SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Double Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has her sights set on a third gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games but will not return to training until next year.
Isinbayeva, voted Russian athlete of the year in 2013 and the ceremonial mayor of the athletes village at the Sochi Games, won gold in Athens and Beijing but could do no better than bronze in London in 2012.
“I do not plan to start training soon,” she told Reuters during a tour of the village. “I would like to try and compete at the Rio Olympics. Rio will be fantastic. I know the Brazilian people and they will have a great Games.”
The 31-year-old returned to top form last year, winning gold at the world athletics championships in Moscow. Afterwards she said she would like to have children before Rio.
Isinbayeva said running the village, which is the size of a small town, was far more daunting than competing in front of a large crowd.
“On the track it all depends on you,” she said, sporting a colorful Sochi Games jacket as she joined International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on a tour of the village that will house more than 2,000 athletes.
It is one of three villages at the first Russian winter Olympics.
“Here in the village I am more nervous, more worried than in competition because it all depends on the entire team not just me,” she added.
All problems would be forgiven, however, if Russia win the gold medal in ice hockey, the country’s most popular winter sport.
“I think everyone knows which medal that is,” she said when asked what would be the most important victory for the host nation.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Peter Rutherford