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Q & A: Emil Milev

Alex: What has driven you after all these years to continually compete? Are things easier or harder here in Ameri- ca in regards to training? Emil: In the beginning, it was the curiosity and the drive to get better. Later on for me, it became an addiction. Shooting was, and still is, a way of life for me. It is something I love, something I know and something I want. Since moving to the U.S. 10 years ago, things became different. It got harder in the sense that I can only do it after work, weekends, during vacations, at night, or early in the morning. Sometimes, I’m very tired, but it is a lot easier in a sense that I’m surrounded with people who are only trying to make it easier for me. My personal coach, Vladimir Chichkov (your dad), organizes all my schedules and training...Everyone from USA Shooting makes me feel needed, important and a part of something bigger.

Alex: After fi ve diff erent Olympic Games, has anything changed with how you view the sport? Do you see it in any diff erent ways? Emil: I treasure every memory from all fi ve Olympics. It is something you don’t get used to in any way. I like shooting even more, and I want to do it more, on all levels. In the fi rst four, I needed to perform on the highest level; it was a necessity since it was my job. London 2012, however, brought a different feeling - one of enjoyment and fulfi ll- ment. Now, I feel good about going into a match because I know that I am doing it for the love of the sport.

Alex: Being a Physical Education teacher and juggling family life with train- ing, have you found any optimal way of doing all three on any given day? Emil: I’m still looking for the best way to do that. Having 30 hour days would do it… probably. I’ve found that the best way it works for me is to set my priorities and follow them. Also, it is good to have the understanding and support of my family and coaches, and to have the support of my colleagues in school.

Alex: Who has been your greatest motivation in the shooting sports? Emil: There are a lot of shooters I admire and look upon for motivation. Ralph Schumann, Matt Emmons, Kim Rhode are all shooters who can make all the complexity of the sport look easy. But it’s not just the world-class athletes. It’s seeing the enthusiasm of beginner shooters and the excitement of winning their fi rst competition.

Alex: What is your formula for becoming a successful shooter? Emil: Learn from your mistakes. Every mistake is a lesson, and if the lesson is learned, it will make me a better shooter. Winning is great, but not winning has its purpose. Have fun, every second of practice, match, and a day off. This helps me concentrate better and makes it easier to handle the stress of a competition.

Alex: What about the U.S. do you prefer over Bulgaria? What type of environment do you think is best for a top level athlete? Emil: I like the level of support I receive here. I feel like everyone around me genuinely wants me to succeed. It makes me feel like a part of a team. Also, being amateur feels great! I’m looking forward to a good practice, small or big competition, or even just talking about the sport...There are positives on both sides. There are great athletes in both places. Personally, I prefer living the way I do now. It is not easy, there are still a lot of obstacles to overcome every day, but in the end I know I will enjoy shooting.

Year in Review 2014 | USA Shooting News 23

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