Tell us in brief who you are?
Hi! I am Anastasiya Kuzmina, professional biathlete from Slovakia.
Apart from biathlon, what other outdoor activities do you love?
My favourite outdoor activities are Nordic Walking and trekking in the mountains. Canoeing and biking are also outdoor activities which I like very much, and they are also sports I utilise as a part of training for the coming racing season.
Why should one start roller skiing?
To start with, roller skiing is a part of training for a lot of professional and top athletes. Of course, roller skiing is also very similar to normal winter-time cross country skiing, so it is an excellent summer training activity. Secondly, It’s a good choice as a functional and special power training method during the summer season. Last and most importantly, it’s cool and fun!
Apart from biathlon do you participate in other competitions?
During the summer season I quite often participate in extreme run races, orienteering and summer biathlon competitions on roller skis. These are very good ways to keep fit and to diversify my training.
Younger you practiced figure skating & karate. Why biathlon?
When I was younger, I tried quite a few kinds of sports for fun, including figure skating and karate too. My parents are former cross-country skiers and biathletes, so choosing biathlon as my main form of sport in the end was a quite natural choice.
You roller ski at lot during off-season. Do you ski the same routes ?
This depends largely on which stage of preparation of the coming competition season it is. If I can ski on snow until the middle of May, I will start with the roller skis a little bit later. Quite often this is from the beginning of June, and my roller skiing season will carry on till the end of October. The intensity and amount and length of my roller skiing sessions will increase considerably towards the start of the coming biathlon season.
What equipment do you use for roller skiing ?
When I begin my training, I need good roller skis (of course MARWEs) and comfortable ski boots. A pair suitable and long ski poles (my height is 1.80m) and which have proper roller tips. And I never roller ski without a good helmet and safety vest. Remember that safety always comes first!
Yelisey is a big hockey fan. Does he like biathlon or other sports?
Yelisey is a good skier. Of course, he is also trying out other sports including tennis, orienteering, the gym and hockey. He has plenty of time to make the right decision, to pick a sport which he likes and feels comfortable with.
As you train continiously, which season is your favourite?
Spring is absolutely the best time of the year for me. During spring I can spend more time with my children. It is the perfect time to relax and wind down after the hard winter season and being under stress and having to travel constantly.
How do you relax after your roller skiing or skiing session?
The most important part of recovery after roller skiing or skiing sessions is to do stretching and yoga exercises. As music, most of all I prefer to listen sounds of the nature or simply just enjoying silence so to speak.
Something in Finland or Finnish that you especially like, Sauna?
I have participated in so many races in Finland! The first times were as a junior athlete and have carried on till being a top-level athlete of today. The last time I was in Finland was in Kontiolahti at the recent World Cup 2018 event. Also, I do spend a lot of time at training camps both in Kontiolahti and at Vuokatti. Yes, you’re right, I do really like a Finnish sauna. And the original Finnish squeaky cheese as well!
Do you keep in contact with Anton during the racing season?
I really enjoy when we stay at the same hotels during the Biathlon World Cup competition season and can spend some quality time together. We have a special relationship between us. We share training advice, and at the same time I try my best to help him to prepare and psyche for the coming competitions. Such things as to have a strong mindset and quite often he has helped me to do the same.
Treble Olympic wins and having two children, Yelisey before Vancouver and Olivia after Sochi. How did you psyche yourself to
restart the heavy and grueling training what is your motivation?
It was hard to start all over again to get back in top form after the birth of both of my children. But being able to participate in these Olympic Games is the main motivation and biggest factor to me and it was important to prove for myself that anything is possible
You have stated that Pyeongchang 2018 will be your last Olympics. Is this decision final?
Of course, participating in three Olympic games and to be at the on the top at all of them is very hard and to keep striving to be successful is far from easy. I will continue my career at least for the 2018-19 season. That is all I have decided for now.
Lastly, any heroes or idols you have looked up to or admire?
When I was younger, my idol was the 1998 Nagano Biathlon Olympic champion Galina Kukleva from Russia. At Nagano she won a gold medal in the 7.5 km sprint and was a part of the team that won a silver medal in the relay. My wish is to be a athletic idol and role model for up and coming young Slovakian and of course international athletes.
Thank your Anastasiya for the interview, and we wish you the best for the coming roller skiing and
biathlon season! The pictures used in this interview are from Anastasiyas Instagram account @nastja.
kuzminova and also from @nordicfocus.
Interview by Paul Fletcher/Marwe