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By Olivia Kroth…
The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan’s capital city were held between July 23 and August 8, 2021. The Olympic delegation of Russians in Tokyo included 185 female and 150 male athletes. As always, the Russians showed dedication, discipline, fitness, strengh, talent and willpower. Therefore they won plenty of gold medals and stood on the winners’ pedestals many times. For two weeks, it rained gold on the Russian Federation. President Vladimir Putin was happy and sent congratulary telegrammes from the Kremlin to all Russian gold medal winners in Tokyo, praising their achievements, not forgetting the sport schools and trainers who had helped and enabled these sportive achievements. The Moscow Times reported that Match TV, the official Olympic broadcaster in Russia, refered to their athletes as“Nashi” (Ours), a term also associated with Crimea (“Crimea is Ours!”). The emotional attachment and national sentiment linked to “Ours” boosts Russian pride and loyalty to the state (MOSCOW TIMES, 02.08.2021). President Putin bestowed awards and orders on all gold medal winners of this great international sporting event (TASS, 09.08.2021).
On Sunday, the 25th of July 2021, the Russians got their first gold medal. “Russia’s Vitalina Batsarashkina (24) won gold in the women’s 10-metre air pistol competition. She set a new Olympic record with 240.3 points” (TASS, 25.07.2021). Vitalina Igorevna Batsarashkina (Виталина Игоревна Бацарашкина) was born in Omsk, on the 1st of October 1996. The Russian sports shooter had already won a gold medal at the 2018 World Championships.
Vitalina learned shooting early because one of her grandfathers was a professional hunter, the other a military officer. Her father was a policeman. By the age of 10, she had already learned the basics of shooting from them and owned her own rifle. However, she preferred to shoot with a pistol in her later career. At the age of 12, she took up sports shooting, coached by Natalia Kudrina.
On Friday, the 30th of July, Vitalina won her second gold medal in the women’s 25m rapid fire pistol event. She received the Russian President’s congratulations twice. In his second telegramme Vladimir Putin wrote:
“Dear Vitalina Igorevna! I sincerely congratulate you on your brilliant victory and the second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. You once again demonstrated the qualities of a real champion – excellent training, skill, self-discipline and will. You proved convincingly your superiority over strong, worthy rivals. Relatives and friends, coaches and mentors believe in you. All Russian fans are proud of you. I wish you new achievements and all the best. Vladimir Putin.”
NBC Sports noted: “Golden tones of Tchaikovsky concerto fete Russian winners in Tokyo. When Russian shooter Vitalina Batsarashkina stood on the podium to celebrate her gold medal in shooting at the Tokyo Games, somewhere composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky was smiling. True, the famed Russian composer died 128 years ago but his spirit—and his music—live on at these Olympic Games. The pounding strains of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 will be played during medals ceremonies when a Russian athlete wins gold” (NBC SPORTS, 25.07.2021).
“I did not set myself the goal to win gold here or even reach the final. I just wanted to shoot as well as I can,” Vitalina Batsarashkina said in an interview. On her instagram account we can admire her shooting, horseback riding or playing with her cats. Her motto: Everybody can be a winner by learning to be flexible enough about the concept of winning. – Каждый может стать победителем, научившись достаточно растяжимо относиться к понятию победы.
On Monday, the 26th of July, Russia’s national athletes Denis Ablyazin, David Belyavsky, Artur Dalaloyan and Nikita Nagorny won gold in the men’s artistic gymnastics team event with an aggregate result of 262.500 points.
Denis Mikhailovich Ablyazin (Денис Михайлович Аблязин) was born in Penza, on the 3rd of August 1992. Denis is a three-time European vault Champion (2013, 2014 and 2019), the 2014 European Champion on floor and rings, as well as the 2014 World Champion on floor.
David Sagitovich Belyavsky (Давид Сагитович Белявский) was born in Votkinsk, Udmurt Republic, on the 23rd of February 1992. The Russian artistic gymnast was part of the team that won gold in the 2019 World Championships.
Artur Grachyevich Dalaloyan (Артур Грачьевич Далалоян) was born on the 26th of April 1996. The Russian artistic gymnast was part of the team winning gold at the 2019 World Championships. Individually, Artur Dalaloyan is the 2018 World All-Round Champion. He is a five-time European Champion.
Artur Dalaloyan was born in Tiraspol, Moldovia, to an Armenian father and a Moldovan mother. Later, the family moved to Russia. Artur started with gymnastics at the age of six, while still living in Novosibirsk. After a year, his family relocated to Moscow, where he began training under Aleksandr Kalinin.
