Greece is celebrating its second medal at the Tokyo Olympics – gold as well – with Miltos Tentoglou climbing to the first step of the podium for the long jump.
The Greek athlete “flew” to 8.41 m leaving behind Cubans Echavaria and Maso, to give Greece the second gold medal, after that of Stefanos Douskos in single skull.
Who is Miltos Tentoglou?
Miltos Tentoglou was born in Grevena on March 18, 1998, where he spent his childhood.
He started competing in track, relatively late – at the age of 15 – and by accident . But, fortunately, the young man from Grevena fell into good hands. His first coach, Vangelis Papanikos, discovered him watching him parkour in his hometown stadium.
He went there with his friends, with whom they improvised games and videotaped them. Then they uploaded the videos on the Internet. Mr. Papanikos noticed that one of the young people – Miltos – was an excellent jumper.
He persuaded him to try out his performance in the sandbox. On the very first day, he said to him: “You just enrolled in the Grevena Gymnastics Association as a long jumper”. During the first year he went to training just “for fun”.
He was an athlete, he liked athletics, but on the other hand, he hated commitments. Mr. Papanikos did not make the mistake of forcing him. He decided to take this sport seriously when, several months later, he won a silver medal in Thessaloniki, in the junior category.
Wearing Bermuda shorts and a wide T-shirt, he jumped 6.40 meters. He was excited because he managed to get on the podium without training. And then he became diligent. This happened in 2013-2014. Immediately afterwards his climb to the top began.
A career full of distinctions
His first great performances came in 2015. Within a few days he improved the national junior record. On June 6, 2015 he landed at 7.65 m and a few days later at the Panhellenic Junior Championship in Serres, he raised the record to 7.69 m. He thus won a place for the World Track and Field Championship held in Cali, Colombia (15- 19/7/2015), where he was ranked in 5th place, with a best jump of 7.66 m.
In Bydgoszcz, Poland at the 2016 Junior World Championships, at the age of 17, Tentoglou jumped 7.91m in his third attempt winning the silver medal. On May 28, 2016, with a jump of 8.19 m during the “Papaflessia” rally, he reached the cut offs for the Olympic Games.
He failed to qualify for the final of the 2016 Olympic Games. At the Rio Olympics, he jumped only 7.64 m. He also failed to achieve anything positive at the 2017 World Athletics Championships, apart from gaining experience.
In the Panhellenic Men’s Athletics Championship 2017 he won the gold medal with 8.30 m and a new national record in the under 20 category. A little later, came his first gold medal in a major event.
At the European K20 Championship held in Grosseto, he was ranked first with a best jump of 8.07 m. This was also his first big meet, in which he jumped over eight meters.
At the European Athletics Championships in 2018, he won the gold medal in the long jump with a jump of 8.25 m. This medal is the first gold in the long jump that Greece wins in European competitions. At the same time, M. Tentoglou stands out with this medal as the youngest Greek European track and field champion in history.
In the European Indoor Championships 2019 he won the gold medal in the long jump with the 8m. and 38 cm.
The top performance in the world
He set an individual record in the open track at a rally in Kallithea on May 26, 2021 with the second best performance of all time in Greece with 8.60 m. This jump is the best performance in the world for the year 2021.
At the 2021 European Indoor Championships, Miltos Tentoglou became European champion for the second consecutive time with a jump of 8.35 m.
Miltos Tentoglou, despite competing with an injury to his left knee, managed to jump to 8.04 m, succeeding in his first attempt in the qualifying round to qualify for the final of the race, where in his first attempt he scored 8.35m. This jump gave him the first place, leaving behind Sweden’s Thobias Montler who scored 8.31 m and the Finn Kristian Pulli who scored 8.24 m.
On July 9, 2021, he was ranked 1st in the Diamond League rally in Monaco in the long jump, jumping 8.21m and 8.24m.