Russia’s Elena Yakovishina reacts after competing in the downhill run of the women’s alpine skiing super combined. (Reuters)
Deaf Russian alpine skier Elena Yakovishina believes her performances at the Winter Olympics can inspire other girls to take up the sport.
The 21-year-old was 14th in the super-combined on Monday, to go with her 28th place in the downhill, and stressed that her ambition was to claim top spot on the podium, buoyed by the fervent home support.
“I was standing in the start and I could hear fans screaming ‘Russia, Russia’ and it made me really nervous because I understood a lot of people have put their hopes on me and were waiting to see how I would ski,” said Yakovishina, who wears hearing aids when she races.
She said they help her with her balance as she storms down the course.
“It’s so different skiing with hearing aids, it’s good for balance. You hear things differently: the wind, your skis, everything. Without them I can ski but not as well,” she said.
“It’s like when you’re in a club with loud music and after five minutes you go ‘what? what did you say?’ but you can hear.”
Now she has targeted an Olympic gold. “My dream is to win the Olympic title,” she said. “I’m not going to give up the sport. I’ll keep on going until the next Olympic Games in South Korea.
“The Games in Sochi will add much to my experience and I hope to be more successful in Korea.”
Asked whether she would inspire people to race, Yakovishina was adamant: “Yes!”
“If young people see a lot of athletes, they will go to sport schools and I think this is good.”
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