.

Rojas’ coach, the legendary Cuban long jumper Ivan Pedroso, has played a pivotal role in her development. Together, they have formed a formidable team, with Rojas winning two consecutive world indoor and outdoor titles under Pedroso’s guidance. The athlete-coach relationship extends beyond just the technical aspects of the sport, with Pedroso serving as a father figure and mentor to Rojas.

As Rojas prepares to return to Spain to commence training for the upcoming season, she is determined to be physically and mentally at her best. “I need to be psychologically and physically at the very best of my shape, to train at 100 per cent and compete at 100 per cent,” she said. With her unwavering focus and the support of her coach, Rojas is well-poised to achieve her lofty goals, including the elusive Olympic gold and the world record of 15.50m.

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