Velikaya at the 2014 European Championships
|Full name||Sofiya Aleksandrovna Velikaya|
8 June 1985 |
Alma-Ata, Kazakh SSR
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||68 kg (150 lb)|
|National coach(es)||Christian Bauer|
|FIE Ranking||current ranking|
Sofiya Aleksandrovna Velikaya (Russian: Софья Александровна Великая; born 8 June 1985) is a Russian sabre fencer, silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and gold medal in the 2012 World Fencing Championships. She is also four-time World team champion (2004, 2010, 2011, and 2012).
Velikaya began fencing at the age of 13 after her elder brother took up the sport. Her first coach was Valery Dyakokin.
She placed fourth in the 2008 Beijing Games after losing to Rebecca Ward by one point in the bronze medal match. On October 12, 2011, she become the World Champion after beating two-time Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis in the final. One year after, she took part in the Summer Olympics in London, where she advanced to finals after defeating Olha Kharlan of Ukraine. She lost however to South Korea's Kim Ji-yeon and captured silver.
After the Olympics Velikaya took a break in her career. She had a son with Olympic wrestler Aleksey Mishin. She came back to international competition in March 2014 at the Antalya World Cup, where she was defeated in the second round by Hungary's Anna Várhelyi. At the European Championships in Strasbourg, she was stopped in the second round again, this time by Italy's Rossella Gregorio. In the team event, Russia defeated Germany and Hungary to meet France in the final. After being led 30–35 Russia overcame France in the last two relays to win the gold medal. At the World Championships in Kazan Velikaya made her way to the quarter-finals, where she met reigning World champion Olha Kharlan of Ukraine. After a good beginning Velikaya could not prevent Kharlan's comeback and was defeated 9–15. She was however pleased by her return to form. In the team event, Russia overcame Canada easily in the round of 16 and met France in the quarter-finals. Surprised by France's outright attack, Russia did not manage to regain control and suffered a shock 41–45 defeat. They entered placement rounds and finished 5th after prevailing over South Korea and Poland.
In the 2014–15 season Velikaya won the first event held in Cancún after defeating France's Charlotte Lembach in the final. She placed second with Russia in the team event. In Orléans Velikaya put an end to the invincibility of the world no.1 Olha Kharlan, who had not taken part in the Cancún tournament. Velikaya proceeded to the final where she defeated Italy's Rossella Gregorio and earned her second gold medal in a row. In the team event, Russia stormed through the competition and saw off the United States in the final to win team gold. Velikaya reached again the final in the New York Grand Prix. She met Kharlan, who defeated her 15–12, dooming her the silver medal. The same scenario played out in Athens at the first World Cup event of 2015, Velikaya losing only by a single hit that time. In the team event, Russia fenced Ukraine in the final. After a tight match Russia lost ground in the penultimate relay, which ended on 33–40. Velikaya lost 2–5 the final relay against Kharlan and came away with a second silver medal. She took her revenge at the Ghent World Cup, defeating Kharlan 15–3 in the semi-finals, then Zagunis 15–10 in the final, to take her third gold medal of the season. This result caused her to jump to the third place in World rankings.
- Софья Великая: моя пауза должна пойти девчонкам только на пользу. allsportinfo.ru (in Russian). 24 June 2013.
- КМ-2014. Софья Великая – на дорожке, Юлия Гаврилова – на пьедестале. Russian Fencing Federation (in Russian).
- Patrick Issert (13 June 2014). "La France en argent". L'Équipe.
- Maria Staroverova (19 July 2014). Софья Великая: думаю, что приблизилась к своему максимуму. allsportinfo.ru (in Russian).
- Maria Staroverova (21 July 2014). Софья Великая: думаю, что приблизилась к своему максимуму. allsportinfo.ru (in Russian).
- Alessandro Gennari (2 November 2014). "Sofya la Grande". Pianeta Scherma (in Italian).
- Raphaël Coquel (23 November 2014). "La Russe a dominé l’Italienne Gregorio en finale, hier soir". La République du Centre (in French).
- "Kharlan and Kim win sabre gold in New York". Euronews. 15 January 2015.
- Gabriele Lippi (31 January 2015). "Rossella Gregorio è terza nel giorno di Olga Kharlan". Pianeta Scherma (in Italian).
- Gabriele Lippi (1 February 2015). "Atene, l’Ucraina vince la prova a squadre". Pianeta Scherma (in Italian).
- Alessandro Gennari (21 February 2015). "La Velikaya non ha rivali, tris stagionale a Gand". Pianeta Scherma (in Italian).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sofiya Velikaya.|
- Profile at the Russian Fencing Federation
- Profile at the European Fencing Confederation
- Olympic results at sports-reference.com