Hanna Knyazyeva Minenko of Israel en route to a bronze medal in the women's triple jump at the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. Hanna Knyazyeva Minenko of Israel en route to a bronze medal in the women's triple jump at the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko of Israel en route to a bronze medal in the women's triple jump at the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images for BEGOC)

Olympic triple jumper Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko shares best advice she ever got

No longer an underdog, she knows expectations are high for a medal at Rio Games.

After winning the silver medal at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko is a favorite to medal this summer at the Rio Olympics.

The 26-year-old Knyazyeva-Minenko was born in the Ukraine and says she always liked sports and was encouraged by her parents and teachers. She started running and jumping early on, but soon realized she wanted to focus on the triple jump.

Shortly after the London Olympics, when she came in fourth, she met and married former Israeli decathlon star Anatoly Minenko. Winning the silver in the World Championships along with a bronze in the team event in the 2015 European Championships have shown that there’s still spring in her step.

From The Grapevine caught up with Knyazyeva-Minenko to find out how she's getting along in her new country, her most proud sporting moment to date and her Olympic expectations.

Which of your medals are you most proud of to date?

The silver at the World Championships in Beijing 2015 – being second in the world.

This will be your second Olympics but your first for Israel – do you feel different in the lead-up to the games?

Yes, for many reasons. In London, I was the underdog. Now people expect me to win a medal. I represent Israel in pride and have a lot of pressure of performing.

After moving to Israel, what changes have you made in your physical or mental routine to stay on top in this new environment?

I had to adapt to a new country, new home, new coach and sporting environment. But I love it here and I’ve adapted well.

Who have you leaned on primarily for support since your move to Israel?

First and foremost my husband. And also we have a family that adopted us and helps. In addition, my coach of course, whom I work with every day. As a whole, people in Israel are very warm and kind, which is great.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Stay away from negative people.

You’re being hailed as one of Israel’s best hopes for a medal in Rio; what are your expectations?

To be healthy and fit for the games. All the rest will follow.

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