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The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

Olena PavlovaNews
Serhii Semenov and Aita Gasparin knew each other for 6 years before their wedding

While Swiss biathlete Aita Gasparin is competing for medals at the 2024 Biathlon World Championships in Nove Mesto, former Ukraine national team leader Serhii Semenov is rooting for her off the track. The World Cup medalist and Small Crystal Globe winner postponed his wedding to a charming brunette because of the bombing of his native Chernihiv but eventually became related to a Putin fan through his bride's sister.

OBOZ.UA decided to recall the love story of a Swiss woman and one of the most titled athletes of our men's team, who was forced to interrupt his career due to illness.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

Even though Serhii had been competing at the World Cup since 2010 and Aita made her debut in 2012, the biathletes only met in 2016, when the United States and Canada were entrusted with hosting the event. During their next flight, Gasparin and Semenov received tickets for adjacent seats on the plane at the behest of an unknown employee of the International Biathlon Federation.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

"We were flying for about four hours. But we were very shy and eventually started talking only in the last 10 minutes of the flight. We managed to exchange only a few sentences," the girl later said.

"I liked her, but I was shy," Semenov admitted after a while.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

A few weeks after they met in the skies over North America, during the World Cup in Holmenkollen, the Ukrainian and Swiss national teams were accommodated in the same hotel.

"We sometimes met in the corridors or the dining room. At first, we limited ourselves to standard greetings: "Hello! How are you?". Gradually, we began to communicate more and more. It took us a long time to start dating," Aita recalled.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

By the way, at the same 2016 World Championships in Norway, Semenov won third place in the sprint. Before that, Serhii won a bronze medal in the relay at the 2011 World Championships. He also won the Small Crystal Globe in the individual race.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

After the end of the 2015/2016 season, Semenov and Gasparin went home and did not see each other during the offseason. Communication resumed at the first stage of the new World Cup in Östersund.

"And by the end of the year, we became a couple. I received the first flowers from him on Valentine's Day. In April, we went on vacation to Morocco. In the summer, we met at training camps: either somewhere in Switzerland, or in Antholz, Obertilias, or Ruhpolding. Only a year later, I went to see the places where Serhii was born and raised. It was a special trip," Aita said.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

"In Chernihiv, Serhii's hometown, there are many parks to walk in, everything is very nice. Once we went to Odesa for a few days. We just jumped in the car and went to the sea. We walked around the city a lot, visited several restaurants, and went to a nightclub. It was a lot of fun. I'll also remember Odesa because it was the first time I saw dolphins," the girl enthusiastically recalled.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

Gasparin noted that the Swiss and Ukrainians are completely different people in terms of mentality. For example, in her country, even a stranger is always greeted on the street, but we don't have that in Ukraine. However, in her opinion, Serhii does not have a 100% Ukrainian mentality, as he has spent a lot of time in Europe.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

Aita likes borsch the most from Ukrainian cuisine. However, since she is half Italian, you can often see dishes with Apennine roots on her table, which Semenov also loves.

The 2019/2020 season was the most successful in Aita's career - she finished 31st in the World Cup standings, and at the World Championships she finished in the top 10 for the first time in sprint and pursuit. According to the Swiss, Sergey had a lot to do with her success, as he made her feel happier.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

The Swiss woman is convinced that the external environment strongly influences the performance of an athlete, and the Ukrainian always tried to support her morally: "He showed me the results and told me that I was capable of achieving them. He gave me the mental strength to believe in myself."

In addition, sometimes they trained together - if the Swiss team didn't have a training camp, Aita could join the Ukrainian team with Yuriy Sanitra's permission: "Serhii and I are very similar in what we want, what we do, and how we work."

Semenov also noted that Gasparin has become an additional personal trainer for him, whose new and slightly different approach he greatly appreciates: "She takes training very seriously and professionally, has her own view on training, and doesn't just follow the coach's instructions, which was a surprise. I've changed a lot of habits in my daily routine, in my diet, and even in my everyday life. Nevertheless, the egoist in me still puts my personal opinion at the forefront."

