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Olga Podchufarova: “I have no need to be in rush”

One of the most talented junior sportsmen of Russia Olga Podchufarova is having her second training camp with the national women’s team A. could not ignore the sportsman, who won three gold medals at the world biathlon summer championship and jumped from the junior training camps to the national team. In the interview to the RBU official site, smiling Olga talked about transfer from ballet to biathlon, first impression from the main team and goals for a season.

— Olga, your appearance at the national team’s training camp in Muonio surprised many people. What do you think about this turn of events?

— Perhaps it surprised me a little bit, but I have already had such sudden changes in my life. Four years ago, I started with biathlon and came to my personal coach. I was 16 back then – I think that it is quite late for a start. I cannot say that everything was perfect in biathlon from the very beginning, but important events happened to me. After two years in biathlon, I was invited to the junior team. People read protocols of the races and asked: “Podchufarova? Who is she?” After a year in the junior team, I was invited to the main team.

— It is a big step forward to be a part of the main team. Do you think that it is enough for now, or you want more?

— Now I am satisfied with everything. I think that for my age group it is more than enough to train with the national team! I still have a year in juniors. And I already have an opportunity to train with the strongest biathletes of our country, to watch them and gain experience.

— Is not it frightening to be with so experienced and titled sportsmen?

— No! I am also not bad! (smiles) All the sportsmen in the team are adults, and no one glowers at me. From the first day it went normally. In Finland, I lived in one room with Ekaterina Shumilova, and in Bruksvallarna – with Ekaterina Glazurina and Krisina Smirnova. Everything is okay. I need to watch carefully all the sportsmen – there is no sense to wait that someone comes to me and start giving advices.

— Many people think that it is too early to involve you to the training of the national team, to avoid the overtraining. What do you think about your future?

— I hardly can know anything about my future (smiles). I know my steps for the nearest future, but after that, everything is unclear.

— Are there any moments, which really surprised you in the adults’ team? Were not you afraid of the Pichler’s loads?

— There was nothing like it. The whole summer I spent with the junior team. I do not know what my condition would be if I did the same work as the national team for the whole summer. I think my reaction for the loads is adequate. But the loads are different for me due to my ages. I train less. The coaches do not demand the 100% efficiency from me.

— How did Wolfgang Pichler meet you?

— Absolutely normal. I arrived and he asked me what I was doing before this training camp. I missed the training camp of the junior team in Kislovodsk, but with my personal coach I had a 10–day training camp in Ostrov. The coaches asked about my condition and mood. Nothing new.

— Did you have an impression that the coaches in the national team are tougher than those in the junior team?

— I can feel that the sportsmen are more independent. The coaches set directions, and you do everything by yourself. In the junior team, coaches control you, almost every your step. And here the level of sportsmen is so high, that there is no need for it. Everyone knows what to do.

— Your biathlon story is quite untypical. You came to biathlon not from cross-country skiing as most of the sportsmen, but from ballroom dances.

— When I was in the first grade, I started visiting a dance school. I cannot say it was something serious. I continued until the 8th grade. Before biathlon, I have never done any cyclical sports, but during the sport lessons, Olga was the best (smiles). Sometimes I even outran track and field athletes. Perhaps I have proper qualities.

— How did it happen that you started with biathlon only at 16?

— I always had a good shape. When I was a child, the school teacher offered my parents to send me to a cross-country skiing section. I always was good in skiing in school. But the skiing training took place far from our home, and my parents were not ready for it. They thought that dances are the best option for a girl. I even participated in some tournaments.

— This is a Cinderella story! Were you turned to a biathlete by a kind fairy?

— This all happened in school. In the 9th grade, I was sent to some competition and needed to ski 3 kilometers. The girls who trained with my future coach also participated. I ran and then realized that I won over them (smiles). I thought why do not I try myself in biathlon, if I win. I went to my coach. I always liked to watch biathlon on TV.

— Will you be okay if you cannot stay in the national team this year?

— Of course. Why should I be in rush? My main tournaments this year are junior world championship and European championship. I do not want to lose at these starts like last year. Because of my trauma I could not show a good performance.

— We have heard about those two falls at the European championship. Could you comment what happened then?

— At the junior European championship, I was leading after a last shooting. I ran and then almost stopped. I had a wrong tactic at the last uphill, and my legs were so tired. The turns were narrow there, and I felt two times. I finished and could not understand what had happened. I was shocked! This was a main start of the season. People said that I was really close to the third place. But I did not even think about it. It would even be more frustrating. I hoped that it would all pass soon and I would run again. But because of this trauma I could not walk for a whole month. This time I studied, closed a session in university.

— You said you watched biathlon on TV. Where there people you admired?

— To say the truth I do not remember. I always supported the Russian team. I remember that I supported Dmitry Yaroshenko, when he was second in the total. It was always interesting to watch the men’s races. Now I watch all of them, of course. But I did not have idols. I always supported Russians. 

RBU Media Office