World Champion, Diamond League Champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh To Make Millrose Games Debut

By Chris Chavez

December 5, 2023

Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh will make her debut at the 116th Millrose Games on Sunday, Feb. 11 at The Armory in New York City.

Mahuchikh just wrapped up a stellar 2023 season in which the 21-year-old claimed gold in the women’s high jump at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest by clearing 2.01m on her second try. She completed her global outdoor medal set after earning a silver medal at the 2019 and 2022 World Championships and an Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo in 2021.

Mahuchikh also earned a gold medal at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia – which took place just weeks after fleeing her home in Dnipro due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She traveled by car for three days to make her way to the championships.

She has been training in Germany and Turkey within the past year. At 21 years old, she has been very vocal about using sport as a platform for promoting peace and awareness about how the war has devastated Ukraine.

In September, Mahuchikh cleared a world-leading 2.03m to win the women’s high jump at the Prefontaine Classic and defend her Diamond League trophy. Following the meet, she spent a few days in New York City to celebrate her 21st birthday.

The Millrose Games is the sixth stop on the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold calendar.

The women’s high jump returns to the Millrose Games schedule for the first time since 2019.

Livestream and television broadcast details will be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more Millrose Games athlete announcements as the pro fields come together.

Tickets to the 116th Millrose Games can be purchased online at millrosegames.org. For more information on all Armory Track events, visit armorytrack.com.

The following interview has been edited lightly for clarity and space. You can listen to the full interview with Yaroslava Mahuchikh on the CITIUS MAG Podcast – available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your shows.

Yaroslava MahuchikhYaroslava Mahuchikh

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

CITIUS MAG: We're chatting in December now. What is a high jumper doing in December to prepare for the Olympic year?

Yaroslava Mahuchikh: Today, I started jump sessions. It was my first training session since after the Diamond League final because I shoot to relax and recover. It's really a pleasure for me to jump now and prepare for the competition of indoor season. And of course next season is very important because of the Olympic Games.

CITIUS MAG: We have some special news to share. You will be competing at the 2024 Millrose Games in New York City – your first time. What's got you excited about this opportunity to do your job in one of your favorite cities?

Yaroslava Mahuchikh: In my childhood, New York was my dream to come visit and to walk around. I’ve been to New York three times and it will be my fourth now, but it will be my first time for competition. I'm looking forward to this competition because I like New York and it will be the winter season – so there will be very beautiful sights. I hope that lots of people come to support us because it's a really good experience, first time competing in New York.

Yaroslava MahuchikhYaroslava Mahuchikh

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

CITIUS MAG: You talked a little bit about how before you jump, you get excited and sometimes you get nervous. My favorite moment was the 2022 World Indoor Championships and the victory that you had there. Even though we see you competing at your best, how hard is it when you're not getting ready to compete, given everything that has been going on back home in Ukraine?

Yaroslava Mahuchikh: In the first few days (after the invasion in Feb. 2022), we didn't think about the World Championships. But after this, we were thinking how we could go to the World Championship because track and field is an area where you can talk, where you can show yourself and your country, so we'll go… When I came, I felt a lot of support from other athletes, especially from my team and from high jumpers like (Gianmarco) Tamberi…

And, of course, I should win the gold medal for my country because I wanted to give them some good news… and a gold medal is always good news.

At that time I thought that the gold medal [meant] more opportunities to talk with journalists but of course in my mind I have the situation going on in Ukraine. So it was really complicated for me to turn off this emotion and to be focused only on high jump. I'm really thankful to my coach because she said to me, ‘We come to show the results. We come for the gold medal. We come for our country – to show all people that we are strong and will fight in all areas.

Yaroslava MahuchikhYaroslava Mahuchikh

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

CITIUS MAG: A few months ago, someone asked you, “What are your goals for 2023?” And you said, “Not crying.” How did you do with that goal this year?

Yaroslava Mahuchikh: It was a really difficult situation because some terrible things happened – a lot of rocket attacks on the cities of Ukraine… Before the World Championships, I didn't read the news for three days. But before qualification, it was difficult because the rockets had just bombed a bus station, a ten minute walk to the railway station where my mom and sister were because they were going on the train to support me in the final (in Budapest). It was really difficult, but I felt that I should do it because it's my work. It's a better way for me to show my love for Ukrainian people.

CITIUS MAG: What are you most excited about for the Olympics next year and an opportunity to win a gold medal there?

Yaroslava Mahuchikh: I'm looking forward to this competition because it will be in Europe, in Paris – the City of Love. So I'm really looking forward to showing good results and enjoying the atmosphere of competition because it will be with fans, it will be with spectators and I know that a lot of tickets are selling, so it will be crowded. I want to feel it because the [last] Olympics were [during] COVID and I didn't feel the crowds. I didn't feel the atmosphere.

CITIUS MAG: When people watch the Olympics, a lot of people root for their own country. But people also root for stories. When you put on the Ukrainian uniform, there's going to be so many people who are rooting for you. What do you want those people who maybe didn't watch the World Championships or World Indoors to know about you and your story when you compete in Paris?

Yaroslava Mahuchikh: When there was the World Championships in the United States, a lot of people came to me and said ‘Our hearts are with you’ and supported us. And now, the story of the strong personalities of Ukraine and maybe a bit of the history of Ukraine, because not a lot of people know about Ukraine and what's happened before the 24th of February (2022). I want to show more about and talk about Ukraine’s history, food and more interesting things.

Previously announced Millrose Games stars: Josh Kerr to run the men’s two-mile

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.