Nikita Vladimirovich Nagorny (Никита Владимирович Нагорный) was born in Rostov-on-Don, on the 12th if February 1997. He is the youngest of the Russian men’s team. He was part of the team winning gold at the 2019 World Championships. Individually, Nikita Nagorny is the 2019 World All-Around Champion. He is an eight-time European gold medalist and a three-time Youth Olympic Champion.
That same day, on the 26th of July, was a golden day for the Russian Federation. Sofia Pozdnyakova won the gold medal in women’s individual sabre fencing. Furthermore, she won another gold medal in the Russian women’s sabre fencing team, on July 31. Sofia is the 2018 World Champion in individual competitions. She is also the two-time winner of the European championship in team events.
Sofia Stanislavovna Pozdnyakova (София Станиславовна Позднякова) was born in Novosibirsk, on the 17th of June 1997. Both of her parents were professional fencers: her father Stanislav is a 4-time Olympic Champion, 10-time World Champion and 13-time European Champion in the sabre competition, as well as the President of the Russian Olympic Committee. Her mother Anastasia is a Master of Sports and secretary at the Fencing Federation of the Novosibirsk Oblast.
Sofia’s proud father posted on instagram: “July 26, 2021 will be an important day in the history of our family. My eldest daughter Sofia Stanislavovna Pozdnyakova became the Olympic Champion in the individual saber fencing event. Sofia started fencing at the age of 10. Since then, my daughter has become a completely independent athlete and personality.”
The Russian President wrote in his congratulary telegramme: “Dear Sofia Stanislavovna! Congratulations on your great, triumphant performance in Tokyo. In the saber fencing competition you brilliantly coped with the tasks and once again convincingly confirmed the highest class of skill, the ability to fight until the end and win. I wish you new achievements in your sport and all the best. Vladimir Putin.”
On Monday, the 26th of July, more gold rained on the Russian team. Maxim Khramtsov won a gold medal in the men’s taekwondo under 80 kg category event. Maxim Sergeevich Khramtsov (Максим Сергеевич Храмцов) was born in Nizhnevartovsk, Tyumen Oblast, on the 10th of January 1998. This Russian taekwondo fighter became the World Champion in 2017. He is also a two-time European Champion and Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin congratulated him by telegramme: “Please accept my heartiest congratulations on your triumphant performance. You demonstrated brilliant skills and a winning spirit at the 32nd Olympic Games in Tokyo. You won the first-ever gold medal in the history of Russian taekwondo” (TASS, 26.07.2021).
The young man announced on instagram: “I dedicate this victory to my MOM, who lived by me, who did absolutely everything so that I would stand on a pedestal with a gold medal around my neck, at this moment of my life. Thanks to everyone who rooted for me and believed in me.”
On Tuesday, the 27th of July, Vladislav Larin grabbed gold in the men’s taekwondo over 80 kg category event. Vladislav Vladimirovich Larin (Владислав Владимирович Ларин) was born in a village of Russian Karelia, on the 7th October 1995. The Russian taekwondo fighter is the European Champion and fivefold Grand Prix series winner.
When he was five, his family moved to the capital of Karelia. Here he practiced artistic gymnastics. In 2002, he switched to taekwondo. He attended and finishedhis studies at the Institute for Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Petrozavodsk State University. In August 2020, he married the ninefold Russian taekwondo champion Anastasia. Their wedding took place in Karelia.
Vladislav commented on his instagram account: “It tastes like pain, blood, tears, sweat, frustration, defeat, fatigue, exhaustion, despair, anger and more, but it’s worth it. I dedicate this medal to my grandfather, who is no longer with me. He really wanted to see this moment … He just did not hold out long enough … Grandpa, you are forever in my heart.”
The Russian President sent him a congratulary telegramme: “Dear Vladislav Vladimirovich! Congratulations on your remarkable achievement – winning the Tokyo Olympics. Your success is a bright testimony for the fact that martial arts in Russia are on the rise and that the domestic taekwondo school prepares worthy fighters with strength to tackle the most serious sports challenges. Keep it up! I wish you health, prosperity and luck. Vladimir Putin.”
Another Russian athlete with both hands full of gold is the swimmer Evgeny Rylov. He won his first gold medal in 100 m backstroke, on the 27th of July, and another gold medal in 200 m backstroke, on the 30th of July. In this event, he finished first with one minute and 53.27 seconds, setting a new Olympic record.
