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Athletes

Yuliya
Efimova
Russian FederationRussian Federation, RUS
Swimming

Biography

Further Personal Information

Date of birth
03 April 1992
Family
Partner Aleksander Lesun
Residence
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English, Russian

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming as a child and took up training at age seven in Volgodonsk, Russian Federation.
Why this sport?
She took up acrobatics first but her father suggested she should start swimming. "My dad is a coach. From the very beginning, he wanted to make me an athlete. I don't know, maybe it was his unrealised dream: he was also an athlete, but not of such a high level. And he was putting a little bit into it. I did a lot of things, I was so versatile, but most of all I liked swimming."
Club / Team
Efimova Team: Russia
Name of coach
Andrey Efimov [father], RUS
Training Regime
She trains six days per week having a day off on Sunday. She trains five to six hours daily.

International Debut

Year
2007
Competing for
Russia
Tournament
World Cup

General Interest

Hobbies
Spending time with friends, travel, surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding. (sports.ru, 07 Oct 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning silver at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (teamrussia.pro, 25 Dec 2019)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Michael Phelps, Russian swimmer Alexander Popov. (nashgorod.ru, 09 Aug 2013)
Injuries
After winning gold in the 50m breaststroke at the 2017 Russian Short Course Championships in Kazan, Russian Federation, she withdrew from the following events because of an injury relapse. It also made her miss the 2017 European Short Course Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Facebook profile, 20 Nov 2017; tass.ru, 22 Nov 2017)

She swam with an injured leg at the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Italy. (izvestia.ru, 03 Aug 2009)
Awards and honours
She was named 2017 Sportswoman of the Year by the All-Russia Swimming Federation. (swimswam.com, 25 Dec 2017)

In 2008, 2015 and 2016 she was named the Russian Swimming Federation's Female Swimmer of the Year. (swimswam.com, 24 Dec 2016; russwimming.ru, 21 Dec 2015, 19 Apr 2013)

For her achievements at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she received the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation. (kremlin.ru, 25 Aug 2016)

In recognition of her performance at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she was given the Order for Merits to the Fatherland [second grade] of the Russian Federation. (kremlin.ru, 13 Aug 2012)

She has received the title of Honoured Master of Sport in the Russian Federation. (minsport.gov.ru, 27 Dec 2019)
Milestones
She became the first female swimmer representing the Russian Federation to win a world title when she won gold in the 50m breaststroke at the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Italy. At the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea, she took her overall long course world championships medal tally to 17, the most by a Russian swimmer. She also tied Aleksandr Popov for most gold medals by a Russian swimmer at the long course world championships when she claimed her sixth career gold medal in Gwangju. (teamrussia.pro, 30 Jul 2019; SportsDeskOnline, 12 Oct 2019)

She became the first Russian female swimmer to win two medals at a single edition of the Olympic Games when she claimed silver in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Her overall Olympic tally of three medals is the most by a Russian female swimmer. (SportsDeskOnline, 11 Aug 2016)
Famous relatives
Her partner Aleksander Lesun is a Russian modern pentathlete who won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (rg.ru, 08 Oct 2019)
Ambitions
To win gold at the Olympic Games. (teamrussia.pro, 25 Dec 2019)
Other information
OLYMPIC MOTIVATION
Efimova admits that winning an Olympic gold medal is the only motivation that makes her stay in professional sport. "Staying in swimming is only one thing. This is the gold of the Olympic Games. I still don't have it. If I had won it in 2008, 2012 or 2016, it seems to me that I would not have been swimming for a long time. Most likely so. Now only this holds me. Perhaps I would have finished, tried myself in other areas. It is very hard physically and morally. Sometimes you think: why am I doing this? But recently, this happens quite rarely." (sports.ru, 07 Oct 2019)

SANCTION
In October 2013 she tested positive for the banned steroid dehydroepiandrosterone at an out-of-competition test. She was suspended from competition for 16 months, from October 2013 to February 2015. (olympics.nbcsports.com, 17 Mar 2016; rsport.ru, 13 May 2014)

STAYING THE COURSE
She wanted to give up swimming twice in her youth. "There were two such points. One at 16, the other one at 18. First, before my first Olympic Games, in 2008. I then switched from father to another coach, and we had minor misunderstandings. Plus, of course, hard training. Plus nerves: there were three months left before the Olympics. All this was superimposed, and I had a tantrum. I told my father that I was quitting everything. But dad said: you can quit, but you need to finish the job. After that - do what you want. And somehow I calmed down. At 18, I was no longer so categorical. I was two years cleverer as I thought at that time. I decided not to quit, but to change something. Change coach, country, discover something new for myself. With that coach, I could no longer stay. Everything was exhausted both physically and mentally. The changes were like a breath of fresh air for me, I reviewed my training and attitude towards them." (sports.ru, 07 Oct 2019)