Ottawa’s Margarita Gorbounova has family history on her side as she gets ready to compete in the Sochi Paralympics.
The Russian-born Canadian skier’s mother, Olga Nazarenko, won a gold medal in Nordic skiing at the 1992 Paralympics, while her father Mikhail Gorbounov is a European championship-winning runner.
“My parents have supported me throughout the whole experience,” Gorbounova said Saturday.
“I’ve just been building my hours, building my base and training really hard.”
Born with cataracts, lost 90 per cent of vision
Gorbounova, who has about 10 per cent of her vision because of cataracts, will be competing in three Nordic skiing events and one biathlon event in Sochi.
“I'm really excited. I can't wait to get on that plane,” she said.
“I'm not too anxious yet, I think that will come when I'm at the start line. But for now I'm just excited to get on the journey.”
Gorbounova finished seventh in the 15-kilometre race at her first Paralympics in 2010.
'No conflict' with Russian background
When it comes to her feelings about competing in the country she was born in (her family moved to Canada in 1999), Goubounova said there’s no question where her allegiances lie.
"I'm happy to represent Canada and I'm definitely Canadian,” she said.
“My roots are Russian and I'm definitely part of the culture and I'm looking forward to being back in the culture, but yeah… I have no conflict.”
When not training or competing, Goubounova works as a French-English translator with the federal government.
The 2014 Paralympic Games run from March 7 to 16.