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Olena Iurkovska - March 2006

Country: UKRAINE

Olena Iurkovska, Ukraine
Olena Iurkovska, Ukrianeg ©Photo: Getty Images

“From the victories in sports to the victories in life” is the motto of Olena Iurkovska, four-time gold medallist at the Torino 2006 Winter Paralympics. This motto reminds her of her background and how far she has come. Iurkovska lost both her legs at the age of three following a chicken pox infection.

Growing up in a small Ukraine town, opportunities were limited and Iurkovska could neither attend school nor participate in any community activities. However, when a local coach introduced her to the sport of Sitting Volleyball a bright Paralympic future opened up to her. Iurkovska has achieved numerous sporting achievements as a member of the Ukraine Sitting Volleyball team and even competed at the ATHENS 2004 Paralympic Games. But her main sport and her passion is Nordic Skiing.

In the Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Winter Games, Iurkovska burst onto the Paralympic scene, winning a silver and three bronze medals. At the Torino Paralympic Winter Games 2006 she dominated the women’s sitting competition, winning four gold medals, a silver and a bronze medal.

Iurkovska dedicates her achievements to her supporters and encourages fellow Ukraine people with a disability to participate in sports. At the Closing Ceremony of the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, Iurkovska was awarded the “Whang Youn Dai Overcome Prize” that acknowledges the overcome of adversities through pursuit of excellence.

Career Highlights:

  • Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games: 4 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
  • 2003 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, Baiersbronn, Germany: 2 gold, 3 bronze
  • Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Winter Games: 1 silver, 3 bronze
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