Evgeny Mikhailovich Rylov (Евгений Михайлович Рылов) was born in Novotroitsk, on the 23rd of September 1996. The Russian competitive Olympic champion swimmer specializes in backstroke events. He won three gold medals at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China. He also received gold at the 2017 Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
The ambitious Russian swimmer wrote on his instagram account: “200 gold on the back! Thank you very much for your support It was hard, not everything turned out as I wanted it but I’m happy with the gold. It was a good race. Guys, thanks! I’m glad to be part of the team. There are still a lot of interesting things ahead.”
The Russian President sent two telegrammes. In the second he wrote: “Dear Evgeny Mikhailovich! You represented our country with dignity at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, you won the second gold medal and set a new Olympic record. I sincerely congratulate you on your victory. I wish you all the best. Vladimir Putin.”
On the 27th of July, the Russian women’s artistic gymnastics team also won gold. “The squad of Russian athletes was awarded an aggregate result of 169.528 points. The gold-winning team included Lilia Akhaimova, Viktoria Listunova, Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova” (TASS, 27.07.2021).
Newsweek admitted that the victory of Russia’s women’s gymnastics team “made a splash”. Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote, “Russian gymnasts have proven that they are the best in the world. Our girls are our pride!”
The Russian President sent a telegramme to the successful team: “Dear Angelina Romanovna, Victoria Viktorovna, Vladislava Sergeevna, Lilia Igorevna! For the first time, Russia won Olympic gold in the team competition of artistic gymnastics. I sincerely congratulate you on your well-deserved victory. This success is a worthy reward for your talent and perseverance in achieving your goals, for your camaraderie, solidarity and your beautiful, graceful execution of the most difficult gymnastic elements. Beating eminent rivals in an honest and uncompromising struggle, you have filled a bright page in the chronicle of Olympic achievements. I wish you good health, prosperity and new achievements. Vladimir Putin.”
Lilia Igorevna Akhaimova (Лилия Игоревна Ахаимова) was born in Vladivostok, Russia’s Far East, on the 17th of March 1997. She has resided with her parents in Saint Petersburg, since August 2012. When she was five, her parents enrolled her in rhythmic gymnastics. Lilia studied sport and health at the Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education in Saint Petersburg.
In 2017, the Russian artistic gymnast won gold with the Russian team at the Summer Universiade in Taipei, China, and once more gold, in 2018, at the European Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2021, she received the title Honoured Master of Sport of the Russian Federation.
Lilia Akhaimova explained on her instagram account: “This path was very difficult for me. There were many tears, I fought until the last moment. I have gone through so much, now it seems that nothing is impossible. I’m happy. Once again, I want to thank my coaches, doctors, family, friends and everyone who helped me. I want to hug the whole world. A long-awaited vacation, recovery and many interesting things lie ahead.”
Angelina Romanovna Melnikova (Ангелина Романовна Мельникова) was born in Voronezh, on the 18th of July 2000. She began training in gymnastics at the age of six, after her grandmother brought her to a practice once. Angelina studied sport and tourism at the Smolensk Academy of Physical Education. After winning the team gold medal in Tokyo, Angelina wrote on instagram: “Good-bye without words. My story.”
The artistic gymnast had already been a member of the gold medal-winning Russian team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She won two gold medals with her team at the European Championships in Bern, Switzerland (2016) and in Glasgow, Scotland (2018). She furthermore got two individual gold medals at the 2017 European Championships in Romania (floor exercise) and the 2021 European Championships in Basel, Switzerland (uneven bars).
In 2016, Angelina Melnikova received the Order for Merits to the Fatherland as well as the title Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation. In 2018, she started her own business, designing and selling leotards. At the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, she was presented with the Prize for Elegance.
Vladislava Sergeyevna Urazova (Владислава Сергеевна Уразова) was born in Rostov-on-Don, on the 14th of August 2004. She began gymnastics at the age of four. Individually she is the 2019 Junior World Champion. In 2020, she became a senior and recieved the title Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation.
On her instagram account we can see Vladislava training individually and with the team, sailing, swimming and traveling. For the Olympics, she wished the Russian team “Good luck! Tokyo!”
Viktoria Viktorovna Listunova (Виктория Викторовна Листунова) was born in Moscow, on the 12th of May 2005. In April 2018, she appeared on the Russian talent show Blue Bird. In 2021, the junior Russian artistic gymnast became a senior and won gold in the all-around finals at the European Championships in Basel, Switzerland. Victoria’s message on her instagram account was short and to the point: “Yes! We did it! Thanks! Tokyo 2020.” Of course, she did it. Victoria is a born winner. Her name is a guarantee of victory. Nomen est omen.
