Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht won the women’s 15K individual at the 2015 IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti, the only Russian Gold medalist that year and the first Russian woman to win a World title since 2009. The World Championship win was the first victory and podium in her World Cup career that dates back to an inauspicious 62nd place debut at Khanty Mansiysk in March 2008.

Prior to that career milestone, Yurlova-Percht bounced from the World Cup to IBU Cup and back, with varying degrees of success. The 2014-15 season was a breakthrough for the former cross-country skier. She spent most of the season on the IBU Cup circuit, trying for results good enough to earn a spot on the Russian team in Kontiolahti. Four IBU Cup podiums and then a Bronze medal in the 15K individual at the IBU OECH in Estonia did the trick. The Kontiolahti competition was one of those magical moments in an athlete’s career: among the leaders for the whole distance, hitting the last of 20 targets while her closest rival Gabriela Koukalová missed one shot and then crossing the finish line in almost disbelief and the Gold medal secured.

She followed that season up with her marriage to Josef Percht in October 2015, then another victory and a third place the next January in the Antholz sprint/pursuit. Yurlova-Percht sat out the 2016-17 season, after giving birth to a daughter Kira in November 2016. Back on the World Cup circuit for the 2017-18 season, she is the top-ranked woman on the Russian team, 14th in the World Cup Total Score at the beginning of 2018.

What do you remember about your first biathlon competition?
At my first biathlon competitions I forgot to take a weapon on the start and I was 15 seconds late for the start.

When did you realize that you could be good at this sport?
At my first European Championship in Langdorf (GER) at 2006 when I had clean shooting in the sprint after 1 month in biathlon.

What is your routine to get ready on race day; is it always the same?
No, it is every time a different way: just I try to keep calm and have focus for the competitions.

Given the option, would you rather run, rollerski, cycle…or?
I like the long training; best for me it is long hiking tour in mountains.

What do you do very well? Smiling!

Describe a perfect day off from training or competition? Day with my family!

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? Keep smiling in all life situations.

In a city, on the beach or in the mountains on your perfect holiday; any place special that you love? Anywhere with my family

What are the hardest and easiest things about biathlon? Hardest thing and easiest things; they come every day in biathlon but I can’t say exactly what it is:)))

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