ALMATY – Kazakh silver medalist in the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Yelena Khrustalyova, held a masters’ class with students from a specialised boarding school for athletically gifted children at Almaty’s Sunkar International Ski Jump Complex on Nov. 13.
While answering questions from young athletes who are making their first steps into professional sports, Khrustalyova said that she first started skiing at the age of three or four and at the age of five she was able to hold her own. For many years, Khrustalyoa was a mountain skier and finally decided to make the biathlon her mainstay. She discussed her first medals and competitions abroad, coaches, her parents, favourite colour, her studies, her great time at the Olympics and her preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“Two-time Olympic champion Olga Medvedtseva once said, ‘One, who has never been in my situation, cannot understand the people who want to do it again and again to experience the indescribable feeling of happiness’,” said Khrustalyova.
Professional sports, said the athlete, require four-hours of training twice a day, grueling exercises in the gym, cross-country races and roller skiing in the summer and ski racing in the winter. And of course, rifle shooting. With the Sochi Winter Olympics right around the corner, the intensity of her workouts has increased dramatically and Khrustalyova is intermittently training from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In Sochi, she intends to take part in all individual distances. It is very difficult to plan a victory because competition is increasing in the biathlon world every year. But her personal achievements coincide exactly with those assigned to Khrustalyova by the Agency for Sports and Physical Education of Kazakhstan.
After the meeting in the press centre, Khrustalyova, with her young friends, warmed-up in the sports’ complex, demonstrating a series of arm and leg exercises and organising a demo relay.