Olympics 2018: Legends also cry


21 Feb 2014. Sochi. Biathlon team of Ukraine celebrates his victory in the Olympic relay. Photo: Reuters

More recently, the Ukrainian fans along with the world sports community lamented about the fact that the Norwegians have not found a place in their Olympic team for the king of biathlon, OLE Einar Bjoerndalen, and now “trouble” came in our house: you will not be able to perform at sixth career Olympics the most titled Ukrainian cross-country skier Valentina Shevchenko.

Ukraine at the XXIII winter Olympics will be represented by 33 athletes. That is how much fulfilled the selection criteria and included in the application of the Ukrainian team, approved by the international Olympic Committee and the organizing Committee of the Games -2018.

We are represented in 9 of 15 sports, namely in biathlon (11 athletes), Luge (6), skiing (4), figure skating (4) freestyle (3), downhill skiing (2), and will also have one representative in snowboarding, Nordic combined and, for the first time in the skeleton.

Along with the emergence of the domestic sporting map of the skeleton, however, solely due to family contract of Vladislav and Michael Geraskevich, as well as the breakthrough of mogulette Tatyana Petrova, draws attention to the fact that for the first time since Nagano 1998 passed the silver position quantitative indicator ski race. In Pyeongchang in this sport, our country will be represented by only four athletes, and among them, we will not see long-time leader of the national team Valentina Shevchenko.

The games in Pyeongchang in 2018 was supposed to be for the bronze medalist of the world championship-2009 and the winner of the Small crystal globe-2003/2004 sixth in his career. She made her debut in Nagano 1998, where all four races were in the Top 20. Best Olympic result, the 42-year-old skier remains in fifth place in salt lake city in 2002. Although it is difficult to tell where she had more chances on a pedestal – there are thirty of classics with a separate start, or maybe, after all, four years later at the same distance, the ridge in Turin 2006, where she stayed in the lead most of the race and eventually finished ninth. Yes, in fairness it should be noted that the race with the unloved of our athlete mass start, but this did not prevent her from later to win bronze in exactly the same format at the world Championships in Liberec in 2009, leaving behind two Norwegians Therese Johaug and Kristin Stare. Today it seems, perhaps out of science fiction.

After a year on the Games in Vancouver Shevchenko had to play with broken ribs and she was unable to rise above ninth place. In Sochi-2014 the best result Valentina was a 14-th place in skate skiing depends mass start on 30 km, which again exceed one of the compatriots could not.

This Olympic cycle began with the fact that the personal trainer of the sportswoman, who led the recent years and the entire Ukrainian team, Valeriy Foresters moved to Kazakhstan. Incidentally, he is going to the Olympics in Pyeongchang, and more again, along with Shevchenko, not only with Ukrainian, and Kazakhstan (Anna Shevchenko, winning five medals, became one of the main heroines of the world Universiade-2017, held in her home in Alma-ATA).

First, parting with years of mentor (although in absentia, he still continued to oversee the preparation of the Ukrainian athletes), and then another very significant loss. In 2015, the garage in Brovary, where Shevchenko kept the inventory was a burglary and made fifty pairs of skis, poles, boots and even a massage table. To understand the scale of the tragedy can only those who understand how the result today in the ski race depends on logistics and who knows how many years it took the sportswoman and her coach to assemble this impressive collection..

All this, plus age, of course, could not fail to make itself felt. If previous Olympics Shevchenko was qualified due to the so-called “red group”, that is, the Top-30 overall world Cup standings, thereby bringing additional quota of Ukraine. This time she had, so to speak, on common grounds to fight for FIS points needed to get to the Olympics.

Few people know that early in the season, Valentine was sick and had to miss the first half of katki at the training camp in Finland. Only by December she the results began to catch up to their less famous teammates Tatiana Antipenko and Marina Antsibor. Respectively to finish a half marathon qualifying annual Shevchenko was only third among the representatives of Ukraine in General for men and women Olympic ranking, the so-called Quota allocation list for OG-2018.

As of January 15, when the Ukrainian skiers after speaking at FIS-competitions in Tysovets and before departure for a final camp in Kazakhstan, came in outfit center NOC in Kiev, they had only four licenses: two that are given to each country (one for the strong and the weak sex), plus two additional since we had one representative among men and women in the Top 300 Olympic FIS Points List on distances (or sprint).

However, the Olympic form that day tried from five, in addition to the above mentioned Antipenko, Antsibor and Shevchenko, also Kateryna Serdyuk & Alexey Krasovsky. Andrey Orlik kit had to transfer later, as he was preparing for the Junior world championship in Switzerland, also, by the way, as Julia Krol. The most optimistic projections, our coaching staff, she could also get a ticket to Korea.

The calculation was on the reallocation of licenses, but rather on the fact that not all countries will want to use your maximum quota of twenty people in the first place. Secondly, in the above mentioned Quota allocation list is only one of the Norwegians was around 70, this despite the fact that cross-country skiing at the Olympic games the IOC in the graph, the number of participants takes only 310.

Antipenko and Anzibar, which took in the overall ranking of 331 and 346, respectively, according to the calculations, our coaching staff had to go up to the number of counts after redistribution of quotas, and if there were also Serdyuk (368), then Shevchenko (398), which for a long time was third among women in Quota allocation list (only at the end of the draft, they traded places with Serdyuk), would receive an additional license for remote Top 300 and the base would crawl.

Based on the experience of the previous two Olympiads (from the sheet-expectations in Sochi in 2014 we have got two people, Vancouver-2010 – and at four), there was no reason not to believe that this time in late January we will get raises at least two quotas to the existing four. And yet, before departure to Kazakhstan we have just in case asked the coach of the national team of Ukraine Alexander Putsko how would he act if he had to choose men to send to Korea.

– The international ski Federation (FIS) reserves the right of choice for the NOC. noted Putsko, But according to our internal selection criteria, the license needs to the one who earned it.

Yesterday, the NOC announced the final squad for the Games in Pyeongchang in 2018, which, as we suggested earlier, steel antirekordnaya quantitative indicator for years of independence of Ukraine. Even on our first White Olympics in Lillehammer in 1994 we had more representatives – 37. Now 33, almost two times less than it was in salt lake city in 2002.

Unlike mogulette Tatyana Petrova, for the Ukrainian skiers waiting list turned into a sheet of frustration. Two female quotas that were left were the higher rated marine Anzibar, which is behind the Games in Vancouver and Sochi, and Tatiana Antipenko, for which this will be the fourth career Olympics.

Anna SAVCHIK, Sport-Express in Ukraine

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