On the 29th of July 2021, another female Russian team was victorious. Larisa Korobeynikova, Inna Deriglazova, Adelina Zagidullina and Marta Martyanova won a gold medal in the women’s team foil fencing event. The Russian President congratulated them in a telegramme:
“Dear Inna Vasilievna, Adelina Rustemovna, Larisa Viktorovna, Marta Valerievna! I am glad to congratulate you on your triumph in Tokyo. Your team cohesion, skill and spirit for victory helped you to reach the final confidently and defeat, at the decisive moment, your strong rivals from France. Undoubtedly, your success will be a worthy contribution to the development of our national school of fencing, strengthening the authority of Russia as a sports power. Well done! I wish you health, prosperity and good luck. Vladimir Putin.”
Larisa Viktorovna Korobeynikova (Лариса Викторовна Коробейникова) was born in Kurgan, on the 26th of March 26, 1987. The Russian foil fencer is a three-time World Champion and two-time European Champion with her team. She received the title Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation.
Larisa has been practicing fencing since the age of 7. She graduated from the Rostov-on-Don Institute of Physical Culture and Sports, a branch of the Kuban State University of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism. In 2013, she graduated from the Law Faculty of the Southern Federal University with a degree in jurisprudence.
Inna Vasilyevna Deriglazova (Инна Васильевна Дериглазова) was born in Kurchatov, Kursk Oblast, on the 10th of March 1990. The Russian foil fencer is a two-time team European Champion, two-time individual European Champion, three-time team World Champion, three-time individual World Champion and 2016 individual Olympic Champion.
She began fencing at the age of 8. Her Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro (2016) was the first for Russian fencers, since 1968. Inna graduated from the South-West University in Kursk with a degree in Jurisprudence. She is a Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation and a Captain of Russia’s Armed Forces.
Adelina Rustemovna Zagidullina (Аделина Рустемовна Загидуллина) was born in Ufa, Bashkortostan, on the 13th of January 1993. The Russian foil fencer is a two-time team World Champion (2016, 2019) and team European Champion (2016, 2019). She received the title Honoured Master of Sports of Russia.
Adelina studies at the Bashkir Institute of Physical Culture (BIFK) in Ufa, a branch of the Ural State University of Physical Education. This is the largest university of Bashkortostan for training specialists in physical culture, sports and tourism. Adelina has an instagram account, which shows her with the foil fencing team.
The youngest in the team is Marta Valeryevna Martyanova (Марта Валерьевна Мартьянова). The Russian foil fencer was born in Kazan, Tatarstan, on the 1st of December 1998. Her fencing club is Dynamo Tatarstan. Her trainers are Artur Akhmatkhuzin and Elena Prokhorova. On her instagram account Marta does not show a lot of fencing but we can see photos of her private life, family, friends and hobbies.
Tatarstan TV and Radio proudly reported: “22-year-old Marta Martyanova from Kazan won gold at the Tokyo Olympics in the finals of the foil tournament, where the Russian team met with the French. From the very beginning of the match, the Russians took the lead (5: 2, 14: 9, 30:20). During the fight, Marta Martyanova received a leg injury. Doctors gave her first aid and put her right on the track. Her injury did not prevent the national team from winning the match with a score of 45:34 to become Olympic Champions.
On the 31st of July, the Russian women’s team of sabre fencers won the gold medal, beating France 45-41. The team was represented by Sofia Pozdnyakova, Sofia Velikaya, Olga Nikitina and Svetlana Sheveleva. President Putin congratulated the four successful athletes in a telegramme:
“Dear Sofia Aleksandrovna, Olga Alekseevna, Sofia Stanislavovna, Svetlana Vladimirovna! I sincerely congratulate you on your beautiful and convincing victory in the team saber competition at the Olympiad in Tokyo. You performed with dignity, demonstrated excellent preparation, a firm will to succceed, skill and focus on the result. You have deservedly already won an impressive number of awards of the highest level. With your bright, spectacular, polished performances you have reaffirmed your undisputed leadership of our national fencing school. I wish you good health, prosperity and new achievements. Vladimir Putin.”
Sofia Alexandrovna Velikaya (Софья Александровна Великая) was born in Alma-Ata, Kazakh SSR, on the 8th of June 1985. She graduated from the Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sports, Youth and Tourism in Moscow. The Russian sabre fencer is a six-time team European Champion, four-time individual European Champion, six-time team World Champion and two-time individual World Champion. Furthermore, she is a Captain of the Russian Armed Forces.
