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Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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Olympic athletes told what they will do after the sports boycott of Russia

Vladimir Putin received the athletes in the Kremlin. Photo: Sergey Bobylev/TASS

THEY ARE NOT COUNTRIES COMPETING, BUT ATHLETES

Vladimir Putin received the athletes in the Kremlin. He was the first to congratulate the gold medalists:

– Our athletes have become a real decoration of the games. The third Olympiad has already been held in Beijing, where Russia has the absolute leadership in women’s single skating. Surprisingly beautiful, the virtuous skates of our girls remain unattainable for the peak of rivals, – said the president.

Having finished with a salute, the head of state addressed the awards. Our champions, Valieva, Gallyamov, Chervotkin and the rest, received orders from Putin. Katsalapov and Spitsov received the Orders of Honour, the rest – the Orders of Friendship.

Separately, the president congratulated figure skater Kamila Valieva, who just turned 16 on the solemn day, and skier Alexander Bolshunov, who received five medals at the games.

The Russian leader and the winners of the games broke the rules a bit by drinking a glass of champagne. And a little later, in the great Hall of St. George in the Kremlin, Putin met with all the winners of the games, including bronze and silver.

The head of state admitted that our athletes were hit by politics. And Paralympic athletes were not allowed to compete in Beijing, and now participation in international competitions is in doubt.

– Discrimination occurs for purely political reasons. This is incompatible with Olympic traditions, because it is not the states that compete, but the athletes, said the President.

– The International Swimming Federation suspended Evgeny Rylov for 9 months simply because he came to the concert. This situation is a big problem,” he added indignantly.

The Russian leader and the winners of the games broke the rules a bit by drinking a glass of champagne. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / Press Service of the President of the Russian Federation / TASS

IT WAS A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT

Two athletes did not go to the Kremlin to meet with the president. Figure skater Anna Shcherbakova had the Eteri Tutberidze show in Nizhny Novgorod on the same day; the contract turned out to be more important than prestige. And our famous skier Alexander Bolshunov just complained about his health.

– I’m sick. The rest of the guys should be at the meeting, – said the coach.

A couple of hours before the meeting with Putin, all the silver and bronze Olympians gathered in a room called the Malachite Foyer. I noticed that many of them are nervous. Either because of the solemnity of the moment, or because of vague career prospects.

– What are your plans for the future? – I ask Paralympic skier Varvara Voronchikhina. The girl could not perform in Beijing, but she took gold in the consolation winter games “We are together. Sport” in Khanty-Mansiysk

– International competitions are very important. It is impossible to develop competing only within the country, because you really give your best only when the strongest athletes on the planet face you. Now it’s hard for me to talk about plans. While I will finish my education (the girl is studying to be a physical education teacher – Ed.) And I will keep fit to show everyone abroad when international competitions open for us.

– What did you feel when you found out that you couldn’t perform in Beijing?

– We have already managed to test the Olympic aspect in training, there was only one step left… I experienced a huge disappointment. She even cried.

– How did it all happen?

– Well, we arrived in Beijing on February 26. At first we were told that we would compete without a flag, only under the International Olympic Committee flag. The training and control races began, we were allowed to compete. But on March 2, two days before the start, the organizers announced the total non-admission of the team. I have been going to this for 13 years. I hope he can still make it to the next Olympiad.

The head of state admitted that our athletes were hit by politics. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / Press Service of the President of the Russian Federation / TASS

WE DIDN’T LOSE SO MUCH

“It’s hard for a lot of people right now. But they don’t quit sports just like that, hockey player Alexander Nikishin, a silver medalist in Beijing, told the KP.

– Team games generally live by their own rules, rather than being a high-achieving sport.

– Indeed! We are constantly training, playing against other teams in the KHL (Nikishin plays for Spartak Moscow). We haven’t lost much. I will continue studying, I will compete with the best and I will wait for everything to end.

– Is it a pity that they didn’t take gold in the Olympic Games?

– I still would. We weren’t weaker, but what to discuss now…

– What do you plan to do next? Russian hockey players are loved everywhere.

– The NHL is unlikely to be closed to our players. There, the influence of international politics is minimal: the results and the victories are important for the clubs. Therefore, all good players have the opportunity to try their luck at Western clubs. But I still like the KHL.

Literally a day before the meeting of our teams with Putin, Joe Biden received three hockey players from Russia at the White House at once. Kucherov, Sergachev and Vasilevsky as part of the Tampa team won the Stanley Cup.

EVERYONE WANTS TO COMPETE WITH OUR SKATER

Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin spoke at the meeting about Russia’s plans to hold its own figure skating Grand Prix.

– We are working on this proposal together with the Figure Skating Federation in order to provide athletes with a competitive calendar and training conditions. Sport is an eternal competition. And everyone wants to compete with our athletes,” the official said.

Matytsin added that the most important thing now is to keep the athletes motivated.

Previously, athletes received prize money from international federations for winning competitions. For many, this money was the main source of income. But now this wallet has been closed.

– Sports bases that were previously located abroad are transferred to Russia. There are funds to pay prize money and to organize international competitions, – promised Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko.

But for now, the Olympians will also have to tighten their belts.

Freestyle skier Anastasia Smirnova (bronze at the Beijing Olympics) told the KP that no cars will be awarded to medalists this year. For the first time in 16 years.

Instead of new BMWs (each of which already attracts 20 million), Olympic athletes will receive gifts on the card. The amounts were equal to the state prize money: 4 million rubles for gold, 2.5 million for silver and 1.7 million for bronze.

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Source: www.kp.ru

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