Yulia Belorukova: If You Don’t Get Kick From Doing What You’re Doing – Why Do It At All?

…When Yulia Belorukova won the very first official race of the last season, many a fan said Wow! here come the true challenger to Swedish-Norwegian duopoly in sprint. Alas, the rest of the season was as impressive for a 24 year old Russian. Although far from a failed one ( bronze in relay in Seefeld where she held Ebba and Heidi Weng’s all-out leap at the first stage, overall 8th place in the World Cup season classification), Belorukova wants more next season. Wants – and makes no secret of that in our conversation, that we shall customary publish in two installments, using the photos of Yulia that we’ve taken throughout the season.

Here’s Part 1

I like skiing, that feeling of actually being on the snow. I enjoy it so much – just 2 hours of skiing and the mood goes up.

Even if the skiing is indoors – it’s still better than any other summer training.
Training and competing should be fun. If you don’t get a kick from doing what you’re doing – why to do it at all?

Next year is a special one – no Olympic Games or World Championships. Which means there is a better chance to try something new in training regimen, to experiment
Preparing for the last season we – me and Markus Cramer, my coach, – were concentrating on improving my distance performance. And when I won the first World Cup stage in Ruka – in sprint – I felt like Wow, now I can do anything now!..It wasn’t quite the case as it is obvious now – but we think we know where we went wrong and will amend the preps accordingly
What quite a lot of people, fans do not seem to understand it’s that at the very top, when you fight for the podium, even smallest things matter.
Example? Well, if you insist – I have a problem with fast, tight circles – especially when they go icy. I can’t say I am bad – but some competitors have gotten better. That’s where I lose quite a lot of seconds/meters to them
One thing I don’t need is a psychologist. Never had, never will. Only I know how to tune myself up for the race. How? Well, by remembering how it felt to stand on the Olympic podium – that helps. How it felt? Can’t be described if you did not experience it, those very strong emotions. («отвал башки» in original)

We spend over 250 days a year in training camps and racing. That’s where we are at disadvantage with other girls on the World Cup circuit – they often could pop out home even in-between back-to-back weekend races. It would take me 24 hours to and 24 hours fro to get to my home and back. But that’s life and there’s nothing to be done about that – almost all races are held in Europe.

No, we don’t use team tactics in sprints and mass starts – because, quite simply, we don’t have them. The Norwegians do, it’s obvious – on Tour de Ski, for instance. But team tactics is a complicated business. I did try but I couldn’t keep up with Natalia ( Nepryaeva) and Anastasia ( Sedova) on a distance in most races.
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