Sofia received the title Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation. In August 2012, Sofia was got the Medal of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland for her great contribution to the development of Russian physical culture and sports, as well as her great sporting achievements at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
In August 2016, she was awarded the Order Of Honour for her high sporting achievements at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In 2016, she received the Medal For Military Valour, First Degree.
Svetlana Vladimirovna Sheveleva (Светлана Владимировна Шевелева) was born in Moscow, on the 26th of January 1997. She began to practice fencing under the guidance of coach Rustam Karimov at the Moscow City Sports Department, in 2006. Sofia graduated from the same university as Sofia Velikaya. The Russian sabre fencer became an Intenational Master of Sports, in 2017, and European Champion in team sabre fencing, in 2018.
Olga Alekseyevna Nikitina (Ольга Алексеевна Никитина) was born in Moscow, on the 26th of November 1998. In 2019, the Russian sabre fencer was part of the gold medal winning team at the World Fencing Championships held in Budapest, Hungary. She is an Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation and has the military rank of Junior Sergeant in Russia’s Armed Forces.
Russia’s female fencers achieved overwhelming success at the Olympics in Tokyo. They were not only astonishing but simply marvellous. TASS interviewed Alisher Usmanov, who is responsible for the rise and excellent results of Russian fencers. Moreover, he is known as one of the richest men of the Russian Federation, currently number seven on the Forbes list of Russian billionaires, with an estimated $18,4 billion.
Fencing at the Tokyo Olympics impressed even the most sophisticated sports fans. International Fencing Federation (FIE) President Alisher Usmanov largely takes the credit for the upsurge in interest in one of the oldest sports and for its wider acclaim around the world (TASS, 06.02.2021). In the interview Alisher Usmanov said:
“The Tokyo Olympics was a real triumph for fencing as a sport. It was truly a landmark event for all of us. I should highlight the outstanding efforts of the IOC officials, the Tokyo Organising Committee, the volunteers and all those who contributed to arranging the competition despite difficult epidemiological conditions. As far as sports events are concerned, they demonstrated that the FIE has been very successful in terms of universalizing the opportunities for athletes, regardless of their background and experience.”
“Many athletes and many teams scored their first victories — representatives from three continents rose to the podium in Tokyo. There were athletes from some countries that were participating in Olympic fencing contests for the first time. I believe that we are on the right track and we will keep moving forward with still greater vigour. As for my opinion of the Russian fencers’ performance, I believe it was excellent. However, Russian athletes will have to work hard to retain their leading positions. At these Olympic Games, their competitive edge was significant” (TASS, 06.08.2021).
On the 1st of August, the Russian tennis players Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev were lucky in the mixed doubles final. They triumphed 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 13-11, clinching gold for the first time as Russian tennis players in Olympic mixed doubles.
Anastasia Sergeyevna Pavlyuchenkova (Анастасия Сергеевна Павлюченкова) was born in Samara, on the 3rd of July 1991. The professional tennis player is currently the Russian No. 1 player in singles. She has been continuously ranked inside the top 50 worldwide, since November 2008. Anastasia has won 12 singles and five doubles titles on the WTA Tour, as well as five singles and eight doubles titles on the ITF Circuit.
Andrey Andreyevich Rublev (Андрей Андреевич Рублёв) was born in Moscow, on the 20th of October 1997. The Russian professional tennis player reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 7 by the ATP, in April 2021. He broke into the top 10 of the ATP Tour, in October 2020, having won eight ATP singles titles. He has a career-high doubles ranking of No. 67, achieved in May 2021. Andrey won his first of two doubles titles at the 2015 Kremlin Cup.
The Russian President congratulated the lucky winners by telegramme: “Dear Anastasia Sergeevna and Andrey Andreevich! Congratulations on your Olympic gold medal. With your victorious performance you added another bright page to the history of Russian elite sport and confirmed convincingly the leading position of our national tennis school. Well done! Special thanks to your coaches, mentors, national team specialists, teammates – everyone who supported you on your way to the top and ensured this spectacular Russian final in the mixed doubles tennis competition. I wish you good health and the conquest of new sports heights. Vladimir Putin.”
On the 3rd of August, the Russian wrestler Musa Yevloyev won gold in the men’s Greco-Roman under 97 kg competition with a final score of 5-1. Musa Gilaniyevich Yevloyev (Муса Гиланиевич Евлоев) was born in Ingushetia, on the 31st of March 1993.
In 2017, the Russian Greco-Roman wrestler won the Wrestling World Cup in Tehran, Iran. He is also a two time World Champion (2018 and 2019) and two-time European Champion (2019 and 2021). In 2020, Musa won the gold medal in the 97 kg event at the 2020 Individual Wrestling Wold Cup in Belgrade, Serbia. Furthermore, this athlete is a Lieutenant of the Russian Armed Forces.
