Ivana Spanovic is a world long jump bronze medallist both indoors and out. The charismatic Serbian ace gives us her words of wisdom.

1. Take risks

“A lot of hard work may not necessarily lead to success, but less work guarantees failure. In addition to your passion for the sport, it is all about risks that each of us take every day to follow our dreams.

“Belief and risk taking are the same for me. It doesn’t matter what you do, you have to believe in someone or something and be ready to give it your all.

“It is not about waiting for the perfect moment. It is about risking it all at any given moment and making it your perfect moment. You need to feel it in your bones.

“To go further you need to be honest with yourself. You need to be willing to cross new borders and be ready for failure. This is just an important experience to find out how far you can go.

“I risked my career by making the decision to compete at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow as I was going through serious health problems leading up to the championships. Nobody gave me a chance that I would even qualify, but I did. I went to Moscow without any expectations, I was just happy to be a participant. I risked it all and I won my first senior medal at a world event.

“That changed my life. I cannot imagine how I would feel today if I had not made that decision to compete in Moscow. I risked it all and it was worth it.”

Ivana Spanovic ()

Spanovic will defend her Prefontaine Classic title at the Eugene Diamond League meet next month

2. Be fearless

“During any athlete’s career it is normal that we cannot win every time, but each time you can learn a new lesson to help motivate and inspire to achieve new goals.

“Every experience is invaluable in the creation of big achievements. One failure does not make you a bad athlete, but one success makes you a very serious competitor.

“A fearless mind perceives risks as opportunities. When you take risks, sometimes you achieve a goal and sometimes not. No matter what, it is important that you give it your all and don’t spend the rest of your life regretting not taking opportunities that life presents.”

Ivana Spanovic ()

A 6.98m jump won Spanovic gold in this year's European Indoor Championships

3. Give something back

“I am very grateful to my parents and my coaches who taught me how to express myself through sport. I would be a very unhappy person if I didn’t have the chance to feel all the strong emotions and life’s lessons that I have experienced during my career.

“My success is someone's reason for a smile, tears, life decisions, and my duty is always to try to be the best I can not only be as an athlete, but as a person. I feel so enriched by how much my sport has given me.

“If you receive so much, you must be prepared to give back as well. It always feels special to spend time with kids from my club and I realise how small gestures can make them so happy. It can inspire them and you never know, one of them may go on to achieve more. I am always happy to share my experiences with other aspiring athletes.”