- Yegorova, Lyubov
▪ 1995A women's cross-country skier from Russia, Lyubov Yegorova became one of the two most decorated performers in the 1994 Olympic Winter Games at Lillehammer, Norway, by winning three gold medals and a silver. These, with the three golds and two silvers she had acquired in 1992 at Albertville, France, brought her Olympic career total to six gold and three silver medals, an achievement bettered only by the 10 accumulated by her former national team colleague Raisa Smetanina. Only one other Winter Games athlete had captured as many gold medals—the Soviet speed skater Lydia Skoblikova, who amassed six in 1960 and 1964.Yegorova was born May 5, 1966, in Tomsk, Siberia. In 1982 she moved to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), where she trained arduously on the local ski course. Joining the World Cup circuit in 1987, she did not make her first real impact until she finished third overall in 1991 and then repeated the feat the following season. She became World Cup winner in 1993 and finished second in 1994. In addition to placing first in 10 cup events during those momentous four years, Yegorova took the 30-km freestyle in the 1991 world championships at Val di Fiemme, Italy, and was a member of the winning relay team. In the 1993 championships at Falun, Sweden, she helped retain the relay title.Of average build—1.67 m (5 ft 5 3/4 in) tall and weighing 54 kg (119 lb)—Yegorova developed admirable stamina and versatility, excelling over both the shortest and longest distances, as evidenced in her Olympic performances. In 1992 her first three gold medals were won in the freestyle 10 km, 15 km, and 4 × 5-km relay. In 1994 her three golds came in the 5 km, 10-km pursuit, and relay. She planned to extend her Olympic participation and perhaps shatter all previous records at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.Resolved to comply with husband Igor Sysoyev's wishes, Yegorova aspired to become a mother before Nagano. "Before then, I would like to take a season off to relax," she said. Asked if she would like her hoped-for child to become a serious skier, she expressed a preference for dancing. "Competitive skiing is too difficult," explained Yegorova, a philosophy clearly not applicable to herself.(HOWARD BASS)
* * *▪ Russian skierborn May 5, 1966, Tomsk, Russia, U.S.S.R.Russian cross-country skier who was one of the two most decorated performers at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. She won three gold medals and a silver in 1994, adding to the three gold and two silver medals she collected at the 1992 Games in Albertville, France. Her total of nine medals was surpassed only by her former teammate, Raisa Smetanina (Smetanina, Raisa), who had 10 medals.Yegorova, like many children in Siberia, took up winter sports at a young age. She soon became proficient in cross-country skiing, and, at the age of 16, she was sent to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to train with the best Nordic skiers in the country. Joining the World Cup circuit in 1987, she did not make a notable impression until she finished third overall in 1991 and then repeated the feat the following season. She won the World Cup title in 1993 and finished second in 1994. Between 1991 and 1994, she won 10 World Cup events; she also won the 1991 30-km freestyle world championship, and she was part of two world champion relay teams (1991 and 1993).Blessed with great stamina and versatility, Yegorova excelled at both short and long distances at the Winter Olympics. At the 1992 Games she won gold medals in the combined pursuit, 15-km race, and 4×5-km relay, and she was a silver medalist in the 5-km and 30-km competitions. At the 1994 Games she battled in event after event with Manuela Di Centa (Di Centa, Manuela) of Italy, coming away with gold medals in the 5-km race, the combined pursuit, and the 4×5-km relay, and a silver medal in the 15-km race.Yegorova finished first in the 5-km race at the 1997 world championships but was stripped of her medal after testing positive for a stimulant that masks the presence of performance-enhancing drugs in the bloodstream. As a result, she was banned from the sport for two years. Yegorova returned to cross-country races after her reinstatement, but she was no longer an elite competitor.
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