“Lieutenant Musa Yevloyev returned to Moscow from Tokyo. Together with the army wrestler, the senior coach of the CSKA Greco-Roman wrestling team, Lieutenant Colonel Gogi Koguashvili, returned to the Russian capital. At the airport the representatives of the Central Sports Club of the Army were met by relatives and numerous friends, pupils of sports schools of the Army Club, representatives of the Government of the Republic of Ingushetia, as well as numerous media outlets” (FOREIGN AFFAIRS CO NZ, 09.08.2021).
The Russian President congratulated: “Dear Musa Gilanyevich! I sincerely congratulate you on your triumph in Tokyo. You worked hard to win the highest Olympic honour. In the final battle with an experienced and eminent opponent you demonstrated your iron will and a refined technique with focus on success. This confident, brilliant victory is an excellent gift to your coaches and mentors, as well as to all Greco-Roman wrestling lovers in our country. Well done! Keep it up! I wish you new sporting achievements and all the best. Vladimir Putin.”
On the 4th of August, the Russian synchronized swimmers Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina won gold in the artistic swimming duet free routine. The judges awarded the Russian pair 195.9079 points for their performance. After winning gold once more in the synchronized swimming duet at the Olympics in Tokyo, Svetlana Romashina wrote on her instagram account: “Well, it was a success! The SIXTH Olympic gold medal. Вот оно случилось! ШЕСТАЯ Олимпийская золотая медаль.”
Svetlana Alekseyevna Romashina (Светлана Алексеевна Ромашина) was born in Moscow, on the 21st of September 1989. The Russian synchronized swimmer boasts a total of 41 gold medals from competing in four Olympic Games, seven World Championships and six European Championships. She was placed first in all of these events.
By adding two more gold medals at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo she broke all gold medal records to become the most decorated athlete worldwide in her sport. After leading the Russian team of synchronized swimming to victory in Tokyo, Svetlana Romashina announced the end of her Olympic career, at the age of nearly 32.
Svetlana Romashina became a Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation, in 2005. Four years later, in 2009, the Order of Friendship followed, for her great contribution to the development of physical culture and sports, as well as high achievements at the 2008 Olympiad in Beijing, China. In 2012, Svetlana Romashina received the Order of Merit to the Fatherland, IV degree, for her great contribution to the development of physical culture and sports, as well as high achievements at the Olympiad 2012 in London.
The Order of Honour was given to her, in 2016, for high sporting achievements at the Olympiad 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the will to win and dedication. In 2021, the synchronized swimmer was awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky for her great contribution to the development of domestic sports, high sporting achievements, the will to win, perseverance and dedication shown at the Olympiad 2020 in Tokyo.
Svetlana Konstantinovna Kolesnichenko (Светлана Константиновна Колесниченко) was born in Gatchina, Leningrad Oblast, on the 20th of September 1993. The Russian synchronized swimmer is a three-time Olympic Champion, 16-time World Champion and 11-time European Champion. She was awarded the title Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation.
In 2016, Svetlana Kolesnichenko received the Order of Friendship for high sporting achievements at the Olympiad 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the will to win and dedication. Furthermore she got the Order of Honour, in August 2021, for her great contribution to the development of domestic sports, high sporting achievements, the will to win, perseverance and dedication shown at the Olympiad 2020 in Tokyo.
On her instagram account she wrote: “Hooray! We are immensely happy! Great words of gratitude to our dear trainers!– Ура! Мы безмерно счастливы! Огромный слова благодарности нашим дорогим тренерам!”
The Russian President congratulated by telegramme: “Dear Svetlana Alekseevna and Svetlana Konstantinovna! I cordially congratulate you on your Olympic triumph. We believed in you and waited for your beautiful, convincing victory. You did not disappoint us. As always, you performed brilliantly, captivating the fans with skill, grace and charm. Of course, you reaffirmed the undisputed leadership of our national school of synchronized swimming. I wish you new success and all the best. Vladimir Putin.”
