Selina Gasparin

All good things come in threes!
Selina Gasparin
Selina Gasparin
My story

My story

At the age of 2 and a half I was already doing alpine skiing and loved the snowy winter in the Engadin. I switched to cross-country skiing only by chance. Because my toes were twisted inwards, my doctor recommended I do sports like skating, ballet, or horse riding to turn my feet out. As an active child, I really enjoyed doing that, but most of all I liked downhill skiing.

When I was at primary school, my sisters Elisa and Aita were born and everything changed. Luckily, my mother explained to me that babies cannot ski and that they cannot get on the slopes with the stroller. So that is what made me switch from alpine to cross-country skiing, where the trail is almost next to the winter hiking trail. I was allowed to go to the children's training and it was great to spend time with them. I soon took part in my first competition and was selected by my youth ski club to the regional squad and onto the national team.

At the age of 14 I competed in my first international race and landed unexpectedly on the podium. It ignited a flame in me and I realized that I wanted to go ahead and train to see where my path could lead me. After high school, I wanted to optimize my sports preparation but not give up studying. Since the universities in Switzerland were not located close to the cross country tracks, I therefore decided on venturing out to Norway to study sports and physical education for top athletes. There I learned a lot both as an athlete and as a human being.

In a biathlon test course I was fascinated by the shooting and, because there were no biathletes in Switzerland, I was offered the chance to change sports. I had nothing to lose. I could always go back to cross-country skiing at any time, but never wanted to. Despite initial difficulties and many shooting penalties, I found joy and challenge in biathlon.

After completing my studies, I trained as a border guard and was admitted to the top sports promotion of the EZV (Swiss Federal Customs Administration). The perfect solution to combine sport and work. Step by step, I have gained experience in biathlon, which allowed me to participate in the World Cup for the first time in 2006 and in the World Championships in 2007. As the only woman in the Swiss biathlon, I slipped into the role of a pioneer. It was not until 2012 that a women's relay could be started with my sisters and other teammates.

Selina Gasparin
Selina Gasparin

My greatest achievement was the historic silver medal at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi 2014. The winter sports fairytale went even further when my then boyfriend and cross-country skier, Ilya Chernousov, won the Olympic bronze medal. Shortly thereafter, the wedding bells rang and barely a year later, our daughter Leila was born. We moved to Lenzerheide to use the great training facilities of the world cup-ready Lenzerheide Biathlon Arena.

Recently I wrote an autobiography to bring my sport and life closer to the people. My goal was to spread knowledge about biathlon, the background and emotions, so that in the future it would be more fun to watch the biathlon competitions live or on television.

After the birth of our daughter, I fought my way back to the top with 2nd place in the Antholz World Cup in 2016. I could therefore dream of a second Olympic medal but this time as a mother. In South Korea it didn’t though go as planned. I couldn’t cope with the conditions on the ground and the races did not go well for me. Although sixth place with the women's relay was still a reconciliatory conclusion of the games, however, it was clear to me: 'I do not want to stop'. The energy, motivation, and pure enthusiasm for biathlon is still in me, even after so many years.

There were never too many challenges for me. With the birth of my second daughter Kiana on October 14, 2018 I will do my maximum effort to get back in the competition as soon as possible and show the young athletes that older mothers should not just be written off :)