Bulgaria’s new Alpine ski talent Albert Popov

Thirty three years after the successful performance of Bulgaria’s ski legend Petar Popangelov this country pins hopes on young and talented skier Albert Popov. At the start of the ski season in November 2018 in Levi (Finland) Popov managed to earn enough points to place 20th. In January 2019 Albert Popov finished 9th in Kitzbühel (Austria) and several days later he placed 6th in Schladming (Austria). As a result, in January this year Albert Popov and his coach Ivaylo Borisov were named athlete of the month and coach of the month at the traditional poll conducted by Press Club Bulgaria. The twenty three-year-old skier said at the ceremony that in the beginning of the ski season his ambition was to earn at least one point for the Alpine Ski World Cup. However, Popov earned 95 points and will continue to compete in two disciplines – slalom and giant slalom.

Albert Popov got into the ski boots when he was only two years old. Today he remembers that he spent most of his time in the winter on the ski slopes in the nearby Vitosha Mountain where the ski camps of all Sofia ski clubs are organized. Albert Popov told Radio Bulgaria details about his decision to become a skier:

“I made my decision in the first ski competitions when we were measuring the time of our downhill competitions. I had the ambition to be the fastest athlete on the ski slope. I was trying to score the best time in the competitions and constantly improve my performance. In the beginning it was just a game, but later when I started to take part in ski competitions abroad I lifted the bar higher. I placed 20th in my first international ski competition and initially my goal was to be the fastest Bulgarian skier on international ski competitions.”

Each year Bulgaria’s young ski talent spends more than 200 days on the ski slopes. He rests between two international or domestic competitions only. However, the rests are accompanied with conditioning workout, because skiing requires year-round dedication and training. Albert Popov admits that being far from home and his relatives is a huge deprivation, but he got used to that lifestyle already. He begins every single competition with a smile on his face, because he has fulfilled his child dream to become a professional skier. I have always dreamt of becoming a skier and I feel the need to practice this sport, Albert Popov says and adds that skiing taught him a fighting spirit, perseverance, discipline, patience and desire to win.

“You must be psychologically strong, in order to score a victory, Albert Popov explains. Everything is in your head. I have always wanted to be a winner and I know that I have the skills to achieve that. I will reach the peak with perseverance and hard work.”

Albert Popov is aiming at the top, but knows that losses also teach us a lesson, because you can see your mistakes and try to avoid them at the trainings. Victories bring happiness which motivates us to go on. Albert does not have any favorite ski runs, yet he loves hard and icy slopes which match his style and technique. He likes slopes which allow high speed and let athletes show their true skills.

The success of the young Bulgarian athlete is due to his family as well. “My parents taught me that I must always fight for the victories. They taught me never to give up, follow my dreams and not to be arrogant. I believe that this is what every parent teaches his children”, Albert Popov concludes.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: BGNES and dnevnik.bg

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