Meet the Russian ski queens who won gold in Beijing – RT Sport News

The quartet of Russian stars produced a blistering gold medal at the Winter Olympics

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team won its third gold medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics after an imperious performance by the women’s 4×5 km relay team in China on Saturday.

The formidable Russian quartet headed home after a tussle with the second-placed Germans, while the Swedish powerhouses were forced to settle for bronze.

Russia’s ROC stars celebrated their win in earnest as youngster Veronika Stepanova anchored the final leg.

There was even a celebratory twirl on the podium from some members of the quartet as they made history by becoming their home country’s first event winners since 2006 – bettering the bronze medal in the same event in PyeongChang four years ago.

Here we meet the four Russian ski sensations who made their nation proud with their scintillating show at Zhangjiakou Ski Center.

Yulia Stupak

Saturday’s race was a story of redemption for Stupak and capped a complete reversal of his dispirited mood earlier during the Games in Beijing.

After falling flat in her first race – finishing 24th in the skiathlon a week ago on Saturday – a tearful Stupak openly questioned whether she should end her career.

Calling his performance “total trash” the 27-year-old lamented the health issues leading up to the months leading up to the Olympics.

And while Stupak suffered further disappointment in the women’s sprint and classic 10k races, performance notably increased as she woke up from her downcast mood.

This continued on Saturday as Stupak looked superb as she came out of the blocks for the first 5km making sure the ROC was set right from the start.

After her teammates finished the job, Stupak was jubilant as the team made their way to the podium, even breaking into a dance that has become something of a trademark for her since dancing at the Tour de Ski l last year.

” I do not believe it. I don’t know why the girls believe it, but I still don’t understand what happened. an incredulous Stupak told Russian media, even bursting into a song.

A mother-of-one, Stupak now has three Olympic medals to her name after being part of the Russian team that won bronze in the same event in PyeongChang four years ago, as well as a bronze in the sprint in South Korea.

Like her teammates, Stupak can now qualify as an Olympic champion.

Natalia Nepryaeva

The ROC team’s second leg on Saturday was contested by Natalia Nepryaeva, who has become one of the biggest stars of these Games for her nation.

It was Nepryaeva who kicked off the ROC medal count a week ago on Saturday when she won silver in the women’s skiathlon.

READ MORE:
Skiing star Nepryaeva wins Russian team’s first medal in Beijing

It was an emotional medal to add to the bronze the Tver-born skier won as part of the 4x5km relay team at the Winter Olympics four years ago – alongside Stupak.

Nepryaeva came awfully close to winning another medal at the Beijing Games on Thursday, but was just 0.1 seconds from third place in the women’s 10km classic, where she collapsed from exhaustion and despair on the finish line.

But discouragement turned to jubilation in the space of two days, after Nepryaeva kept the Russian side firmly in the hunt for gold with her return leg performance on Saturday.

“I left a lot of emotions at the finish line today,” Nepryaeva told Russian television.

“In fact, when I saw that Yulia had already made such a gap, it was difficult to manage my emotions, I tried not to pay attention to anyone and to do my race as best I could.

“I tried not to let my opponents come from behind. I’ve had tremendous support over the past few days, so I’m extremely grateful – it helps a lot.

The 26-year-old is now set to aim for more glory in Beijing alongside Stupak in the women’s sprint relay on Wednesday.

Tatiana Sorin

Unlike Stupak and Nepryaeva, Sorina got her first taste of Olympic success as a member of the team on Saturday.

The 27-year-old had a solid third game as the ROC struggled with the Germans, who fought an unexpected battle for gold as they held off traditional superpowers Norway and Sweden, as well as the Finnish.

“I really wanted to get clear as soon as possible – I tried to do that on the slopes. But on the descents, again, nothing worked, because of that I was upset that I couldn’t provide an advance to Veronika. Sorina then told Match TV.

“I tried not to get upset. I expected to run the stage better. The Germans were strong, they showed a performance. Who expected the Germans to fight for medals.

Despite this slight disappointment, Sorina more than played her part in setting up the ROC team for glory.

The star born in Tver who gave birth to a daughter in March 2020 and is married to fellow Russian skier and coach Egor Sorin in addition to the world championship silver medal she won with the Russian team in Germany last year.

Veronika Stepanova

Last but not least, young Russian Veronika Stepanova – a skier who has been a revelation since joining the senior ranks.

Although she had a lot to do in an epic battle with the Germans for the gold, Stepanova stormed home on her final stage on Saturday to give the ROC a winning time of 53:41.0 – 18.2 seconds ahead of the Germans .

Stepanova’s joy was unrestrained as she crossed the finish line, and at just 21 years and 39 days old, she becomes the youngest Olympic cross-country champion, surpassing the previous record held by the compatriot and gold medalist. gold of 1998 Yulia Chepalova.

“In the second round I already felt my strength and the German was losing ground. Every hint from the coaches was like new motivation. I like to decide everything before the finish line,” Stepanova told Match TV, revealing that thoughts came to mind of all young Russians who would be inspired by the team’s victory.

Former Junior World Champion Stepanova has already become a force to be reckoned with in the senior ranks – and not just on the snow.

Stepanova is a popular social media presence who isn’t shy about sharing her opinions online – whether it’s taking Norwegian journalists to task for their claims that Russians shouldn’t be in Beijing, or ‘call the New York Times for “to objectify” skiers.

Stepanova took to Instagram to celebrate the ROC victory on Saturday, writing: “For the country!

After Stepanova brilliantly anchored the team to gold in Beijing, Russian fans can expect plenty more to come from their country’s budding skiing superstar.




RT

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