Nadezhda Skardino: not limited by past achievements

We can learn an important quality from one of the most cheerful girls on the national biathlon team: never give up — regardless of difficulties. Keep fighting… and smiling
By Igor Grishin

The low season is no time for rest — especially in an Olympic year. Do you feel that summer training influences winter results?
I feel this way before each new season. After all, your results in winter depend on training in summer. However, during an Olympic year, you are more responsible. You prepare for it for four years. The Olympic Games represent the most important event for an athlete.

Are you nervous?
Not yet. Everything has its time. We train to a standard regime. During the low season, we go to new places to train, which is interesting! We’ve been to Kazakhstan (she says smiling) — it was a good opportunity.

Last season was good for you, producing the best results of your career. After your third place at the World Cup in Pokljuka, fans are pinning all their Olympic hopes on you …
I think that each biathlete on our national team is expected to win an Olympic medal — regardless of past performance. It’s true that all athletes should set the highest goals for themselves. You’d never win otherwise. Fans already write that they are expecting medals from me, which is nice.

In the past, I’ve had the chance to claim a World Cup win. At the World Championship in 2011, in Khanty-Mansiysk, in the individual race, I came fourth. Certainly, I realised that I was capable of doing more. If I managed not to miss any shots, skied well and kept in good health, I’d achieve a good result.

So you aspire to success?
Yes! If you don’t aspire to win, why bother to train! I’m not limited by my past achievements; the possibilities are endless so I hope to improve my results.

Last season, you were among the best biathlete markswomen. Are you still on form?
Anything can happen in training (smiles) and we all have bad days. I can’t boast of never missing the target and nor can any other biathlete. When I miss, I do worry but I set my heart on my goal and try to correct my mistakes. I really try to do my best. This year, I decided to put more emphasis on speedier shooting as I realised that I lagged behind my competitors in this area by about ten seconds. I will try to combine accuracy and speed; I very much hope that I can manage it. If other biathletes can shoot quickly and precisely why can’t I do the same? I’m working on this. Watch and see!

So you plan to do your ultimate best in February, during the Olympic Games in Sochi.
Yes. My trainers are going to slightly alter my training in preparation for the Olympic Games in 2014. I hope that we’ll be successful. I very much want to show good results — not just at the beginning of the season but at the moment when they are most needed.
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