A Winter Olympian who has been branded ‘Russia’s most beautiful’ knows exactly how to motivate herself to win a gold medal.
Yulia Kanakina is a former ballet dancer who will compete for the Russian Olympic Committee in the women’s skeleton when it gets underway on Friday.
She is a former world junior champion and has revealed she is aiming to get on the podium in Beijing, having claimed two top three finishes during this season’s World Cup.
The 26-year-old is making her Olympic debut in the Chinese capital and has opened up on how she motivates herself to win a medal.
Speaking to Sport24, Kanakina said: “We have been getting ready for the Games for quite a long time, much work has been done. I need to keep myself in good shape, both physical and psychological, till the beginning of the competition.
“Some people like to motivate me by saying ‘Yulia, the most important thing is to win.’
“I don’t need this kind of motivation. I need to tell myself, ‘Yulia, simply enjoy the competition, do your job, run fast, slide smoothly, don’t make sharp moves and then you will succeed.’
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“We all come to the Olympics for a reason. The ‘not winning, but taking part’ rule doesn’t work for us. Everyone will fight for the podium, including me.”
The stunning Russian athlete is also active on social media when not competing and boasts over 85,000 followers on her Instagram account.
She regularly posts pictures from events as well as wowing fans by posing on holiday during her time off from competition.
Kanakina will begin her push for a medal when the women’s skeleton event gets underway on Friday with the first three runs ahead of the final run and the medals on Saturday.
Great Britain’s Laura Deas is set to be amongst the medal favourites, having won a bronze medal in 2018 behind fellow Brit Lizzy Yarnold and Jacqueline Lolling of Germany.