Athlete of the Month – March 2012

Name: Polina Malchikova
Country: Russia
Discipline: Ski Orienteering
Career highlights: World Ski Orienteering Championships 2011: Middle distance, Sprint Relay and Relay champion. European Ski Orienteering Championships 2012: Long distance, Sprint Relay and Relay champion, silver medallist in Sprint

Polina Malchikova, aged almost 26, has come to the fore in ski orienteering quite rapidly, with exceptional results last season and this. She says she focuses hard on detail, in training and in competition. That makes for great results.

Polina had not at all expected to win an individual race gold medal at the World Championships in Sweden last year, but she did achieve that and also won gold medals in the Sprint Relay and the traditional relay. With her three gold medals she got plenty of media attention last year and had an enjoyable summer, but did not forget that for her, paying attention to the details was the route towards more great achievements. And so it came about: in Ukraine a short time ago she won the Long distance race, and again the same two relays, at the European Championships.

Studies economics while being a professional athlete

Polina is currently a full-time sportswoman, but this does leave some time and energy for other things too. “I graduated at the Siberian Federal University, majoring in environmental engineering. Now I am working towards a second degree in economics at the same university. Sport can take up 100 per cent of my time, but if I have free time I spend it studying”.

Home in previous World Championships city

Polina was born and is living in Krasnoyarsk, host city for the World Ski Orienteering Championships in 2002. It was a very successful championships with lots of spectators and hard competition. That was the year in which Polina started ski orienteering. “But unfortunately I wasn’t present at the World Championships even though they were in my home town”, Polina says. She started to enjoy sport in school as a ten-year old-girl, six years before the Krasnoyarsk championships.

“How is it that you are doing so well?”

“I guess it’s because I spend a lot of time working on all the details. I want to be the best in the whole field and for that I have to work very hard”.

“What are your dreams for the future?”

“I prefer not to look very far ahead. I like to have short-period goals and then go for them, concentrating on doing my best”.

The athletes’ questions

The Japanese Morihiro Horie was the Athlete of the Month in February. He had two questions for the Russian:

When and why did you start ski orienteering?

“I started ski orienteering in 2002. Prior to that, I did another sport – cross-country skiing. When I started at the Siberian Federal University I was asked to try ski orienteering!”

Do you have a sponsor for your equipment and so on? If you have, what have you done to get sponsorship?

“Yes, I have contracts for things like that; Peltonen sponsors my skis, and the company OneWay helps me with ski clothing and accessories. I got these contracts by winning World Cup races”.

In April the Athlete of the Month will be Ionut Zinca from Romania. Here is what Polina asks him: “What percentage of your training time do you spend on technical training? Which format do you like most (Sprint, Middle or Long, interval or mass start)? What kind of special preparation do you do for your favourite distance?”

Polina Malchikova won three gold medals at the World Ski Orienteering Championships last year, and is working hard to get more. At the recent European Championships in Ukraine she again won three gold medals.

Text: Erik Borg
Photos: Finnish Orienteering Federation

Previous Athletes’ of the Month

January 2012 Alison Crocker (USA)
February 2012 Morihiro Horie (JPN)


February 2011 Olga Novikova (KAZ)
March 2011 Olli-Markus Taivainen (FIN)
April 2011 Emily Benham (GBR)
May 2011 Søren Saxtorph (DEN)
June 2011 Tove Alexandersson (SWE)
July 2011 Olav Lundanes (NOR)
August 2011 Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA)
September 2011 Erik Skovgaard Knudsen (DEN)
October 2011 Lauri Kontkanen (FIN)
November 2011 Annika Billstam (SWE)
December 2011 Anna Füzy (HUN)


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