She came to their first datewith her torn knee ligaments, and he came to Novosibirsk from remote America togive her a bar of Russian chocolate "Alenka". Their love story touched hearts of millions of sports fans.
Snowboarder Victor Wild wasborn and raised in an American city White Salmon, Washington. However he didn'trepresent the USA at the Sochi Olympics, but opted to represent Russia. Hebecame the first American flying the colors of the Russian flag at a winterOlympics.
His life seriously changed in2011. By that time, Wild, aged 24, had never been even in the top five inslalom at the World Cup.
He was not satisfied by his own sports results and poor financial support fromthe American side and even planned to leave sport. He didn't have enoughmotivation.
He met a Russian snowboarderAlena Zavarzina in 2009 during another sports competition.
At the World Championship inSpain, Alena created a furore by taking first place in dual slalom. Vic likedthe talented girl very much. Neither the language barrier nor thousands ofkilometers became an obstacle for the young couple.
Alena had a serious traumabut still accompanied Vic to all competitions.
Wild spent a lot of time withZavarzina in Moscow and one of Russian coaches suggested that he gain Russiancitizenship to make things less complicated. It would allow him to continue hiscareer in sport. It sounded a bit crazy but he was ready to do that to be withAlena.
However, according to theRussian laws he could be granted Russian citizenship as a sportsman only if heheld medals from the Olympics or World Championships, but Vic never took partin Olympic Games and his best position at a World Championship was only tenth.There was another option - marriage with Alena. So the couple decided to takethe chance and married following the Russian traditions in July 2011.
They had beenliving in the USA but finally moved to Moscow where their friends and fans wererather surprised. Wild started performing in his wife's team. Love brought himsuccess, he started to get top results at the World Cups and even at the WorldChampionship (third place). After his triumphal performance at the SochiOlympics he was called "the leader of the Russian team" by his coach.However Vic Wild does not consider himself a star and keeps training hard, asdoes Alena. Family relations never affect their sports achievements, they knowhow to organise priorities.
Alena became more successfulin sport too. Vic taught her to fully devote herself to her favorite sport.
On February 19th, 2014 he wonhis gold medal despite everything, cause probably only Alena believed he couldwin. She also became a winner and took a bronze medal, which was as precious asgold for her.
Never before have Russiansnowboarders won medals in Olympic Games.
Vic commented to journaliststhat he considers himself to be Russian now even despite the fact he still doesnot speak Russian fluently and does not know Russian culture very well.Nevertheless he is glad he's chosen the hard way.