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VELIKAIA Sophia
NOC Russia   
GenderWomen
Born 08 Jun 1985 in Alma Ata, URS
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Family Son Oleg, daughter Zoya
Residence Moscow, RUS
Occupation Army, Athlete
Languages Russian
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She began fencing at age 14 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Why this sport? She played the piano when she was younger, but she came to dislike it. Her older brother was already involved in fencing and she decided to follow him into the sport. "When I was 14, my older brother Grigoriy encouraged me to do fencing, for which I am very grateful. It was rather late [to start training in] our sport. It took me two years to try and understand."
Club / Team Central Sports Army Club [RUS] / MGFSO [RUS]:
Name of coach Christian Bauer [national], FRA; Dmitry Glotov [personal], RUS
Handedness Right
General Interest
Hobbies Watching movies, reading, travel, playing volleyball. (lenta.ru, 07 Feb 2016; rusfencing.ru, 01 Jul 2015)
Memorable sporting achievement Winning gold in team sabre at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (sovsport.ru, 08 Mar 2017)
Hero / Idol Russian sabre fencer Stanislav Pozdnyakov. (sovsport.ru, 08 Mar 2017)
Injuries She missed the 2015 Russian Championships due to an elbow injury. (team-russia2016.ru, 26 May 2015)
Sporting philosophy / motto "Fencing is always about two competitors who play a game with each other. You offer, you trick, sometimes you lose, and you should accept this loss. Life is the same game." (rusfencing.ru, 15 Jan 2013)
Awards and honours She received the Order of Honour from the president of the Russian Federation in recognition of the gold medal she won at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (kremlin.ru, 25 Aug 2016)

She was named the 2015 Female Athlete of the Year in the Russian Federation. (interfax.ru, 10 Dec 2015)

In recognition of her achievements at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she was decorated with the Order for Merits to the Fatherland [first grade] by the president of the Russian Federation. (kremlin.ru, 13 Aug 2012)

She has received the title of Honoured Master of Sport in the Russian Federation. (rusfencing.ru, 24 May 2019; minsport.gov.ru, 24 Dec 2018)
Ambitions To win gold medals at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (sport-express.ru, 28 May 2019)
Other information POST-OLYMPIC PAUSE
She decided to take a break from fencing following the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She gave birth to her son and missed major international competitions in 2013. She did not compete for almost a year before returning at the 2014 World Cup event in Antalya, Turkey. She also missed the 2016/17 season after competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (sovsport.ru, 08 Mar 2017; rusfencing.ru, 16 Mar 2014)

OTHER ROLES
She has served as head of the Athletes' Commission of the Russian Olympic Committee. (sport-express.ru, 28 May 2019; sovsport.ru, 08 Mar 2017)

FURTHER EDUCATION
She has studied at the Higher School of Cultural Policy and Administration at Moscow State University in the Russian Federation. (allsportinfo.ru, 24 Jun 2013)

Major Results
Year Rank Event Venue
Olympic Games
2016 1 Team Sabre Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2016 2 Individual Sabre Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2012 2 Individual Sabre London, England
2008 4 Individual Sabre Beijing, China
2008 5 Team Sabre Beijing, China
World Championships
2019 1 Team Sabre Budapest, Hungary
2019 2 Individual Sabre Budapest, Hungary
2018 2 Individual Sabre Wuxi, China
2018 2 Team Sabre Wuxi, China
2015 1 Individual Sabre Moscow, Russia
2014 Quarterfinal Individual Sabre Kazan, Russia
2011 1 Individual Sabre Catania, Italy
2011 1 Team Sabre Catania, Italy
2010 1 Team Sabre Paris, France
2010 3 Individual Sabre Paris, France
2009 4 Team Sabre Antalya, Turkey
2009 Quarterfinal Individual Sabre Antalya, Turkey
2007 3 Team Sabre St. Petersburg, Russia
2007 7 Individual Sabre St. Petersburg, Russia
2006 3 Team Sabre Turin, Italy
2005 2 Individual Sabre Leipzig, Germany
2005 2 Team Sabre Leipzig, Germany
2004 1 Team Sabre New York, NY, United States
2003 5 Team Sabre Havana, Cuba
European Championships
2019 1 Team Sabre Düsseldorf, Germany
2019 3 Individual Sabre Düsseldorf, Germany
2018 1 Individual Sabre Novi Sad, Serbia
2018 1 Team Sabre Novi Sad, Serbia
2016 1 Individual Sabre Torun, Poland
2015 1 Individual Sabre Montreux, Switzerland
2010 2 Individual Sabre Leipzig, Germany
2010 2 Team Sabre Leipzig, Germany
2008 1 Individual Sabre Kiev, Ukraine
2008 5 Team Sabre Kiev, Ukraine
2007 2 Individual Sabre Ghent, Belgium
2006 1 Individual Sabre Izmir, Turkey
2006 1 Team Sabre Izmir, Turkey
2005 2 Individual Sabre Zalaegerszeg, Hungary
2004 1 Team Sabre Copenhagen, Denmark
2004 5 Individual Sabre Copenhagen, Denmark
2003 1 Team Sabre Bourges, France