Given our recent weather, we can now officially introduce you to our winter muse, Elizaveta Parnova (@lizparnov). We are super excited to have Liz as our winter muse as she embodies qualities we love – she’s brave, ambitious, uber cool and an all-round achiever. And she knows how to pole vault like a boss. If you know anything about hurling yourself skyward on the end of a stick, you’d know that it takes a great mindset to show up and dominate on a daily basis. But dominate she does and with the World Championships around the corner followed by the Tokyo Olympics, our pole vaulting muse is on a mission to fly.
We sat down with Liz and ran 10 questions by her. Here are her responses:
1. What does winter mean to you?
Snuggling, comfort, hot carby meals, lots of teas (my boyfriend is a tea freak, at least two teas every evening, it’s actually annoying how much tea he drinks!)
2. Can you tell us how you started in your sport?
I don’t really know any different as I’ve always been around the sport. I was pretty much raised into it, my dad was a pole vaulter before becoming my coach (until last year). What drives me is the challenge and pushing myself. I love going to new levels that my body didn’t know it could do and my mind didn’t know it could and that gives me so much satisfaction. The older I get, the more passionate I am towards the sport. How I feel about the sport today is leaps and bounds (deliberate pun!) over what I felt in the early years. And in the last 6 months, I’ve really developed and progressed in my body and training which has me feeling great.
3. Where do you find inspiration in your industry and beyond?
I’m not one to chase inspirational sources as I have my own internal drive that fuels me. I do however love seeing others achieve, that’s motivating for me. On a day to day basis however, my family and my partner provide a great example and set the tone. Being a sporting family, I want to continue the legacy so I guess that plays a part. I’m also fortunate in that my partner is super dedicated and focussed towards what he loves so collectively there is this great energy between us.
4. What are the different roles you play in life apart from pole vaulting extraordinaire?
I work at a newspaper and plan to complete my uni degree in broadcasting next year. I’d like to pursue a career in television post pole vaulting life. I also do some nannying as I love kids and given my goals with pole vaulting I can’t see myself having kids anytime soon! Working with kids is enjoyable and I get my kid-fix with other peoples kids!
5. If there is one area in your life that you wish you had more time for, what would it be and why?
My training for sure. I’d love to be able to train full-time and dedicate myself solely to being an athlete. As it's [pole vaulting] an individual sport it doesn’t get the same attention and support as say football or netball and as a result, the funding is not at the same scale. I, therefore, have to balance it out with work. Athletics has a bigger focus in the US and Europe and therefore there is a different cultural appreciation than here in Australia so it does make it harder to dedicate yourself fully to the sport. I live and breathe the sport but I’d like it to be the center of my world and not have to juggle to the extent I do.
6. What does 'healthy' mean to you?
“Balance” for sure. I don’t deprive myself and enjoy a variety of foods, even the ‘naughty’ ones! I don’t subscribe to the dos and don’ts of the food world or focus on metrics, I simply listen to what my body wants and I think that is the key. I know when I’m in balance and when enough of something is enough. I do work with a dietician to maximise my training but there is never any depriving of myself as that can affect my mindset. I can say however that I’m not consuming alcohol at this point and that’s a decision that works for me. I am drinking p+N juices though!
7. All time favourite quote or words to live by?
Nothing jumps to mind but I do resonate with words about courage or being brave. Pole vaulting requires you to overcome fear and for me, that is my biggest challenge to excelling in the sport. The mentality required for pole vaulting is playing all-out. Standing at the top of the runway, there is no place for hesitant thoughts as this can lead to injury. It’s 100% or nothing.
8. What's one piece of advice that wish you had received in your teens or early 20's?
In my earlier years, I relied on talent alone but then as I got older things started to change. I wasn’t able to be the party girl, rely on limited sleep, eat recklessly and train hard and my performance results showed this. I realised that talent would only take me so far and certain things didn’t matter. Coming to this realisation sooner would have been good! I see this same behaviour in my younger sisters but they’re like me, somewhat stubborn and choose not to listen to those that are offering guidance.
9. If you could only eat 3 things for the rest of your life what would they be and why?
Banana’s for sure. I start every day with a banana, they’re an energy hit. Pickles are a daily habit also. I was raised on pickles! Must be the Russian in me or perhaps it's the vinegar that helps with digestion? And salmon, I love salmon.
10. Dream WINTER day?
I’m a homebody so my answer’s pretty stock standard – cozied up on the couch, heater on and watching movies. That’s what winter is about, right?
We're all super excited here at p+N to have Liz on board as our winter muse and are looking forward to fueling her training with our meals, juices, and snacks. We also hope that Liz's boyfriend enjoys our tea offerings as we love a solid tea drinker!
We'll be keeping a close eye on Liz in her preparation for the World Championships in Doha later this year. And don't forget to follow her on Instagram @lizparnov to see this highflyer in action.
Photo credits: Bonsai Branding (images 1, 2 & 4) and Chris Gurney (image 3)