Things to know about Nancy Okoro
– At 17 Nancy was the youngest in the ladies’ 10 km classic race at the World Ski Championships in Lahti this year. To qualify for that race Nancy had to beat 30+ other contenders in the 5km preliminary.
– Nancy is skiing for Bulgaria. Her mother, Kamelia Antova was the country’s champion in luge, her father, Godson Okoroh, played football in his younger days.
– She prefers classic style to FT ( and her results show that). Doublepoling? “good for training but I like competing the “normal” classic way”.
– Nancy’s last name is Okoroh, but “people tend to mispronounce it, so I shortened it to ‘Okoro’ “
– As a kid she auditioned with a model agency – but “but it was far and I didn’t have the opportunity to go far”
– Ms. Okoro speaks Bulgarian and English and wants to study Russian but “don’t have the time for it now so I will leave it for later”
…Nancy is, obviously, a big talent – perhaps, the biggest that part of Europe had in generations. In our conversation, however, she flat refuses to be drawn into speculations about her potential in skiing and what is that she’s planning to win. So we talk about other stuff:
– How does it feel to run in the same race as Bjorgen, Kowalczyk, Kalla?
-Well, I can’t say I’m even close to their level but it’s something having the chance to compete with them!
– Norwegians, Russians, Swedes have dozens of people involved in ski testing and preparation, wax trucks, summer snow training camps etc. etc. – could skiers from the countries that have no comparable resources compete and win?
– Bulgaria can not be compared to the Scandinavian countries when it comes to conditions or the money the skiing gets. We are the small country- could not even be compared to Poland in that sense. And the people in Bulgaria tend to prefer the summer sports.
– How did you come into cross country skiing?
– Well at first I used to do trail running, then tried biathlon – and then XC skiing. I started when I was 11 and in 2013 I became a national team member.
– You set sights for the Olympics next year?
– I train 42-45 hours per month supervised by my trainers, Plamen Nedyalkov and Kostadin Mitkov, and I believe I have a 70% chance of going. It all depends on how I’ll be feeling in the few next months.
…the day after the Dailyskier spoke to Ms. Okoro, she run a rollerskiing race in Belmeken against the Russian national team, both junior and main squads, coming respectful 3d in her class – that despite the race held in free style technique, not her favorite. How will the career of Nancy develop? will she be able to continue to attack the podiums? We sincerely hope so – having strong skiers from less established ski nations could only do one thing – spread the sport’s popularity. We believe Nancy will help to do just that. Watch her and root for her