In a recent interview, Olga Shipilova Vinogradova stressed the idea that “sometimes you need to take a break to get motivation”. The two-year break brought her the motivation she needed and the result was “only” the victory in the Middle Distance of the World MTB orienteering Championships WMTBOC 2016 - her second individual gold medal in the most important competition of the MTBO's international calendar.
The Middle Distance final was about to end and Olga Shipilova Vinogradova couldn't hide her anxiety. Her final time was going to be worth a gold medal and some of her opponents had already finished the race, recording lower times. But others still missing. Olga spoke, spoke, following the words with effusive gestures. Above all, she was pleased with her performance, but she felt that a bad option in the final part of the race could determine other medal than the gold one. Now that the last athlete reached the finish and the standings in the lead didn't change, Olga could finally enjoy her medal: “I couldn't be happier. This victory could mean my continuation in MTB orienteering, to do what I really like. For us, Russian athletes, a medal means support, money, without which it is very difficult to guarantee a proper preparation and achieve good results. This medal is all that and means, above all, to keep my way of life.”
To Olga, this was an unexpected victory: “I knew that I could do some good races, but I wasn't expecting to win. During the Model Event, last Saturday, I met Emily Benham and we exchanged a few words. Both agreed that we were there to have fun, but she told me I was going to win. I gave her a big smile and today, before the start, we met and I smiled again. Twice. Emily Benham is a fantastic athlete, she is in good shape and I'm just starting again after becoming a mother for less than a year. Moreover, I had throat problems during the winter, which conditioned my preparation. Honestly, my goal was just to do a good race while having fun, nothing else.”
About her race, Olga couldn't be more pleased: “The small mistakes I made along the course, I just noticed them at the end when I saw the splits. But I finished very happy with my performance, I had great fun and I'm specially delighted with my orienteering.” At this moment of joy, Olga doesn't forget the family, to whom she dedicates the victory: “This victory is mine and my family's. Without the support of my husband and my mother I would have never been able to achieve these results. Both in my training and in competitions I need to have them close to me. They convey me the mental strength I need so that everything goes well.”
As for the Long Distance final, Olga prefers not to think about it for now. “I don't know if I have the power to face a race which will be very hard. We now have a rest day and I hope to recover well. In any case, I'll face the race with the same spirit that I faced the race today: Just for fun. The result, we'll see.”