By Korea.net PyeongChang Special Report Team
Gangneung | March 17, 2018
Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia is the only women’s visually impaired alpine skier at the PyeongChang Paralympic Games who won four gold medals.
Farkasova, who teamed up with her guide runner Natalia Subrtova, took the gold in the downhill, super giant slalom, super combined and giant slalom events. She was expected to win a gold medal in the slalom event as well, but, unfortunately, took second place there, grabbing four gold medals and a silver medal in total.
Athletes can’t be judged solely by the medal standings, but the Slovak alpine skier could really be called the “MVP of the PyeongChang Paralympics,” as she was the top-scorer with four gold and a silver, out of the five gold medals available in alpine skiing at the Paralympics.
Korea.net sat down with the athlete and her guide runner at a café near the PyeongChang Olympic Park in Gangwon-do on March 17, one day before the Closing Ceremony of the PyeongChang Games, to hear their stories.
– You won four gold medals this time. What’s the secret behind these excellent results?
We improved our physical condition with massages to help relax our muscles, and with meditation to ease our minds. The real secret is that we practice non-stop and try to train our mental condition at any cost. Even sports needs a lot of brain power, so harmony between body and mind is important.
– These are your third Paralympics, after the ones in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014. How are each different?
We debuted at the Vancouver Paralympics. As we didn’t have any experience, we didn’t know what to do and went through a hard time. It’s different now. We know what to do, to give our best performance, after our many experiences.
– Teamwork is important in all competitions. How did you two meet?
We met 10 years ago. After receiving an offer, we underwent preliminary training in Austria. Actually, we weren’t perfect for each other at first. Farkasova thought I (Subrtova) was so small and thin. Her former guide runner was very big, so she wasn’t used to me. However, as we repeatedly practiced together, we began to understand each other and 10 years have passed already.
Farkasova’s body leaned toward Subrtova throughout the interview, which shows how much she trusts her partner. Subrtova wouldn’t take her eyes off Farkasova either, which illustrates that their deep bond helped to lead to such good results.
When asked when is the most unforgettable moment at the PyeongChang Paralympics, they said, “When we took the gold medal, above all,” and smiled brightly. They pulled out their medals and held them up proudly. When the actual gold medals were unveiled in the cafe, people nearby were quite excited.
Finally, when the two were told that we look forward to seeing their performance again at the 2022 Winter Paralympics, they said, “We competed in three Paralympics, so we’ve had enough. However, no one knows what will happen next,” leaving lingering expectations for the next Paralympics.