Despite being a multiple time Junior and U23 World Champion Russia's Sergey Ustiugov there is still little known about the recent 2017 Tour de Ski champion. During the 11th edition of the Tour FIS Cross-Country had a chance to catch up with Ustiugov to see what we could learn.
FISCC: When did you start cross-country skiing?
Ustiugov: I started cross country skiing in 2001. When I was a child I was also apart of many different sport clubs. I was looking for my sport, I even tried a little bit of boxing. Then a friend told me about ski department of the Biathlon sport school in Mеzhdurechensky village, in the Khanty - Mansiysk region. I liked it from the first day, and it soon became my second home. In my first week I had already won a competition and that was how my ski sport career started.
FISCC: Did you have any idols that you looked up to?
Ustiugov: I have no idols in sport, I think people can be different on TV and in real life. As for me, for example, I don’t like to give interviews. I prefer to compete more and talk less, though I know it is important to popularize the sport of cross country skiing.
FISCC: What do you usually eat before competitions?
Ustiugov: Before the start we eat a lot of pasta (smiling) and sport drinks. It is always important to have a good breakfast, lunch and dinner, but not to eat sweets and cakes.
FISCC: Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do outside of skiing?
Ustiugov: Hobby?...cross-country skiing is my life. I also like fishing in winter, but sitting on ice is dangerous and I must think about my health and don't do it very often. I have a girlfriend Elena Soboleva, she is also in Russia Ski Team, so we spend a lot of time together. I love my family and try to see them every chance I get. I like driving cars very much, for example I drive from Ekaterinburg (where I am living now) to my home village 1100 km away with a great pleasure.
FISCC: Do you like reading and what is your favorite movie?
Ustiugov: Yes I like reading books very much, I also read the internet. The last one was "The Martian" which I hadn't had a chance to see as a movie, so I read the book and I enjoyed it so much I finished it quickly. Then when I eventually did see the movie it seemed to me less interesting than the book. I take a lot of books for training camps, in order not to spend a lot of time on my phone. To tell the truth, there was a time when I was on the internet every minute and that I want to avoid.
FISCC: What is your favorite music?
Ustiugov: I have no specific favorite music, it all depends on my mood. I do like modern Russian cartoons.
FISCC: Do you have a favourite place to compete?
Ustiugov: Anywhere in Russia. It really helps me when skiing at home. My favourite venue would be Rybinsk. I really like the courses and the surrounding area there.
*Special thank you to Anna Lozovskaya for the translation.