Bolshunov’s Not-Too-Secret Stimulant

Why is everyone so keen on talking about winner’s training plans, ski choices or waxing, leaving aside, perhaps, the most important and,certainly, the most exciting factor there is to talk about?

The ” relationship factor”.

No study indicates definitively to what extent is it important for a world-class athlete to have a steady partner. “It surely helps” – the gist of we could find on Internet.

Well, we want sport scientists, coaches and officials to consider this:

Alexander Bolshunov is one of the two top Russian skiers to enjoy a steady relationship with a training group partner, Anna Zherebyateva. The other power couple are Sergei Ustiugov/Elena Sovoleva-Ustiugova. There are other “establish unions” in the Russian squad, but they are not in the same training group which means they only get to see each other occasionally I.e. during competitions.

We are not aware of any steady and open to public observations relationships inside other leading national teams (Visnar-Hattestad union comes closest, but coach+athlete is totally different dynamics) – all the more reason to look at “Zherebyateva – Bolshunov phenomena” closer yet again.

Zherebyateva, 23, and Bolshunov,23, have been together for over five years…
..Anna is an ex-U23 world champion and has her own sporting goals to fulfill – and disappointments to deal with. And she sure knows how to
Their partnership is clearly beyond “just dating” stage – last year, for instance, they together made a decision to move from oil-rich Tyumen to Archangel, with latter offering better financial conditions (in Russia regions pay skiers to represent them) ….
…Alex and Anna are both Rossignol ambassadors and wow, the French company knows how to insert its skis into picture for brand promotion, right? This is not much of a staged photo, BTW – that’s how they look at each other in real life
…they spend close to 350 days training, competing and vacationing together yet seem to never get tired of each other. On the contrary…

Does steady and fulfilling relationship play a central role in Bolshunov’s victorious march through ski stadiums this season? We would never know, but it is sure something to talk about – and we just tried to give you a glimpse into their lives.

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