Russian athletes have had to endure bans on the use of state symbols for several years. Sanctions of this type began to be applied to the national team a few years ago after several doping scandals. Our athletes, who were sanctioned by the International Federation (IAAF) in 2015, also achieved it.
However, not all members of the Russian athletics team considered these measures fair. Four years ago a brilliant young man made an unusual protest against the IAAF.
The video of the jumper immediately went viral.
“I won, but not quite”
Aksana Gataullina is the daughter of the famous Rodion Gataullin, a 1988 Olympic silver medalist in the high jump. The girl herself followed in her father’s footsteps and soon began to show outstanding results. The athlete was much talked about in 2019, when she won gold at the Junior European Championships.
Photo source: RIA Novosti
In continental competition, the use of Russian symbols was banned, as International Athletics Federation (IAAF) sanctions against the country were in effect at the time, all over long-standing doping scandals. Traditionally, our athletes performed with a white canvas instead of a flag and the anthem of the international federation instead of Alexandrov’s music.
The young athlete, however, did not want to put up with this state of affairs. At the final stage, Aksana conquered a height of 4.36 m, and he won the gold medal. At the end of the competition, the winners had to make a solemn circle around the arena, waving their flags.
Since it was impossible for the Russians to get their native tricolor, Gataullina decided to declare himself in his own way and conceived an unusual action. Instead of a flag, Aksana… wrapped herself in a brightly colored blanket: pink with polka dots. The tribunes appreciated the girl’s action and reacted with thunderous applause.
Photo source: IAAF
The action soon became a trend: users of social networks who saw the video of the Russian woman began to repeat the gesture. Soon, journalists even turned to Gataullina to find out what kind of idea the athlete was putting. Aksana explained that she, on the one hand, just wanted to play the fool, on the other hand, to convey the absurdity of sanctions for Russian athletes.
– I was happy that I won, but somehow not quite. You look at this white flag, you hear other music instead of the anthem, and you cannot rejoice. I don’t know about other guys, but I had such emotions, ”Gataullina said in an interview with Sport-Express.
Fortunately, there were no additional sanctions from the international sports authorities against the girl: the officials took her unusual action in stride. The athlete herself in the same year received the title of master of sports of international class, after which she began to perform at the adult level. Now Aksana’s collection already has three medals from the Russian Indoor Championships: silver in 2020 and 2022, as well as bronze in 2023.