Soukalová thanked her parents and coach Rybář after being inducted into the Hall of Fame

aSat, 17 Feb 2024 10:42:00 +0100
b17.02.2024 10:42

Updated: 02/17/2024 10:42 AM Issued: 02/17/2024 10:42 AM

Former Czech biathlete Gabriela Soukalová was inducted into the hall of fame of the International Biathlon Union IBU, February 16, 2024, Nové Město na Moravě, Žďársko. Left Ondřej Rybář, right Olle Dahlin. CTK/Svoboda Jaroslav

Nové Město na Moravě (Žďársko) – Former biathlete Gabriela Soukalová praised the support of her parents after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, while recalling her successful career she highlighted the help of her then coach and current sports director Ondřej Rybář. The award surprised and pleased her. She told, and that she did not expect him.

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“It’s a huge honor for me. I didn’t expect that I should be there at all. I had the feeling that there were older people there, maybe they wanted to indicate to me that I should look in my passport, that I’m no longer a teenager,” she said with a smile Soukalová.

She is the first Czech biathlete to enter the Hall of Fame. “I’m very happy that it came, I had that chapter unclosed in me. I was sorry that I couldn’t say goodbye, ideally somewhere in front of a full stand with fans. And I’m glad that Ondra Rybář came with Jirka Hamza (head of the Czech Biathlon Union ). It was only after that speech that I realized what I had forgotten about, perhaps thanking Ondra,” she added.

The IBU Biathlon Hall of Fame is only in its second year. At last year’s premiere, Norwegian Ole Einar Björndalen and Germans Sven Fischer, Kati Wilhelmová and Andrea Henkelová entered it. This year, in Nové Město na Moravá at the World Championship, the organizers introduced, in addition to Soukalová, Frenchman Raphaël Poirée and Swedish Magdalena Forsbergová.

With 17 triumphs in the World Cup, Soukalová is the most successful Czech biathlete in history, in the 2015/16 season she also dominated the overall rating of the series. She is a three-time Olympic medalist from Sochi 2014, she also won six medals at the world championships, two of which were gold.

Soukalová learned about the induction into the Hall of Fame from Hamza. “He called me around midnight, a normal time. And he started telling me what happened, that they decided they wanted to put me in the Hall of Fame, which made me happy. I’ll admit that I was touched. I remember that my friend and I were sitting that night, maybe eating something around this time, laughing a lot. The call kind of took me back a few years. Even now that I’ve gone back in time thanks to all the cuts. It’s hard to realize that it was me,” said Soukalová.

During the festive evening, her parents and friend Miloš Kadeřábek also supported her. Her former coach and current sports director Rybář introduced her on stage. Under his leadership, Soukalová achieved most of her successes.

“I think that I had two fundamental moments in my life. First, I had a huge clique, that my parents trained me from childhood. And then I appreciate that I was so stubborn that I conquered myself so that I could train with Ondra Rybář. He he plays a vital role in all my results. I’m also grateful to him for being tough on me. The toughest of the people I’ve had next to me,” added Soukalová.

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