Saskia Alusalu became an internet sensation on Friday when she served as the flag bearer for Estonia during the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
The 24-year-old Alusalu is a speed skater for Estonia.
At the 2018 Winter Games, Alusalu becomes the first Estonian female speed skater to compete in a Winter Olympics event.
Alusalu, who was born in the small village of Adavera, got into speed skating when she was 12 years old. Before speed kating, she did track and field and skiing. Ultimately, she focused on speed skating and began making history in her country.
On her way to becoming the first Estonian female speed skater to compete in the Olympics, she was the first skater in the World Cups to represent Estonia.
When asked who her favorite athlete is in another sport, Alusalu said she looks up to Estonian heavyweight gold medalist Kritjan Palusalu, who became the first and only wrestler in Olympic history ever to win both the Greco-Roman and freestyle heavy weight events.
“Kristjan Palusalu, because everyone thought that he is too caring to be a good athlete, but he still won Olympic Games in 1936 in Berlin,” she said in an interview prior to her Olympic appearance.
“Also, my family name comes from him! In Estonia people were able to pick names after the war was over, and my grandfather chose to make our name from this famous athlete, so he made our last name Alusalu.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea take place from Feb. 9 – Feb. 25. Speed skating events will begin on Saturday, Feb. 10 and run through Saturday, Feb. 24 with all 14 events being held at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung.