Back on the track: Vukicevic announces her comeback

Photo: Paal Sørensen / Wikimedia Commons Christina Vukicevic Demidov after winning the 100m hurdles in Diamond Leagues, Bislett Games, June 9, 2011.

Photo: Paal Sørensen / Wikimedia Commons
Christina Vukicevic Demidov after winning the 100m hurdles in Diamond Leagues, Bislett Games, June 9, 2011.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

Norway’s top female hurdler, Christina Vukicevic Demidov, is returning to the sport almost three years after her last competition. “I think I can be better than I was before,” declares the 27-year-old athlete of her comeback.

And that’s a bold statement, considering the success of her career. Vukicevic Demidov grew up training with her father, the athletics trainer Petar Vukicevic from Serbia. In her junior career, she won a gold medal at the European Youth Summer Olympic Festival in 2003 and the silver at the World Junior Championships in Athletics in 2006. She continued on to earn seven Norwegian national championships in the 100 meter hurdles and currently holds the Norwegian record in three events: indoor 60 meter hurdles (7.83 seconds), indoor 50 meter hurdles (6.81 seconds), and outdoor 100 meter hurdles (12.74 seconds).

But after an unsuccessful event at the 2012 European Championships, a foot injury due to Morton’s neuroma, and a lack of motivation to continue at the elite level, Vukicevic Demidov felt it was time to stop competing. In 2013, she first stopped training with her father and then announced the end of her career.

It seemed as though Vukicevic Demidov’s career really was over, but in September 2014 she started training again with the goal of returning to the track this summer.

“I lost the love for athletics for a few years, but in September last year it began to flourish again,” says Vukicevic Demidov. “In a way, I never really retired, just took a very long break. But now I know that I really do have the desire to do this. The drive was the only thing that was missing before,” she continues.

It has now been six years since she set her 100 meter hurdle record, but Vukicevic Demidov is confident that her recovered motivation will take her to the top again.

Her new relationship with the former sprinter Iren Vevatne Isaksen has been a major inspiration for her comeback. Vukicevic Demidov met Vevatne Isaksen when she moved to Bergen, and they quickly became friends.

“She has a totally insane love for training, and it rubbed off on me. She is a big part of why I’m back,” says Vukicevic Demidov of Vevatne Isaksen.

Initally, Petar Vukicevic wasn’t quite sure about his daughter’s decision to return to the sport. But after watching her recent training, he has decided to support her choice and help her train. Vukicevic Demidov admits that her break from training allowed the two of them to develop a normal father and daughter relationship and a more balanced life, and now she can look forward to training with him once again.

“Christina has kept very active the whole time, and that makes it easier for her now when she’s trying to get in the shape required to run hurdles. If you ask me, I think that she can do it,” he says.

Norges Friidrettsforbund’s head of sport Ronny Nilsen is another of Vukicevic Demidov’s loyal supporters. He believes her comeback will benefit both Vukicevic Demidov and Norwegian athletics as a whole.

Vukicevic Demidov will undoubtedly be training hard for the next couple of months as she prepares for the coming season. If everything goes well, Vukicevic Demidov hopes to represent Norway at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year.

This article originally appeared in the May 22, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.