Previous titles and podiums play no role & don’t count- Olena Kostevych

Olena Kostevych, Image Credit:

At the age of 17, Olena Kostevych had announced her arrival at the world stage when she won 10 m Air Pistol event at the 2002 ISSF World Shooting Championships, repeated it in the 2003 ISSF World Cup Final, went on to win an Olympic gold medal at the 2004 Olympics. And this was just a hint of a career she was going to create for her- yes, the count, now, says 12 World stage gold, 25 world stage medals and 35 medals overall, plus one Olympic gold and 2 bronze medals. She speaks with us on her career, favorites and more.

12th World Stage Gold, 25th World Stage Medal, 35th medal overall (if I haven’t missed anything) and then Olympic Medals- how competitive is this sport?

Yes, you are correctly counted all my podiums. In the ISSF database you will find more successful pistols shooters. But I have enough time to reach the same level.

I am professional sportswoman. It is my job and I like it.

Shooting sport is interesting – high precision is demanded under some interesting circumstances (physical and psychical condition; time; ammunition and equipment accuracy; light and wind conditions etc). Shooting sport has chance to be more popular but development depends from legal restrictions and traditions. The best example is Germany – relative liberal laws and old traditions – about 1.4 M registered shooters in about 15,000 shooting clubs.

Shooting as a career & Your inspirations related to this career…

The decision to be a professional athlete was not made at once. I started to train in tender age and it was only hobby. After winning the Olympic medal in Athens at the age of 19 my coach noticed, that shooting it going to be my life-work.

Career in your words- covering some important milestones…

Of course important milestones are my successful participation at Olympic Games in Athens and London.

Unforgettable is also World Championship 2002, where I was youngest winner among adults.

A long time I could not take first place at European Championship but then won it twice in 2015 and 2016.

Personal favorite moments and moments which changed your career…

Unsuccessful participation at Olympic Games in Beijing affected me on the way to professional adult athlete. I got huge experience at most important shot-offs at Olympic Games, where one shot decided place on the podium. I won shot-off in Athens winning “gold” and lost shot-off in London losing “silver” at 10m air pistol.

One moment you would like to relive…

The unforgettable moment I want to relive once again – is to stay on the highest step on Olympic podium.

Your coach Igor Cheredinov- his contributions in shaping up your career…

I am with my coach from my first training till now – almost 20 years working together.

He taught me how to shoot and gave me fundamental skills for the further development.

He is always with me at all competitions and no matters what happens I feel his support. He is of the same age as of my parents and has been a fatherly figure to me.

Favorite contemporary athlete and your favorite athlete overall…

I see many good athletes ahead with such merits to follow as sports longevity, perseverance and high results. Among of them are Maria Grozdeva, Nino Salukvadze and many others.

Music which you like to listen to and your favorite books…

I like rock and pop music. Sometimes I listen audio-books and like movies very much (especially with Adriano Celentano).

Hurdles you faced in your entire career as a shooter…

There are no hurdles if we lay all day long in the bed. To work hard aiming higher goals than before will always confront problems and difficulties and it depends on us who will win this round.

Mental training for event readiness and things you do to be game ready…

Recently a psychologist started to work with our team. It is my first experience to work with such professional. Before the competition I concentrate on my feeling trying to control my emotions.

Facilities in Ukraine, availability of resources & equipment including cost part…

All facilities are very old. We have only one facility equipped with 10 Sius target systems on every distance (produced in 2004).

The preparations for important competitions such as World Championship or Olympic Games are usually carried in Poland.

In this Olympic year one modern 10m Sius target system was bought specially for me.

How difficult is to maintain the level of game over the years considering the fact that Shooting is a sport based on concentration & endurance?

Very difficult but It is my job. Someone works in the office from 8am to 5pm. And I train all these time.

Criticality of infrastructure in game readiness of a shooter…

There are some technical aspects. For example – target systems. Modern systems look a little bit different. I have not got possibility to train with modern target systems and every time I must adapt to new circumstances at international competitions. Especially at 25m. If I had any possibility to train with modern target equipment I could invest my energy more effectively.

World Champion tag already in; Your next target and future aspirations…

It was for a long time. New competitions – new aspirations.

Every competition we start from zero. Previous titles and podiums play no role and don’t count (at least mentally). Only experience counts.

Like an architect or programmer – if you finished one project – you will get a new one. It is only job like any other.

Message would you like to share with young shooting athletes…

My message is – train, develop your skills and do not fear any difficulties – there is always a reward after all


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