Alena is a 23 year old Russian snowboarder who will be competing in her second Olympics. She place 17th in the Parallel Giant Slalom competition in Vancouver in 2010. In Sochi, she will be competing in the same event (competition completed earlier today but in the spirit of not spoiling it for those that will be watching on TV tonight, I won’t disclose the results).
Two things make Alena a compelling human interest story in Sochi. First, she broke her arm four weeks ago and is competing despite it not being fully healed. That will put her at a disadvantage when she tries to pull out of the gate at the start.
Second, she is married to a fellow Olympian, Vic Wild. Vic is an American snowboarded but, following his marriage to Alena, he elected to attempt to make the Russian Olympic team. He succeeded and will be competing in the same Parallel Giant Slalom event as his wife. The men’s competition takes place at the same time as the women’s, so, while each spouse will be there while the other competes, they both will likely be too wrapped up in their own races to provide much support to the other. The magic question might be “who gets eliminated first?”