The parallel giant slalom specialist and Olympic Solidarity scholarship-holder shares his advice with young winter athletes on maximising potential

Bulgaria’s leading male snowboarder, 27-year-old Radoslav Yankov, has been one of the standout performers on the FIS World Cup circuit over the last two seasons, and heads to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as a genuine medal contender.

He broke onto the scene in December 2015 when registering his maiden World Cup victory in parallel giant slalom in Carezza, Italy, and claimed the overall title in the event the following season.

Yankov also competed at Sochi 2014, and although he failed to qualify for the elimination rounds, he is confident of making a more significant impact in the Republic of Korea.

“My goal for the Games is the same as it is in every single race I enter – to perform at my best possible level,” he says. “I will be very happy if I am able to improve on the ranking I achieved in Sochi and I definitely believe this is possible. My challenge is to take all the hard work I have done over the last few years and transfer that into results on the slope.”

Hailing from Bulgaria, a country with fewer financial resources than other winter sports powerhouses, Yankov has benefited from the support of an Olympic Solidarity scholarship on the path to PyeongChang. Here, he offers his advice to other aspiring snowboarders on how to maximise their potential…

Believe in yourself
“The most important advice I can offer to young people who want to get into snowboarding, to improve their skills on the slope and perhaps one day to become professional, is first and foremost to be stubborn. All sports are a challenge, but you must never think that the challenge is too great. You must have the belief that, when you do something with love and perseverance, you cannot fail.”

Dedication at all times
“Try never to miss a workout in the gym or a session on the slopes. In our sport, every hundredth of a second is important – maybe even the difference between winning and losing – and sometimes this hundredth can be lost because of a missed workout.”

Keep an open mind
“The most important lesson I learned from my first coach was to evaluate the opportunities in front of me and to take advantage of them. You must always be ready to recognise chances to improve as a snowboarder and seize them. These chances could be meeting new people in the sport and learning from them, or making changes to the way you train.”

Be an all-rounder
“The most important qualities that every successful snowboarder must possess are courage, talent and dedication. They are all vital but cannot be separated from each other, because each one is manifested in different situations on the slope. None of them can make you successful if not in sync with the other ones.”