Top American snowboarder willing to race for Russia
“Currently we are preparing the papers to be admitted to the Russian citizenship. It’s hard to say now how long it will take,” Leonid Melnikov told the Sport-Express newspaper.
“We are very interested in this athlete. He would add more competitiveness within the team. We know him as a professional and disciplined guy,” said Melnikov, adding that Wild has already begun learning Russian.
“If he wasn’t married to [Alyona] Zavarzina we wouldn’t have taken the initiative. But things went this way. Besides, the athlete himself wants to compete for Russia,” explained Melnikov.
The procedure of obtaining Russian citizenship for people who do not have Russian roots requires the approval of the President’s Commission. If things shape up well, Wild will become Russian by the New Year.
The 25-year-old has several times finished in the top three at the North American Cup, and was 10th at last season’s World Snowboard Championships in parallel giant slalom.