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World Cup, Canmore
2024-03-17 22:20 (CET)
Men 15 km Mass

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World Cup, Canmore
2024-03-17 22:20 (CET)
Men 15 km Mass

2008-01-13 12:24 |

Olena Petrova: " I wish to shoot during the hunting "

A week ago one of the most titled Ukrainian biathlonists Украина Olena Petrova officially finished her sports career. After the turning point for our skiers with a weapon on Olympic Games in Salt Lake City (2002), Olena Petrova became the only connection between two generations, the visual example of success for young female biathlonists in Ukrainian team.

In Ukraine, the country which doesn't have a lot of victories in winter sports, the title of silver medalist of White Olympics-1998 made it possible to be an idol among her teammates for a long time. This season is the first one when women team is starting without Petrova: the most titled biathlonist of Ukraine , who has 1 Olympic medal and 10 World Cups, has officially finished sport career.

"Shortly before Summer Championship of Europe in Tysovec, the President of Biathlon Federation in Ukraine Valeriy Brynzak was curious whether I would like to finish my sports career officially, - explained Olena Petrova. – Winter biathlon is closer to my spirit. I always imagined the end of my ski career – the honor lap with a flag in my hands. That's why I stopped my choice on the Cup of Ukraine."

A lot of sportsmen are leaving sports just right after Olympic Games. But after the Olympics in Turin I didn't want to finish my career because I felt the strength and the wish to compete. I wanted to make a surprise on the Championship of Planet or on stages of the World Cup , but I could do nothing. Certainly, if we were running out of talented sportsmen, I would stay to support the Ukrainian team. But we have people to represent Ukraine. And I need to think how to keep my health for my future kids.

- When did you start to think what you are going to do after finishing your career?
- Before the Games in Turin. I was thinking about the rest from a long-term amount of work, about travelling to different countries, not at a gallop as we do it during competitions, but to see all interesting things… I wanted to be alone, to stay out of communication with sportsmen in general… But it was not for a long term. I had a rest for a fortnight, but then I longed to the sport again. Here I'm watching how my ex-colleagues are having trainings and want to do the same… However I've made my final decision.

- It is hard to put an end in your sport career when sport was the biggest happiness for the whole life…
- I went in for sport in a rather of late age. One of my friends who were ski racing proposed me to go to a training with her. She described so brightly how it is interesting to ski, to go on competitions to different cities of Russia, that I agreed. But I didn't stay for a long time in skiing: cold and boring. It was in a 7th grade… And with biathlon I got acquainted when I was in a Medical College. One day during our physical Education I was noticed by a trainer of biathlon Anatoliy Bogdanov and proposed to try myself in shooting. I succeeded, so I stayed in biathlon. After finishing the college I came to Ukraine. I thought that it wouldn't be for a long time: I'll be going in for biathlon for a few years and then I will go back to my Motherland. But my instructor Roman Bondaruk told me: "Forget about that, you are the Ukrainian now!"

- Do you consider yourself to be a Ukrainian?
- Sure! Soon it's going to be half of life I lived in Ukraine. I‘ve had no thoughts about going back to Russia for almost ten years. Now my Motherland is Ukraine .

- What are the happiest memories that sport has left?
- Unforgettable memories about silver Olympic medal. Last hundreds of meters of distance I was running with my last strength and didn't hope for any "silver". And then the trainer on the side of the road was screaming that I'm going on "the medal". It was so hard; I didn't know where to take the strength to make it faster. The "second breath" opened on the last hill. I was flying like on the wings, tears were running from my eyes – from that incredible feeling that I am still be able to compete, that I will be the medalist of Olympic! I'm telling that now and my feelings are so strong like it happened just yesterday… After the finish I was like a sleep-walker. Everybody was saluting me, but I was still waiting that somebody from the "last echelon" will come with a better time and will take off this "silver" from me.

- How has did your life changed after this success?
- People recognized me on the street. I felt myself as a personality in the sport, even the celebrity. There are 10 rewards from World Cups in my collection, 4 – from Europe Championships, but the Olympic "silver" is the most valuable trophy for me.

- Where do you keep those rewards?
- At home. I have a "corner of glory" –a small bookcase, where cups and medals are. I will do something interesting when I move to my apartment in Kyiv. However, I haven't seen this at flat yet: a one room apartment was apportioned for me just this year.

- What competitions were the most disappointing for you?
- The Olympic Games in Salt Lake City were as a bad dream not just for me, but for all our team.

- On that Olympics you were carrying the flag that is considered to be a bad sign for sportsmen…
- That is the worth sign for an Olympic athlete. I thought that the flag should be carried by a man only… But if not to think about signs, the opening day of Olympics was really nervous for me. The leaders of our delegation could tell me earlier about that honorable engagement, so I wouldn't leave training and change my clothes for uniform as fast as I could. And the next day we had a contest.

- Are you satisfied with your career or think that you could do more?
- My sports life was pretty successful. During the last years I had a feeling that I could achieve more but permanent injuries prevented me to do that.

- Did you try to use biathlon skills in your non-sporting life?
- No – for now. It is not interesting for me to shoot in a shooting-gallery. I would like to shoot with a gun or to go on hunting. But men never invite me to hunt with them because they think that women's presence is a bad sign…

Translation by Maria Osolodkina,

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World Cup
# Name Score
1 VITTOZZI Lisa 1091
3 TANDREVOLD Ingrid Landmark 1044
4 BRAISAZ-BOUCHET Justine 1025
5 SIMON Julia 994
7 OEBERG Elvira Karin 829
8 VOIGT Vanessa 631
9 KNOTTEN Karoline Offigstad 629
10 HETTICH-WALZ Janina 543
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Norway  BOE Johannes Thingnes
Ukraine  MERKUSHYNA Oleksandra
Ukraine  DZHIMA Yuliia
Ukraine  DUDCHENKO Anton
Ukraine  MERKUSHYNA Anastasiya
France  SIMON Julia
Ukraine  BLASHKO Darya
Ukraine  PRYMA Artem
Ukraine  BILOSYUK Olena
Italy  WIERER Dorothea
Italy  VITTOZZI Lisa
Ukraine  KRYVONOS Anna
Sweden  OEBERG Hanna
Ukraine  TSYMBAL Bogdan