Three days later, on the 7th of August, the Russian team of synchronized swimmers won the gold medal in ballet. TASS reported: “The team scored a total of 196.0979 points for two programmes. They were followed by China with 193.5310 points. This is the sixth consecutive time that Russian synchro swimmers have won the team events at the Olympics” (TASS, 07.08.2021). Besides the two great Svetlanas, these swimmers took part in the Russian water ballet:
Alexandra Vyacheslavovna Patskevich (Александра Вячеславовна Пацкевич), born on the 4th of November 1988 in Moscow; Alla Anatolyevna Shishkina (Алла Анатольевна Шишкина), born on the 2nd of August 1989 in Moscow; Vlada Alexandrovna Chigireva (Влада Александровна Чигирёва), born on the 18th of December 1994 in Rostov-on-Don; Maria Vladimirovna Shurochkina (Мария Владимировна Шурочкина), born on the 30th of June 1995 in Moscow; Marina Sergeevna Golyadkina (Марина Сергеевна Голядкина), born on the 13th of June 1997 in Donetsk; Polina Dmitryevna Komar (Полина Дмитриевна Комар), born on the 4th of November 1999 in Moscow.
On the 5th of August, the Russian boxer Albert Baturgaziev won a gold medal in the category under 57 kg. XINHUA reported: ”Albert Batyrgaziev won the men’s featherweight final with a split decision 3-2. He started confidently and kept pushing forward in the first round, gaining favorable 10-9 scores from four judges out of five. In the second round, the Russian outpunched his opponent with accuracy. He got four more 10-9, which secured the victory” (XINHUA, 07.08.2021).
“I’m happy that I managed to prove to everyone and to the judges that I deserved this victory,” Albert Batyrgaziev said. “There are no easy rivals. Taking part in the Olympic Games is a serious feat. All athletes here, all boxers command respect” (XINHUA, 07.08.2021).
Albert Khanbulatovich Batyrgaziev (Альберт Ханбулатович Батыргазиев) was born in the Babayurt District of Dagestan, on the 23rd of June 1998. As a teenager he began with kickboxing, before he took up boxing in earnest. He represented Russia as an amateur boxer at the 2019 World Championships, then made his professional debut, in 2020. Albert is an Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation.
The Russian President congratulated by telegramme: “Dear Albert Khanbulatovich! Congratulations on your golden triumph in Tokyo. You mastered the hardest final fight with honour, coping with the task brilliantly. The title of Olympic Champion, every athlete’s dream, is a well-deserved reward for your skill, hard work and strong will. I wish you success and all the best. Vladimir Putin.”
The Russian freestyle wrestlers made a splendid appearance in Tokyo, as they won three gold medals, three days in a row. First, Zaur Uguyev grabbed gold in the under 57 kg weight category, on the 5th of August. In the final clash he defeated India’s Kumar Ravi with the score of 7-4.
“Zaur Uguyev is a very entertaining wrestler, as befits a lightweight. The final fight turned out to be stubborn. And yet Zaur Uguyev always took the lead. Until the last seconds, the opponent did not give up, but at the end Zaur made a capture and retained a comfortable advantage. The final score of 7:4, brought well-deserved and beautiful gold for the representative of the Russian team” (OLYMPICS.COM.RU).
The Russian President wrote in his congratulatory telegramme: “Dear Zaur Rizvanovich! I congratulate you on your bright victory in Tokyo. As a two-time World Champion and medalist in the most prestigious tournaments, you won the first Olympic gold of your sports career. You confidently confirmed a high level of skill, demonstrated endurance and willpower, which even your experienced, eminent rivals could not resist. I wish you good health and further success. Vladimir Putin.”
Zaur Rizvanovich Uguev (Заур Ризванович Угуев) was born in Khasavyurt, Dagestan, on the 27th of March 1995. He is an ethnic Kumyk. The Russian freestyle wrestler, 26, is a two-time World Champion (2018, 2019) and a Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation. In 2021, he received the Order of Friendship for his achievements at the Tokyo Olympics.
On the 6th of August, another Russian free-style wrestler won gold. Zaurbek Sidakov grabbed gold in the free-style wrestling event, 74 kg weight category. President Putin congratulated the successful athlete by telegramme:
“Dear Zaurbek Kazbekovich! Congratulations on your triumphant performance at the Tokyo Olympics. Having shown bright champion qualities in a hard and tense struggle, you defeated strong rivals and proved in practise that you deserve the highest award. With your victory you have significantly strengthened the leadership position of our national school of free-style wrestling. I wish you continued success. Keep it up! Vladimir Putin.”
Zaurbek Kazbekovich Sidakov (Заурбек Казбекович Сидаков) was born in Beslan, Northern Ossetia, on the 14th of March 1996. Competing at 74 kg, he is a two-time World Champion (2018, 2019), a World Cup Champion and a European Games gold medalist. Zaurbek is a Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation. In 2021, he received the Order of Friendship for his achievements at the Olympics in Tokyo.
