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Deja vu

9-10 (2011)
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Dreadful result of Vancouver, as sports officials assured, in many respects was an accident, and it should be proved in this season already. However, in all World championships, which taken place by now, our compatriots have won «gold» only in two Olympic disciplines from 80: bobsleigh pair team, led by Alexander Zubkov and snowboarder Alyona Zavarzina in parallel giant slalom. For more information see the review of the «Reporter».

Dreadful result of Vancouver, as sports officials assured, in many respects was an accident, and it should be proved in this season already. However, in all World championships, which taken place by now, our compatriots have won «gold» only in two Olympic disciplines from 80: bobsleigh pair team, led by Alexander Zubkov and snow-boarder Alyona Zavarzina in parallel giant slalom. Apparently, to win team event in Sochi, we need absolutely new generation of champions who, we will hope, are still hidden from the public view.

Biathlon: a failure in the house championship

Anticipating the house World championship, we waved away failures of local scale — we would show ourselves in Khanty-Mansiysk. But we didn't. Only three silver medals and absolute (none medal) failure of a female national team are the results comparable to Vancouver fiasco. Relay race, when after the first stage we lost more than three minutes to leaders, and RBU president and the main sponsor of the Russian biathlon oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov dismissed trainer Anatoly Hovantsev, who was responsible for preparation of national team, right during the race, became apogee of tortures for our girls.

Snowboard: come on, girls! This year Ekaterina Tudegesheva became the owner of snowboard World Cup, and Alyona Zavarzina won World championship gold in parallel giant slalom. Now (if, God forbid, traumas won't prevent) are the main favourites of Games in Sochi. In men's snowboard competition is great, and there are no traditions of preparation of the top-sportsmen in Russia. But there is the ambitious youth, which does not feel piety to the leaders of a world snowboard. Experts lay great hopes on Alexey Sobolev, for example, who in 19 years became the winner of one of the stages of «adult» World Cup.

Bobsled and skeleton: legend returns

The success of this season for Russian bobsleigh team depended, as a matter of fact, on the answer to one question: whether Alexander Zubkov will return to big sports? He has returned.

Together with Alexey Voevoda Zubkov serially won the European and World championships in pair bobsleigh, and then took also a World Cup. In four Alexander's results were more modest, nevertheless he became the third in this discipline in the team Cup event.

At skeletonists the nonrandomness of the Vancouver success was confirmed by Alexander Tretyakov, who has won silver at the World championship. In Sochi Tretyakov will also have an opportunity to study the Olympic track very carefully. His main competitors can't do this. So, we are waiting for his victory also.

Skating sports: a name of one hero

Spectators of the whole world could see the eyes of the best Russian skater of the last years Ivan Skobrev shining with happiness, practically, during all winter season. Having thoroughly warmed up at several commercial starts and having won their considerable part, Skobrev for the first time since 1987 has won for our country the World championship in classical all-round events. Already having the status of the King of the skates, he has won two more awards in the March World championship in Calgary on separate distances.

Skis: talented, but unorganized

Trainers and experts connected the main hopes of worthy performance of the Russian skiers with Alexander Legkov who, apparently, after the unsuccessful Olympic Games (in Vancouver he was the fourth in individual race) came out on new level, winning successively at World Cup stages. Unfortunately, once again at the crucial moment Legkov hasn't managed to show the class, he was left far behind the prize-winners in individual races bungled relay race in the World championship in Oslo for Russian team. The dropped banner of the leader was picked up by Maxim Vylegzhanin, who has twice (in biathlon and mass start) lost only to the greatest skier of the present, Norwegian Petter Northug.

Hockey: the end of Bykov's epoch

Uncertain game, five defeats, absence of medals for the first time for last five years — these are World championship results in Bratislava for the Russian national team. They were not unexpected. Bykov had no time to prepare national team — «Salavat Yulaev» had won Gagarin's Cup, having left the leader only 13 days for selection of players, their physical and tactical preparation, the analysis of contenders' performance.

Thus, for some reason, this time there was no that mad power, which Bykov could share with his wards. Both decisive matches — semi-final with Finns and game for bronze with Czechs — are lost by Russians without any chances, and the next stage of epoch-making competition with Canadians was for them because of brilliant ten-minute in the third period — the unique bright moment of all tournament.

Figure skating: not that level

The World championship in Moscow has once again shown: now all stars of figure skating have proud, but not our names. A rising star of the Russian man's skating, «second Plyushchenko», Arthur Gachinsky has won «bronze», however, his loss to the champion, Canadian Patrick Chan, was catastrophic — almost 40 points. And Gachinsky was not so bad. Chan with his two fourfold jumps, both in the cascade, was so good! The similar situation was in dances, where our pairs Bobrova — Solovyev and Ilyinykh — Katsalapov, with their good skating, looked sportsmen of other level in comparison with «aliens» North Americans Virtu — Moir and Devis — White. The reputation of domestic school was supported by pairs, which took three places in the first five: Volosozhar and Trankov — the third, Kawaguchi and Smirnov — the fourth, Bazarova and Larionov — the fifth.

Team event place at the Olympic Games in Vancouver for the number of gold medals

1

Canada

14

1

Canada

14

2

Germany

10

3

USA, Norway

9

5

Korea, Switzerland

6

7

China, Sweden

5

9

Austria, the Netherlands

4

11

Russia

3

12

France, Australia, Czech Republic

2

15

Poland, Italy, Byelorussia, Slovakia, Great Britain

1

Unofficial team event place in the winter season for the number of gold medals in the World Championships

1

Norway

14

1

Norway

14

2

Germany

11

3

Canada, Austria

9

5

USA

6

6

The Netherlands, Korea, France, Sweden

4

10

China, Australia

3

12

Russia, Finland

2

14

Italy, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia

1


Author: Sergey Semyonov