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

After the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the lovers traveled to different countries and did not see each other for three months, which was unbearable for them. Since Gasparin is a border police officer, she worked at the airport during that time, checking bags, controlling entrances and exits, and looking for ways to meet Serhii, even somewhere neutral.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

As a result, when the opportunity arose to fly to Kyiv, albeit for only 48 hours, Aita did so, but did not say anything to Serhii, arranging for help from an assistant coach: "I arrived, and then this friend took me to a gas station. At that time, unsuspecting Serhii was returning home from a training camp. The bus stopped at the gas station, he got out and was just speechless."

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

And in early August 2020, an important announcement appeared on social media of the younger Gasparin sister: "Break out the champagne. I'm going to change my last name. I said yes." At that time, the couple was at a training camp in Sianky, and Serhii organized a trip to the dolphinarium and swimming with dolphins for his beloved.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

"There were these plastic rings that you have to throw into the water for the dolphin to bring them to you. I turned around, and Serhii was on one knee with a bunch of roses in his hands, and our song was playing. Only then did I realize what was happening. I was crying and smiling at the same time," the girl recalled.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

The wedding was scheduled for April 20222 in a village in the canton of Zurich. According to the bride, everything was planned to the last detail. However, the most beautiful biathlon couple had to postpone everything to September because of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Firstly, there was no festive mood, and secondly, 15 guests from Ukraine, including Serhii's parents, his relatives and a wedding witness, could not get to Switzerland in time.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

Semenov is from Chernihiv, and his mother spent a week without water and electricity while Russian occupiers tried to wipe out one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe. "But we have time, and we will get married only when everyone is safe and in the mood to celebrate something again," said Aita Gasparin.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

In addition, according to the Swiss press, the Gasparin family is also in a difficult situation, as Aita's older sister, biathlete Selina Gasparin, silver medalist at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, is the wife of Russian skier Ilya Chernousov.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

Although in 2020 Chornousov decided to become a Swiss citizen to play for the national team of the country where he lives with his family at the 2020 Olympics, and he got along well with Semenov, even celebrating Christmas with his family, in March 2022 the Russian showed his true colors.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

Chornousov, who claimed to feel at home in Switzerland, turned out to be a Kremlin servant. He supported the war with Ukraine by posting a photo of himself and Russian President Putin on Instagram, captioning it with the phrase "For sport. For peace!". Meanwhile, the Russians used the letter Z to mark military equipment used to kill Ukrainians en masse.

Chernousov and Putin

Although after a huge amount of criticism, Chornousov removed his shameful post, it was the end of his sports career. In August 2022, it was officially announced that he had become the coach of the Liechtenstein national team, which included only five athletes.

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It's hard to imagine what happened after that within the Gasparin family, but Selina stopped posting photos with her husband. He was also not visible in the photos from Aita and Serhii's wedding, which took place in Switzerland on September 23, 2022. However, Chernousov's divorce was not reported either, so Semenov had to become the brother-in-law of a fan of the Kremlin dictator.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

Aita told us that she wanted to take the Semenova surname after her sports career. However, for now, she needed to maintain the Gasparin sisters' brand while staying in sports. Before the full-scale war in Ukraine, they were going to live in Switzerland.

"Serhii likes that there are mountains and snow here. It is important for me that my family lives in Switzerland. Learning German is also easier for Serhii, so it will be easier for him to adapt to life in Switzerland than for me to adapt to Ukraine," Aita said.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

Unfortunately, first due to mononucleosis and then due to a broken rib, Semenov missed the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons and did not fly to his fourth Olympics. There was information that last season Serhii worked as a service man for the Swiss national team. And at the start of this season, he joined the Ukrainian B team and will serve as a service man.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid
The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

And in January, Semenov took part in the Baltic Games, an international biathlon and cross-country skiing tournament for military personnel in Latvia. He won the sprint in the ski race.

The Ukrainian biathlon star fell in love with a famous Swiss woman and unwittingly became related to a Putin fan: the romance began in the sky and survived the Covid

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