Katsyarina Halkina and Her Brave, Brave Heart

This year Katsyarina Halkina from Belarus has been performing very risky routines and winning medals. We still think of her as the novice on the team, always following the established leader Staniouta. But did you know that in 2011, when Halkina was only 14, she had to make a decision whether to have heart surgery in order to continue her training as a world-class athlete?

This interview with her (in Russian) explains that she had to have a surgical procedure involving a heart valve, so that she could be able to support the extreme physical demands of training and competitive sport:

If Halkina had chosen to leave competitive sport, she would have been able to have a normal life without surgery. But she made a choice to follow her talent and passion.

Halkina, her family and coaches must feel very proud of the choice she made as a human being and an athlete, which is to always to try to improve, despite unexpected difficulties and circumstances she cannot control.