Speaking to the Sme daily on February 17, after his wife won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Daniel Kuzmin had this to say:
Sme: What does the recent gold medal mean to you?
Daniel Kuzmin (DK): It is unbelievable. I have no words, this is fantastic. I have not dared to dream about this. I did think that this was her last individual race at the Olympics and that it could turn out well but it turned out perfectly. The way she worked at the shooting range; that was awesome.
Sme: Sometimes you can feel that things will turn out well. When did you start believing she could win?
DK: Today was a peaceful day. Everything was normal. She felt the pressure slacken after the silver medal in the pursuit race. This was a bonus race – and it ended excellently. She went for the last shoot with an advantage of 46 seconds. This was the reserve if she failed to hit one target. Even though she lost maybe ten seconds at the last shoot, I believed it would suffice. Darya Domracheva (silver in this race) was also shooting slowly.
Sme: During the shoot, you watch closely to see whether she hits a target. What are your feelings?
DK: A Bulgarian coach once said that a successful first shoot is 25 percent of the work done, a successful second one is 50 percent, etc. At the last shoot, Nasťa waited. She has never hit 20 targets before, and she desired very much to do so. One day, she will surely manage this.
Sme: Did you believe before the Olympics that she could win three medals?
DK: It is unbelievable. Before the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Slovakia was expected to get one bronze medal. Nasťa won gold and silver and Pavol Hurajt won bronze. Before PyeongChang, two silvers and one bronze were forecast. Nasťa exceeded this, again.
Sme: Your wife has received six medals at three consecutive Olympics. How does she prepare so well for top events?
DK: She has the mental abilities to manage. When we went to the first Olympics in Vancouver, we said to ourselves that we were going there for a medal. We did not want to hear that she was just going there to get experience, that she is young. You have to go to your first Olympics with the idea of being the best you can be.
Sme: In PyeongChang nine years ago, Kuzmina received a silver medal at the World Cup – the first one for Slovakia. Is it a nice story, do you think, that she was able to improve her performance at the same, original site?
DK: This was exactly our idea when she won the first Slovak medal here nine years ago. We wanted to part with a top event here – and a medal. I don’t think she will ever do any more such races. She started at this stadium and here, she will end.
Sme: So we will not get to see her at the Beijing Olympics in four years time?
DK: Definitely not but who knows – maybe she will go to the Tokyo Olympics.
Sme: In what sport?
DK: Maybe golf. Why not?
Sme: Will she stop with biathlon after this season?
DK: We are considering whether she will continue. She will definitely not attend all the World Cup races. Maybe some sprints, now and then, or a relay race. Her life will not be the hectic hustle-bustle that it is now. We have two children and we have to take care of them. We don’t want our children to ask us one day: Where were you when we were small?
Sme: Was it a good step to come to Slovakia and represent the country?
DK: Definitely – we don’t regret it at all. Even after the end of her career, we will stay in Slovakia. Where would we go? We have a house here, parents, and friends.
Sme: Russian fans favour you, too, at this Olympics. Do you feel their support?
DK: Of course, as Russian athletes do not fare very well. Unfortunately, Anton Shipulin (brother of Anastasia Kuzmina) is not here. Fans feel that Nasťa is Russian, Domracheva is Russian, and they enjoy their achievements.
Sme: Your wife will have two more team races in Pyeong-Chang – the mixed relay and female relay race. Can she win one more medal?
DK: I don’t want to talk about it, but we could still get a good result. Paulína Fialková is in good form. The fourth place in the World Cup in Östersund has shown we have a chance. At the Olympics, anything is possible, this is a specific event. It is not like the World Cup. Here, anything can happen.
19. Feb 2018 at 15:19 | By Juraj Berzedi