Tzengko gets her just dessert
Friends, family support and dulce de leche deliver motivational tailwinds to the gold medal winner Elina Tzengko (GRE) in the women’s javelin throw on the final day of YOG Buenos Aires 2018 athletics competition.
After winning she hugged her teammate and best friend of 12 years, Sofia Kessidi (GRE).
“We are besties,” said Kessidi, who came sixth in the women’s discus. “We train together, we work together, we do everything together.
“It’s very helpful because we know we have someone here. Even though our families are far away I know I have her and that’s enough for me. We weren’t in the same school in Greece, but in sport we got together.”
Sixteen-year-old Tzengko dominated the field with a combined 125.08m on the last day of YOG athletics - more than 10 metres further than her nearest rival, Juleisy Angulo (ECU).
She said of their celebratory final days in Buenos Aires: “We are going shopping and we will eat cake, like dulce de leche, and anything sweet, like croissants, chocolate, ice creams.
“Usually when we are home we don’t eat sweets because we are preparing for the competition and they’re not so good. But afterwards we’ll eat everything.”
Elsewhere in the javelin event, familial support played a big part in Skylar Ciccolini’s (USA) personal-best throw.
Her parents competed in the same event while studying at university and currently coach the 17-year-old, helping her from afar to overcome a disappointing performance in stage one where she managed to throw only 49.90m.
“My dad sent me a text before my competition,” she said. “Some words of advice because he’s not down here. I’d say that’s the biggest thing I take with me.
He told me if anyone can come back after a bad first day it’s me. And he always tells me that he loves me.Skylar Ciccolini USA
“He gave me some cues for throwing and he told me if anyone can come back after a bad first day it’s me. (And) he always tells me that he loves me.”
A late starter to the sport, Ciccolini could have played American football throughout her late teens; instead she followed in her parents’ footsteps.
“I didn’t pick up javelin until I was 15 and it happened when it happened, I wasn’t pushed,” she said. “I started out playing football for seven years. Someone asked me if I wanted to do it and I thought, ‘Sure, why not?’
“I never thought, ‘Girls don’t play football.’ It really worked for me and my personality.”