In an age where Olympic success seems to come almost by default for female athletes, the trailblazing 18-year-old Yury Yakovlev has leapt out of the pack with phenomenal results.
A member of the women’s gymnastics team for the 2016 Olympics, Yakovlev is seeking to conquer the world later this year.
Here are her goals:
1. Gold on the balance beam.
Yakovlev, from Leonidovsk, a city in the foothills of the Black Sea, is currently training in Bulgaria under two of the country’s top gymnasts, Branka Karadadze and Natasa Bakovic.
“I’m determined to improve my upper-body strength as much as possible to be able to win all the competitions I enter,” she said.
The “muscular Russian,” as he is sometimes dubbed, is likely to start on the floor routine, a difficult stroke full of twists and thrusts which can require significantly more strength than other moves.
While she is a hit in her homeland, Yakovlev still has big issues to overcome before the games, being 16th in the recent world championships in Montreal.
More importantly, however, she wants to prove to doubters that she can succeed in an ultracompetitive environment.
“Being doubted here makes me that much more determined to show myself and other people that I can win medals. The fact that they doubted me and that I just had to fight myself against them is the kind of motivation I need to win gold.”
Another title to target is bronze on the uneven bars, which she already won at the European Championships in November.
“To compete against the top gymnasts in the world, where they’re more experienced and stronger than me — it’s not that I lack ability or athleticism. But it’s that I need to improve my upper-body strength, especially on the bars, for example.
I’m not shy about trying new things and having a chance to win.”
Read the full story at The Siberian Times.
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