Russia’s ‘most beautiful’ Winter Olympian shares Beijing dreams
World junior skeleton champion Yulia Kanakina, who will compete on the Olympic track later this week, has said she will be satisfied if she manages to finish on the podium in Beijing.
Kanakina has been in solid form this season, claiming two podium spots and a fifth-place finish in the World Cup standings.
“We have been getting ready for the Games for quite a long time, much work has been done. I need to keep myself in good shape, both physical and psychological, till the beginning of the competition,” she told Sport24.
“Some people like to motivate me by saying ‘Yulia, the most important thing is to win.’
“I don’t need this kind of motivation. I need to tell myself, ‘Yulia, simply enjoy the competition, do your job, run fast, slide smoothly, don’t make sharp moves and then you will succeed.’”
Kanakina, who is making her Olympic debut in Beijing, said she has no complaints about constant PCR tests, underlining that she is ready to go through harsh Covid restrictions in pursuit of her Olympic medal goals.
“We all come to the Olympics for a reason. The ‘not winning, but taking part’ rule doesn’t work for us. Everyone will fight for the podium, including me,” the racer said.
The 26-year-old athlete follows other winter sports, showing support to teammates practicing figure skating, which gives her “aesthetic satisfaction.”
“It’s very interesting. I love watching figure skating, it brings me aesthetic satisfaction, this grace and power relax me at a certain point. Those tiny girls are doing unreal things! Kamila Valieva breaks her own records at every tournament, but the competition in women’s skating is insane.”
The skeleton stunner, who is dubbed one of the 'most beautiful' athletes on the Russian team, leads an active life on social media, sharing photos from competitions and vacations.
Kanakina said she wants to concentrate on charity after her retirement, and plans to open a shelter for homeless animals if she has enough money and patience to receive all the necessary licenses and approvals from local officials.
The women’s skeleton races are scheduled to take place on February 12 in Beijing.