By Christina Katsantoni
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos 

#tentoglou #sports #olympics

As a child he adored Harry Potter and anime, as Japanese cartoons with expressive big eyes, cleverly crafted stories and - in some cases - the most unexpected superpowers are called in the West. Anime, in combination with electronic games and chess, which he plays on a regular basis, helped to shape his character, to practice his memory and concentration and ultimately to develop into a cool Miltos Tentoglou that we know today, an athlete who can leave the world's top athletes at second place just with a jump, without even celebrating while wondering, "What did I do?"

At the age of 24, the famous champion who grew up in Grevena, has already accomplished a lot of goals. He has -among other things- won an Olympic gold medal, a World and a European championship and he is the sixth top athlete in the history of the long jump (having in front of him athletes like Carl Lewis and Ivan Pedroso). He remains cool and confident that every person is very good at something, and things that other people are very good at are even more difficult or important. "I don’t think I have achieved something really outstanding", he concludes in a characteristic and cool way.

From music to track and field

In the track and field, specifically in the long jump, Miltos Tentoglou found what suited him, because it’s a solitary sport, something that, as he says, gives him the opportunity to understand his mistakes and be able to correct them. He ended up in the long jump, after first trying and being tested in different jumps and speed races.

For the sake of sports he left the music school, where he earned his first distinctions. He was one of the best in playing the bouzouki, while at the same time he played the piano and guitar and imagined a career in orchestras, following the path of music. Everything changed when he was about 15 years old. Vangelis Papanikos saw him doing his hobby, parkour and immediately recognised his great charisma by evaluating his physical skills, so he invited him to try out on the track and field. That was when he got into the dilemma of sports or music and history rewarded his final decision. 

Playing the bouzouki remains one of his great loves. He usually doesn’t play folk songs, but more artistic songs or even AC/DC. Did anyone say that Miltos Tentoglou is an ordinary guy?

Loving Sports

The first great result of his decision to get involved with sports came in 2016, when at the age of 17 he won the silver medal at the World Junior Championships. Then, he became the youngest Greek track and field athlete to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. In 2018, at the age of 18, he won the gold medal at the European Championships and the story continued with even greater success, with the most recent being the World Indoor Championships in March 2022 in Belgrade and the most brilliant Olympic gold medal in Tokyo in 2021.

The medal in the Olympics was won in the last jump, but he didn’t celebrate furiously. "I made a great effort and won the gold", he says, but he doesn’t skip to say that he wasn’t happy in winning against his injured opponent. Miltos Tentoglou wants to beat his top opponents when they are at their best. He admits that although training is sometimes a necessary thing for him, the day of the contest is his best. "I live for going to the games, to the contest; the game day kept me in sports and on track and field".

Mind, study and inspiration

Miltos Tentoglou considers his mind a great weapon for concentration and competitiveness, combined with a generally cool attitude towards life, which keeps him away from insecurity and fear. Study is also a useful tool for him to help him evolve. He has systematically studied and continues to study the top athletes in history, especially Ivan Pedroso, their technique, running, style and even their behavior. Another important factor in his development has been his relationship with his coach, Georgi Pomashki, which is always based on mutual trust.

During his presentation at the Tokyo Olympics, Miltos Tentoglou copied the move of Luffy, one of his favorite anime. He stands out because he is always ready to fight, whoever the opponent is. No fear, no insecurity. Because as the phrase that defines him - which is also of an anime character - says,: “Fight!" If you don’t fight, you can’t win".