On March 9, the 30-year-old Ukrainian danced for joy in the floodlights of Istanbul arena, celebrating her world indoor title and a new world indoor pentathlon record which made her the first woman ever to score over 5,000 points.
Left: Ukraine’s Nataliya Dobrynska performs a gold-winning jump during the women’s heptathlon competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. PIC/AFP
But just 15 days later, her husband Dmitry Polyakov, who was also her personal coach, died of an aggravating cancer at the age of 47. “He suffered from a sarcoma for almost the last two years,” Dobrynska told Ukrainian media ahead of her departure.
“He felt a regret that he couldn’t lead me into the London Games.”
Dobrynska said that despite her husband’s death she has carried out intense preparations for the 2012 Olympics. “I will do everything that depends on me to win a medal in London,” she said. “It will be the best possible tribute to the memory of my husband.”