Igor Malinovskii: Biathlete and… Pilot
Some are attracted by the sea; others are pulled by irresistible forces into the mountains... However, some dream of the sky and the vast air spaces; they like the aircraft steering wheel, the sensation of flight and overcoming the force of gravity. 21-year-old Igor Malinovskii, the most titled junior biathlete, is exactly this kind of person who cannot imagine his life without the sky… and biathlon.
Igor’s love of the sky was genetic. Malinovskii's father is a pilot, and as long as the athlete remembers himself, he was always "obsessed" with the sky. He dreamed of faraway flights, incredibly beautiful views from the cabin of an airplane or a helicopter, imagining how the heavy machine obeys his will, soaring up. Malinovskii dreamed of the sky, but, after falling in love with biathlon, he tries to balance the two greatest life passions in his heart.
Began to Conquer the Sky
The passion for flying became clear when the future biathlete turned 3-years-old. It was at this age when the father began to take his son on flights. “Of course, I do not remember this; know only from my parents’ sayings.” And with laughter, he adds, “Dad said that if he did not want to take me with him, then I went into loud hysterics... So slowly with my father, I began to conquer the sky.” His love for biathlon came a little later when he was 11-years -old. At that time, in Kamchatka, the place where Malinovskii was born and raised, the first Fatyanov memorial was held; the brightest biathlon stars came to participate. Since then, two great passions live in the young man’s heart.
Entirely Devote Yourself
In Kamchatka there were no conditions for doing sports professionally, so the young athlete moved to Omsk. In this city, there is a Civil Aviation Technical College where Malinovskii wanted to study. Everything went well, biathlon and aviation stayed close by in his life. Although sometimes Igor still had doubts about how to balance his life between the sky and the track... It is quite difficult to devote yourself entirely to these two occupations at the same time. Yet for now, Malinovskii successfully conquers both peaks. At the moment, he does not know how long his career in sports will last. Unlike some other athletes who might be looking with some apprehension and sorrow in the future without biathlon, he is convinced that life will not lose bright colors for him. After all, he has another career ahead of him, flying.
First Flight behind the Wheel
Malinovskii remembers his first solo flight perfectly well, to the smallest details. “My first flight behind the steering wheel was on the Antonov An-2 plane. I felt like a real pilot, I even received praise from my father; he liked how I held the wheel of the plane for the first time. Later my dad trained me to fly on an autogyro. The first thing I felt then, it was a big responsibility, and adrenaline just went off the scale!” Malinovskii loves everything in piloting. He admits that he cannot love anything in particular; he likes taking off and landing, flying over forests and mountains, amazing scenery from a bird's eye view... And most of all he likes to fly over his native places.
This is Destiny
Igor’s childhood was always bright; illuminated by the sky, sunrises, and sunsets, flights with his father. “When at an early age I flew with my father on gyroplanes, I was always amazed by his skill and ability to fly the aircraft; he liked to do all these sorts of tricks... Everyone who flew with him said that he is an ace.” Malinovskii admits that he also had a desire to fly a plane, but eventually he chose helicopters because his father was the pilot of this aircraft. At the college, his studies were connected with the Mi-8 helicopter. And this evokes a broad smile on the face of the always positive athlete: "If you sort by letters my name, first name and patronymic, you get the MIV (МИВ – Ми-8, in Russian). Well, this is destiny!”
This year in May, Igor received a pilot’s diploma. For now, he trained only on the simulator, but next spring he will need to fly 90 hours. Of course, the first training flights were difficult, despite the fact that the young man already has some experience and idea of what a helicopter is and how it behaves in the air. “About the first flight I can say that I did not understand anything that was happening, but despite that, everything was cool. I have not yet completed the necessary practice, but there are already plans for the future: to help my father with the development of his air company.”
Cannot Afford Mistakes
Malinovskii believes that biathlon came to his life not by chance, because it is this kind of sport which educates a person in composure, develops diligence, demands great devotion. These qualities are also necessary for the pilots. “Biathlon definitely helps; the pilots should be able to coolly weigh the non-standard situations and always stay calm. Another common thing in aviation and biathlon is that there is that you cannot afford mistakes. Doing sports often helps me to find balance. During the study, you start to get tired from the lessons, and it is impossible to stay without training. There I get a charge of vivacity and good mood…” Adding with a smile, “Without this, I cannot live anymore.”
Photos: personal archive