Today my guest is 4 times World Champion, 4 times Europen Champion, living legend, Valentin Novikov. I am very happy that I had the chance to learn the important thoughts of Valentine and even happier to share his thoughts with you. I would like to thank Valentin for taking his time to answer my questions. I hope you will all enjoy this interview of Valentin.
I would start by asking you to introduce yourself. Who is Valentin Novikov? How did you meet Orienteering and why did you become “addicted” to this sport?
I was born in orienteering family .My parents are coaches of orienteering .I have a maps in my life from the beginning .At the age of two I became interested in looking at maps .At seven I started to go for orienteering professionally .We made many camps at Russia in different places to get best experience in map reading and of course I started to practice in competitions regularly .For me it was naturally to go for orienteering and I like this way of living!
You are among the most experienced athletes in the orienteering world, what is the secret of being in the top for many years? What do you think you did differently from other athletes all these years?
From the beginning of my orienteering career my coach (my father) did system analysis of my o-technic and I continue that technic all the time .There you can see where is the problems in your technical actions and correct the mistakes in next trainings. Also I have strong motivation always I go to run training in any conditions , even if I found time for run at 21 o’clock or later . Usually I plan my technical trainings myself and I try to do this as difficult as it possible on the map where I will have training. I always use most difficult places in the forest or I do interesting , unusual configuration of the training . As the rule I combine running training with o-technic elements.
What keeps you going in orienteering?
For me it’s the way to improve me as a person .Without sport I would not do many things .At the same time I like this way of living .I like training routine and doing technical tasks and running .At completion I like to push hard , but with balance of running speed and technical limit. In the forest I have a feeling that I’m explorer and enjoying the harmony of nature. I like traveling to the different places , to feel strong emotions at competitions ,to see friends .
How do you work on your mental approach ?
For me it’s interesting to go for orienteering .Since I was as schoolboy I’ve read a book about sport psychology .There I found a method how I can control my mind, emotions, and body .I’m using those trainings . At the same time I realized that a person must have an inner control. That is backbone that helps you achieve your goal .
What is your strength and weakness as orienteer?
My strong side is a fast map reading , ıt is easy to understand how the forest looks like as map. The weak point is to keep the speed more than 80min and I work a lot about it.
You have seen that orienteering has evolved in many directions throughout your career. How do you see the future of orienteering, would it be an Olympic branch, would it spread to much larger masses, would different orienteering branches emerge?
The IOF trying to make orienteering more spectacular . They invented new types of competitions . Our sport is Olympic one but nono of the countries want to take it in Olympic program . The modern competition in orienteering looks very attractive to the spectators . The technologies help with this .You can follow the runners anywhere in the world . At the same time it’s very helpfull sport for the nature. All of this is a good factors to choose our sport at Olympic program and to get new beginners in orienteering . As we can see now sprint orienteering developing dynamically and have own World Championship . We are become as track athletics with many branches .Some countries have orienteering in the school and maybe more schools will do the same . This sport is exciting , you have trainings and competitions at different places. You never get mentally tired , compare to indoor or stadium sports .Those looks same everywhere in the world .
We all go through a difficult process, how do you turn this situation into an opportunity as an experienced athlete?
So , all competitions are cancelled in the world and nobody know when will start again .But I continue with my trainings as usual , in my home town and surrounding . I do o-trainings , running trainings as at previous years and looking forward to compete in competitions when restrictions will be over. The pandemic will be over someday and we should be ready to run
Now we are moving to quick answers part;
What are your most valuable skills? Map reading , landscape visualization ,route choosing , direction control .
Is there any type of training that you don’t like doing? I don’t like to run simple o-trainings in the simple terrain , it’s boring for me.
Biggest achievement in your career ? First WOC gold medal in relay.It was first medal in Russian foot orienteering!
Except for orienteering, your favorite team and sport ? No.
Favorite distance ? Middle .
Favorite map and race ? WOC 2011 , middle .
Favorite o-country ? Norway.
Most unforgettable race ? WOC 2010 relay .I fighted with Thierry Gueorgiou face to face for gold medal.
Your ıdol ? No .I think every one is unique person and have own life .
Hobbies ? Walking at the nature .
Favorite training type ? Orienteering intervals.
Middle or Long ? Middle.
10mila or Jukola ? Jukola.
First start or Last start ? Last.
Tights or orienteering pants? Pants.
Formal or casual ? Casual.