BEHIND the reception desk of the Fremantle Herald sits our very own world-class athlete, Vicky Parnov.
The 27-year-old pole vaulter will head to the nationals next week, vying for the one remaining spot in the women’s team for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.
Her younger sister Liz, also part of the Herald family, is a fellow pole vaulter who’s already secured her place in the team by hitting the qualifying height last year. The sisters, both born in Russia, come from a long line of professional athletes on both sides of the family, most notably their aunt Tatiana Grigorieva, who won a gold medal in pole vaulting at the 2002 Commonwealth games in Manchester.
“Everyone in my family is involved,” says Vicky, who also represented Australia at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
“Liz and I used to be really competitive when we were younger and if she beat me, you wouldn’t get a word out of me for the night.
“It’s funny how things have changed, we are best friends now.
“We are so supportive of each other.”
Vicky is returning for her last hurrah, after attempting to leave the sport last year, but finding she couldn’t stay away.
“I moved to Sweden and I’d had six weeks off from all sport and by the time I got there I was really bored and started pole vaulting with a group there,” she says.
“I thought I was ready to finish, but it turns out, I wasn’t.”
But Vicky says this will be her last season before she retires for good.
“I feel like I’m 27, and I kind of want to start having something behind me and moving on to the next chapter of my life.”
Whether or not she ends her career at Nationals or the Commonwealth Games, Vicky has left a legacy behind her.
In 2007 she was the youngest athlete to ever represent Australia at World Championship level, aged 16 years and 305 days. The Chook will keep a close eye on the progress of the local Parnov sisters and we’ll keep you updated.
by MOLLY SCHMIDT and EMILEE NEESON