Yana Shemyakina

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Yana Shemyakina
Shemjakina 063a HBR cropped.jpg
Personal information
Full name Yana Volodymyrivna Shemyakina
Born (1986-01-05) 5 January 1986 (age 32)
Lviv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Weapon(s) épée
Hand right-handed
Height 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
Weight 55 kg (121 lb)
Club Dynamo Lviv
Personal coach(es) Andriy Orlikovsky, Oleg Lopatenko
FIE ranking current ranking

Yana Volodymyrivna Shemyakina (Ukrainian: Яна Володимирівна Шемякіна; born 5 January 1986)[1] is a Ukrainian épée fencer, Olympic champion at the 2012 Summer Olympics,[2][3] bronze medallist at the 2014 World Championships and European champion in 2005.

Early years[edit]

Shemyakina was born and raised in Lviv, Ukraine. She is the second of a family of three children: she has a brother six years older than her, Vladimir, and a sister, Lyubov.[4] Her family was not particularly into sports: her brother had tried a few swimming lessons, but did not get into it. Shemyakina first tried ski at the age of nine. At the end of a lesson, after a few months' training, she attempted a harder downhill course than she was used to, fell and broke her leg. Her absence had gone unnoticed and she stayed alone in the snow for a long time, almost freezing, before she was found by chance and taken to the hospital.[5]


After Shemyakina recovered from her skiing accident, a friend suggested that she try fencing. She began training under Andriy Orlikovsky, who remains her coach as of 2015, and quickly took to the sport. She soon showed talent, winning the 2002 Cadet World Championships in Antalya. Her parents were doubtful at first of their daughter's sport ambitions, as they did not believe she could make a living off it, but her coach encouraged her to go on.[5] She went on to earn a silver medal at the 2003 and 2005 Junior Fencing Championships.


Shemyakina began fencing in the senior category in the 2002–03 season. She climbed the podium at her second World Cup event with a bronze medal in Katowice. This result had her selected into the senior national team at the age of seventeen for the 2003 World Fencing Championships. She created a surprise at the 2005 European Championships by reaching the final after defeating Romania's Iuliana Măceșeanu. She then prevailed over Hungary's Hajnalka Tóth to win her first major title.

Shemyakina took part in the 2007 Summer Universiade in Bangkok and won the individual event after defeating Israel's Noam Mills.[6] For this result she was awarded the Ukrainian Order of Merit III degree by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.[7] A year after she qualified to the 2008 Summer Olympics by reaching the final at the European zone qualifier held in Prague. The 2008 European Championships held at home in Kiev were a major disappointment: she lost four pool bouts and did not qualify for the main table.[8] For her Olympic début in Beijing she was defeated in the first round by Panama's Jesika Jiménez.

After the Games, Shemyakina took a bronze medal at the 2009 European Championships after losing in the semifinals to Olympic champion Britta Heidemann.[9] In the 2009–10 season she won her first World Cup event in Doha and proceeded to earn a silver medal in Lobnya and a bronze in Nanjing. These results, along with a quarter-final finish at the 2008 European Championships, allowed her to finish the season World No.6. She earned her ticket to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as a member of the top-ranked European team in positions 5–16. In the individual event she saw off 2009 World champion Lyubov Shutova. She then beat World No.1 Ana Maria Brânză and reigning European champion Simona Gherman, both by a single hit. She defeated China's Sun Yujie in the semifinals, then overcame Beijing Olympic champion Britta Heidemann to win the Olympic title.[2] In the team event Ukraine lost to Russia in the first round, then to Germany and Italy, and finished last.

Shemyakina ended the 2011–12 season World no.2, a career best as of 2015. For her Olympic performance she was awarded a second Ukrainian Order of Merit III degree by President Viktor Yanukovych.[10] She was also named “Person of the Year”.[11]

After the London Games[edit]

After the London Olympics, Shemyakina took a break to focus on life outside of sport. She competed in four World Cup events, winning the Budapest Grand Prix, but did not take part in the 2013 European Championships nor in the 2013 World Championships.

The 2013–14 season she posted a second place at the Leipzig World Cup and a quarter-final finish at the Saint-Maur World Cup. At the 2014 European Championships in Strasbourg she lost in the quarter-finals to Romania's Simona Gherman, whom she had defeated in London at the same stage of the competition, but gained a spot in the Top 16, which qualifies for exemption from the pool phase in competitions. At the 2014 World Championships in Kazan she reached the semi-finals, where she lost to Italy's Rossella Fiamingo and took a bronze medal.

In the 2014–15 season she won a bronze medal at the Xuzhou World Cup[12] and at the Barcelona World Cup.

Personal life[edit]

Shemyakina married fencing coach Oleg Lopatenko in May 2013.[4] She is a student at the Lviv State University of Physical Culture.[1][9][13]


  1. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) Пекін-2008, Lviv State University of Physical Culture
  2. ^ a b "London 2012: Yana Shemyakina wins gold for Ukraine". BBC Sport. 
  3. ^ "Olympics fencing:Tearful Shin A Lam denied chance at gold]". BBC Sport. 30 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Elena Draga (15 July 2013). Яна Шемякина: «Бракосочетание отметили в мясном ресторане. Я так наелась стейков, что еле из-за стола встала» . Fakty i Kommentarii (in Russian). 
  5. ^ a b Yelena Sadovnik (13 September 2012). Ирина Шемякнна: «Я не верила мечтам Яны. хотела, чтобы она стала врачом» . Sport Express (in Russian). 
  6. ^ Fencing : Results presentation for students LUFK XXV World Summer Universiade, Lviv State University of Physical Culture
  7. ^ (in Ukrainian) Про відзначення державними нагородами України членів студентської збірної команди України на XXIV Всесвітній літній Універсіаді 2007 року EDICT OF PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE On awarding state awards Ukraine member student team Ukraine at the XXIV World Summer Universiade 2007, Verkhovna Rada (6 September 2007)
  8. ^ Anna Savchik (18 July 2014). Яна ШЕМЯКИНА: "Интересно было фехтовать с футболистом". Чемпионат мира . Sport Express (in Russian). 
  9. ^ a b Fencing : Yana Shemyakina - Bronze medalist of European Championship 2009, Lviv State University of Physical Culture
  10. ^ (in Ukrainian) УКАЗ ПРЕЗИДЕНТА УКРАЇНИ № 474/2012 DECREE OF THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE № 474/2012, Presidential Administration of Ukraine (15 August 2012)
  11. ^ Dmitriy Ilchenko (26 March 2013). Укол жар-птицы: Шемякина - Человек года . Sport Express (in Russian). 
  12. ^ Украинка Шемякина завоевала медаль Кубка мира по фехтованию (in Russian). СПОРТ bigmir)net. 17 November 2014. 
  13. ^ (in Ukrainian) Фехтування:Яна Шемякіна і Христина Стуй нагороджені іменними значками і дипломами МОК Nominal awarded badges and certificates IOC, Lviv State University of Physical Culture (16 November 2012)

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