Ellie Koyander goes Russian for the Winter Olympics

Ellie KoyanderWe talked to Ellie Koyander, the 22 year old mogul skier and one of the youngest members of the UK national team. She had her day off on her training camp in Colorado, USA, where she gets ready for this year’s World Cup Tour and the next Winter Olympics which will be in Sochi, Russia in February 2014.

Why did you decide to learn Russian?

With the next Winter Olympics being in Russia I thought it would be great to be prepared and be able to speak some Russian.

My Grandma also has a Russian background, and so I’m really happy that I am finally managing to learn Russian with Rosetta Stone. Whenever I call her, I try to talk to her in Russian and she is really impressed with my progress so far.

Not long ago I was also at a training camp in Zermatt, Switzerland. Many national teams train there including the Russian team, and so I tried to impress them with the Russian I’ve learnt so far – and although I’m not fluent yet… it worked!

Why does Rosetta Stone work for you?

Rosetta Stone is a really interesting way of learning, it is simple and easy to use, and best of all, it tests you on your pronunciation and tells you where you are. It may seem daunting first, especially with Russian, where you have such long words written and pronounced so differently, but then there are the speaking exercises that break the pronunciation of a word down to the pronunciation of every syllable, which makes it a lot easier and has really helped me to understand what I’m learning.

It is great that you can always go back to activities you’ve already completed. Also the way the programme builds up content I like a lot, you start with words like man, woman, boy, then action words are introduced, after that you learn different animals doing different activities like run, sit, sleep – vocabulary is linked in a very clever way and speaking exercises are integrated in the core units in different ways.

You realise you learnt without actually learning, it is fun to learn a language that way!

Ellie KoyanderAre language skills important for your sports career?

Yes definitely. Russian will be very useful when I compete in the Winter Olympics in Russia in early February 2014. I look forward to holding a conversation with the Russian volunteers and fans, and I will just feel a lot more comfortable knowing words that will help me to get by. I realised how useful Russian skills are during the Olympic test event last season, where not many people actually spoke much English. Everyone was very interested in what we had to say, but I would have loved to be able to say more!

Do you speak any other languages? How did you learn them?

I learnt some French when I was at school. It is pretty similar to learn a language with Rosetta Stone compared to the way I learnt at school, you also start off with the simple and easy words, for example, I am learning the colours at the moment. What is different, however, is the fact that I can go back to what I learnt in the programme anytime and how often I want, in school you might have to move on and do not have that much control over your learning process and so I love the control of learning that Rosetta Stone provides.

You also work for Sky Sports on their Living for Sport programme which involves going into schools to talk with young people about their future and career, would you recommend learning languages to them?

Yes, definitely! It is just great being able to communicate to other people in their language. Especially when you are younger, I think Rosetta Stone works well because it is interactive and fun. It is just a cool and easy way of learning a new language and I’d recommend it to anyone!

Fantastic, Ellie, thank you for your time!

You can follow Ellie’s progress with Russian and to the next Olympics on Twitter.


Katharina is PR Manager at Rosetta Stone Europe. She is from Austria and loves languages. She lived in Italy and is now based in London. She speaks German, English, Italian, Spanish and some French and is now immersing into Greek. Do you want to learn a language, too? Try a free Rosetta Stone demo.

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