Natalia Nepryaeva: I Don’t Do Screaming, Shouting Or Public Breaking Of Poles

Natalia Nepryaeva doesn’t really need introductions in 2020. But just to refresh you memory: the 3d overall in the World Cup 2019/20, arguably the most universal female skier of our times ( 4h in both Distance and Sprint ratings) and Russia’s best hope for women’s program at Oberstdorf-2021.

We spoke in Ramsau , Russians’ traditional October training camp – and their first on snow this season.

The pandemics wreaked havoc with all of my spring plans. I was planning to do some downhill skiing with friends, to visit St. Petersburg – instead had to stay at parents’ countryside cabin, “ dacha”, in more or less full isolation – the only positive side was spending more time with the family!

The summer training wasn’t too good either. Long, very long training camps in Malinovka – nice place but seriously remote. In Terskol, in the Caucasus mountains I’ve got both food poisoning and flu. So, the current pre-season state of readiness is suboptimal, as they say.

My main goal for the season is, of course, Oberstdorf, the World Championships. I aim to do better than at Seefeld 2019. Better how? I never set specific goals like “ two podiums” or “golden medal” – it’s just not me ( In Seefeld’19 Natalia won bronze in skiathlon and another bronze as a part of the Russian relay team)

Objective testing, lactate measurements etc.? Like in “Today I woke up and my pulse was 45 and it’s within set parameters, hurray?” It’s all bollocks ( “херня полная”)! It might be showing something important – but it surely ain’t gonna show how am I going to run in the specific race.

What does? Sometimes before the race comes that “I’m gonna kick their butts!”(“Я им врежу!”) feeling. That’s how I felt before the skiathlon in Seefeld, for instance.
Then again, sometimes at the warm up your body feels heavy and your mood is pointing straight at “sulky” – but then the race gun fires and you…you fly on the tracks. Who knows how it works and what does it depend on? Mood and excitement are not the same thing.

One thing never changes – ahead of the race I’m concentrating, preparing – and I am deep inside my thoughts. Regardless of whether it is sprint or 30k – the routine is still the same. I can’t spend my energy on smiling or posing for photographers and I won’t!

I don’t like it when the skiers are laying on the snow at the finish line as a matter of habit.

I don’t do screaming, shouting or public breaking of the poles. When I’m upset it goes out through my tears. But nobody – nobody – will see them at the finish line, ever! I will hold till I’m alone in my hotel room. Then they will pour out like a flood. Publicly crying at the finish lie in front of the cameras is a form of hype as far as I am concerned.

Darya Nepryaeva at YOG 2020

My dream in sport? I actually do have one – to run for Team Russia in relay with my younger sister, Darya ( currently, member of the Russian junior team – often & openly called a huge talent by the coaches in Russia)

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