On the 7th of August, Abdulrashid Sadulaev won a gold medal for Russia in freestyle wrestling, 97 kg weight category. Abdulrashid Bulachevich Sadulaev (Абдулрашид Булачевич Садулаев) was born in Tsurib, Dagestan, on the 9th of May 1996. He belongs to the Avar ethnic group, stemming from a devout Sunni Muslim family, where he is the youngest of four siblings.
This Russian freestyle wrestler is widely regarded as the most dominant freestyle wrestler in the world, he has earned himself the nickname “Russian tank”. Abdulrashid is the 2016 Olympic Champion at 86 kg, a four-time World Champion (2014, 2015, 2018, 2019), a two-time Grand Prix winner (2014, 2018) and a two-time European Games Champion (2015, 2019).
He is an Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation, also a Junior Sergeant of the Russian National Guard troops. The freestyle wrestler got the Order of Friendship for high sporting achievements at the Olympiad 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. He received the Order of Honour for his great contribution to the development of domestic sports, high sporting achievements, the will to win, perseverance and dedication shown at the Olympiad 2020 in Tokyo.
Of course, the Russian President lauded his achievements in a congratulatory telegramme: “Dear Abdulrashid Bulachevich! Congratulations on your triumphant performance in Tokyo. You met the hopes of coaches, mentors, numerous fans. You demonstrated a real fighting character, fortitude and the desire to win. By repeating your former success at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, you have proved that the Russian national freestyle wrestling school is rightfully considered as one of the best in the world. I wish you strong health, prosperity and good luck. Vladimir Putin.”
The 20th and last gold medal was won by Maria Lasitskene, on the 7th of August. In women’s high jump she cleared 2.04 metres. In an interview with TASS her coach lauded her achievements. Maria Lasitskene proved to be the queen of high jump at the Tokyo Olympics, according to the Russian head track and field coach Yuri Borzakovsky.
“I am very happy for Masha’s success, my warmest congratulations to her. This season turned out to be harder than ever for Masha but she managed to get over it. She is the true queen of high jump,” Yuri Borzakovsky said (TASS, 07.08.2021).
Maria Aleksandrovna Lasitskene (Мария Александровна Ласицкене), née Kuchina, was born in Prokhladny, Kabardino-Balkaria, on the 14th of January 1993. She is the 2020 Olympic Champion and three-time World Champion (2015, 2017, 2019). With her victory in Tokyo, Maria Lasitskene became the fourth female high jumper in history to win gold at both the Olympic Games and the World Championships.
Maria is a Captain of the Russian Armed Forces and an Honoured Master of Sports of the Russian Federation. She also holds the title “Honoured Worker of Physial Culture and Sports” of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic. Furthermore, the Russian Ministry of Defence awarded her the Medal For Military Valour.
In 2016, Maria received the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, II. degree. In 2021, she was given the Order of Friendship for her great contribution to the development of domestic sports, high sports achievements, the will to win, perseverance and dedication shown at the Olympiad 2020 in Tokyo.
President Putin sent his congratulations by telegramme: “Dear Maria Alexandrovna! Congratulations on your brilliant victory in Tokyo. Being the only three-time World Champion in the high jump competition, you again successfully defended the honour of our Russian national school of athletics. Your exceptional skill, self-discipline and self-confidence brought you the first Olympic gold in your sports biography, as well as sincere joy to your numerous Russian fans. I sincerely wish you prosperity, good luck and new achievements. Vladimir Putin.”
It is interesting to note that 12 gold medals – out of overall 20 – were won in fighting sports, used for attack or defence: four gold medals in wrestling, three in fencing, two in pistol shooting, two in taekwondo, one in boxing. The gold medals in pistol shooting and fencing were won by women, those in wrestling, boxing and taekwondo by men.
Moreover, it is noteworthy that many of the winning athletes stem from Russia’s Caucasus republics: Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Northern Ossetia. The Caucasus has always been a stronghold of tough fighters. This seems to be the case even today.
One last remark may be permitted about the connection between military exercises and sports training. Quite a few of the Russian female and male athletes, winning gold in Tokyo, are officers of the Russian Armed Forces. Military and sports go hand in hand in the Russian Federation.
It is comforting to know that the Russian Federation’s younger generations are patriotic sportspeople, able and willing to defend their homeland. May these youthful, patriotic, tough athletes enjoy a bright future, good health, success and win plenty of gold in further Olympic Games.
Olivia Kroth: The journalist and author of four books lives in Russia. Her blog: https://olivia2010kroth.wordpress.com
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.