Eva Tofalvi Calls It a Career
Eva Tofalvi made her World Cup debut in 1997. Twenty years later she competed on the World Cup circuit for the last time in the Oslo women's pursuit as she skied over the snow at Holmenkollen.
“I am not a 100% sure, but I feel like it is the moment to settle down and start a family. I know the Olympics are behind the corner but I do not think I can invest the energy which is needed for such an event."
“I love competing and I love skiing above all, so these things I will miss for sure. I won't miss the stress and most of all the travelling. I can't wait to stay at home for a while and be there with my boyfriend. I really think the moment to change everything has arrived.”
A fast and accurate shooter, Tofalvi wrote important pages in her country's winter sports history, becoming the first-ever Romanian to win a World Cup competition. She triumphed in the 2008 Hochfilzen 15K individual; for the then 30-year-old, it was a mix of surprise and pride.
“Winning World Cup is probably the most incredible memory I will ever carry. It is not just because of the win, but the work I know I had to put to get it. Even back then I did not have a real team behind me. My skis were not as good and I had no doctors, trainers and coaches with me like it was for bigger teams like Norway. Winning in Hochfilzen was really special because of that, because it felt like a good prize for having had to work double as much as most to make up for what I couldn't have.”
Tofalvi recalls her first steps on snow in alpine skiing and she could only start training cross country after the end of the regime. When she tried biathlon she also had to face another issue: being left-handed.
“In Romania we did not use to have rifles for left handers. We just did not have such luxurious things...,” she recalled. So she had to learn to shoot right-handed.
Since the day she made a splash on the World Cup tour, many things have changed. Now she sees girls that were born around the time of her debut.
“In 20 years so much has changed in biathlon: now everything is much more professional and everyone is more focused on their careers. I think we were taking everything more lightheartedly back then. I now see girls that were born around the years I was making my debut in the World Cup and they are so determined that they achieve what before we would do at a much older age.”
“Twenty years in biathlon is just incredible... I don't know what to say, today I was thinking that my first World Championships were here in Oslo in 1999. If, like I think, these were my last competitions I think it is a suitable ending. I honestly am just very happy about everything I leave behind me. The only sad thing is what happened last summer, but I am glad I could come out clean from it and just see the good things of my biathlon days.”
In those 20 years there were many memorable moments, but surely a special place is occupied by being her country's flag bearer at the Olympic winter Games. “For me, carrying the flag of Romania at three different Olympic Games was something special and still is. I come from the Hungarian minority; because of this it is even more special and important what I was allowed to do.”
What will the future bring for the most successful Romanian biathlete?
“My future is at home, in Harghita-Bai. I have a small business there, a small hotel, which is running well. Now I am opening a sports shop too. I don't think I'll stay in biathlon, at the moment it seems too stressful.”
Best of luck with everything, Eva.