Snowboard World Cup winner – Russia’s big hope in Sochi

The beginning of 2011 has seen Ekaterina Tudegesheva establish herself as one of Russia's greatest hopes for the 2014 Olympics. RT caught up with the 23 year old, who has had a break out season on the slopes, easily winning the Snowboard World Cup.

She's shy and doesn't really like public attention, but Tudegesheva will have to get used to life in the spotlight, as she's proved to be one of the world's best snowboarders.

Her result's this season have been phenomenal. She's won 7 times on the World Cup circuit this year, perhaps making up for the disappointment of finishing 10th at last year's Winter Olympics.

“I could never have imagined that I would have such a great season. I took everything step by step, and tried to get the optimum result at every stage of this season's world cup,” said Tudegesheva. “I managed to do this, and I always kept pushing myself, even if I managed to win the previous round, and this helped me, I am sure, to become the overall champion.”

She may be 23, but Tudagesheva has already been competing professionally for five years. After winning the World Championships at the young age of 19, big things were expected of her. However, it's taken time for the results to come on a consistent basis.

“When I won the World Championships, I always found myself under pressure to repeat what I had done,” she explained.

“I was very young, and I found it very difficult to handle the weight on my shoulders,” she admitted. “I had two years where nothing went right for me, but now I am 23, and I feel so much calmer on the slopes. I don't have as many nerves, everything is a lot easier now.”

Tudagesheva was born in Rostov, but moved to Kemerovo in Siberia when she was 4. It was there that she fell in love first with skiing and then with snowboarding, mixing her training sessions at home with plenty of time abroad.

The 23 year old is just one of a healthy crop of Russian snowboarders, which also include the likes of Alyona Zavarzina and Ekaterina Ilyukhina. And Tudagesheva says it's great for the development of the sport in Russia.

“We are always training together and looking at one another. We have a good relationship, but we are always trying to beat each other. This helps to push us to bigger and better things,” she said. “We all have our own goals, and we are all on course to reach these goals.”

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