Elizaveta Pantrina is perhaps the main discovery of this season. In February, at the Championship Heights tournament, Yegor Sorin's ward started for the first time in the sprint relay with Ekaterina Smirnova and did what almost all Russian skiers dream of: she overtook Natalia Nepryaeva in the head-to-head fight. In Tyumen, Pantrina, who turned 13 on March 21, has already won bronze medals in the sprint and freestyle, silver in the skiathlon and gold in the sprint relay.

- I know that before the skiathlon, the coach set you the task of getting into the top ten, and then to understand the circumstances. Four medals in four races is the maximum program or could it have been better?

- I think that's the maximum. It just so happens that at every start I go out and show everything I can.

- Many Russian athletes who get into the main team from the junior team are not too capable of showing a high result throughout the season. You seem to have really fled only by March, but in December you surprised with the results. Did you expect such a season?

- Rather, the coach was counting. The whole training plan is now built somewhat differently than it was in junior age. A year ago, I got into the first team, into the group of Yegor Vladimirovich, and now I am very pleased that the whole season is going so smoothly. I'm not always in the prizes, but I'm always out there somewhere. In Tyumen, I am so generally satisfied with myself.

- Is it very scary to get from juniors to the group of such a demanding coach?

- On the contrary, it's great. And it is interesting: a new specialist, new training, new tasks. For me, this is a huge plus in my career.

— Could you probably not withstand new volumes of load, new unusual speeds?

- There were thoughts, yes. But only at the beginning of the very first training camp, when we went to Arkhyz as a group. In general, I coped with the loads, but sometimes I felt very sorry for myself.

"Did you cry?"

I didn't cry, but I discussed it with my husband. She expressed all her doubts and fears.

- What about Vadim?

- Comforted. He said I could do it. The main thing is to overcome yourself. You can, of course, be sad - in the evening, but in the morning you need to be in line and fulfill the plan.

— I still have your run in Malinovka in front of me, when you were ahead of Natalia Nepryaeva at your stage of the sprint relay. And how did you feel?

- I went to the start to fight first of all with myself. In principle, I have no fear of rivals: we can all win, we can lose, and no one is immune from failure. Proving to myself that I was capable of fighting Natasha was nice, but I can't say that I somehow paid attention to what was happening from behind. Just worked at its own limit. It was actually my very first relay race, where I beat Nepryaeva. The main thing, perhaps, then was the idea that we were on the right track. That all the work done begins to bring results.

- In cross-country skiing, there is an opinion that many athletes from the junior top are capable of shooting once, but not everyone can keep a high level.

- Of course, I've heard this many times too. Like, juniors start briskly, but finish very quickly. I wouldn't say that the beginning of my career was frisky in this regard.

I think that I am really starting to compete only now and that the future will be even better, even faster. Ending my career in the near future is definitely not in my plans. My coach and I immediately determined for ourselves that the main start this season for me should be the Russian Championship. We prepared very seriously, summed up for each race.

— Did the fact that you had to compete with a biathlete in the sprint relay surprise you?

- I knew that Noskova could fight, because on short accelerations, when we were in Sochi and conducted joint training, Katya even beat me. But on the last lap I went from the very start and was determined to work until the finish. That's such a huge gap.

- Does the home track give any additional advantage over the opponents?

- I wouldn't say so. There is a certain plus in the fact that relatives and their own, Tyumen fans come to the races. But when they say that houses and walls help, it's not about me. Rather, there is an additional responsibility that is pressing.

- I don't mean that a bit. Many athletes note that the circle at the Tyumen stadium is incredibly difficult. You, it seems to me, had much more opportunities to adapt to the terrain.

- This can hardly be considered an advantage. Well, yes, we train more often at the Pearl when we hold training camps here or just come home between training camps, but for me there is no problem in adapting to the track anywhere. When we come to certain competitions, everyone has three or four days to get to know the track, to remember all the problem areas. In any case, I remember them, I figure out for myself how best to go. In general, I usually do not load myself with thoughts, whether the track will suit me or not.

- Is Tyumen suitable?

- It's really heavy, designed more for functionality, it seems to me.

- And in more detail?

- There are steep and long climbs, so not every rider is suitable. Now, in addition, they have slightly changed the sprint circle, made it even more difficult. For me, this was not entirely expected, but much more satisfying is the realization that even on such a track I am able to drive into a triple. I don't think I would have been able to perform as well in such conditions a year ago.

- Horse or Classic? Where does the soul lie more?

I love both styles. But thirty classics in Tyumen will not escape. I will start only in the big relay.

- In other words, to a greater extent, do you still gravitate towards sprinting?

- Not even at all. I have big goals at all distances. Very big.