Tagged: champion

Dame of the Day: Irina Krush

Irina Krush

Today’s Dame of the Day is Irina Krush (December 24, 1983-). Born in Ukraine, Krush moved to Brooklyn, New York with her family when she was five. As a high school student, Krush participated on her school’s competitive chess team. In 1998, Krush won the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, becoming the youngest champion ever at age 14. Since her initial victory, Krush went on to dominate the competition, winning the title in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Dame of the Day: Keiko Fukuda

Keiko Fukuda

Today’s Dame of the Day is Keiko Fukuda (April 12, 1913-Feburary 9, 2013). Growing up in Japan, Fukuda began practicing judo; her parents allowed it because they thought she would eventually marry one of her instructors. Over the course of her career, she became the highest ranking woman in the sport’s history. At the age of 98, Fukuda was promoted to the rank of 10th dan; only fifteen people have reached this level, and Fukuda is the first woman to achieve it.

Rest in Power: Natalia Molchanova, Champion Freediver

On August 2, Russian freediver Natalia Molchanova dove off the coast of Spain and never resurfaced. While her whereabouts are unknown, search efforts subsided after three days of efforts yielded no results. Over the course of her career, Molchanova set 41 world records and won 21 gold medals. She was the first woman to pass 100 meters diving with constant weight and the first woman to dive on one breath through Egypt’s Blue Hole arch. On some occasions, her dive times have bested those of the top male competitors.

Natalia Molchanova

Image courtesy of The Guardian

While some viewed Molchanova’s passion for diving as reckless, members of the diving community argued the opposite. The sport requires tremendous levels of focus and calm, allowing the divers to respond to underwater stress and hold their breath to complete the dive. Fellow divers remembered her tremendous spirit, her investment in her competitors’ successes, and her incredible focus that seemed to get better with age.

natalia 2

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

As a practiced diver, Molchanova understood the risks and took necessary precautions to minimize unnecessary hazards; unfortunately, we may never know what led to her untimely death. But as her colleagues attested, risk is a part of life no matter what a person does; Molchanova’s expert knowledge of the ocean and her razor-sharp technique made the sport seem as risky as any other part of life. Her confidence in herself and her abilities led to tremendous success in a field where anyone else might crumble, serving as an example of how to dream big and chase lofty goals. We salute you, Natalia.