‘Fans send me Instagram messages asking for a date’: Meet Russian skiing beauty & world junior champ Veronika Stepanova
Russian cross-country skiing star Veronika Stepanova has established herself as one of the most talented athletes of her generation, having had a stunning season during which she claimed the world junior title.
The 20-year-old made her senior debut this year, finishing in the top 30 in the 30km race, where she managed to beat none other than the three-time Olympic winner from Sweden, Charlotte Kalla.
Stepanova performed well during the pre-Olympic winter season where, along with the world junior gold, she also scooped two bronze awards at the national championship, finishing third in the team sprint and relay race.
The skier said she could have entered the senior team, but decided to spend one more year at junior level at the advice of the president of the Russian Ski Association, Elena Vyalbe, who believed she needed to gain more competitive experience before entering the senior squad.
An active Instagram user, Stepanova said she often receives messages from fans, some of whom ask for personal meetings with skiing’s rising star.
“I have a lot of messages, including reactions, wishes. Sometimes I got messages like ‘Hi, let’s have a date,’” the skier explained, adding that she always turns down that kind of invitation, and stressing that she has a boyfriend.
“I ignore such invitations, or simply say, sorry, I have a boyfriend,” she added.
Next year, the immensely gifted athlete will vie for a spot on the national team, which will compete at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.