Medal prospects for Tatarstan Olympians —

Ice hockey players have two, I hope Yevgenia Tarasova has another

The Russian Figure Skating Federation has not announced the squad for the team event, as expected. That is why Realnoe Vremya journalist Jaudat Abdullin makes his predictions for the performances of Tatarstan athletes in Beijing 2022 excluding the potential participation of Evgenia Tarasova in the team event.

Hockey: thank you, NHL

The NHL’s refusal to send hockey players to the Beijing Olympics simplified our team’s path to gold. There can only be one problem. We thought the same before last year’s world championship where Team Russia lost to Canada in the quarter-finals, the latter barely reaching the quarter-finals from fourth place in the group.

Yes, the Russian team’s problem with two Ak Bars players Dmitry Voronkov and Timur Bilyalov (a year ago Bilyalov did not play, Ilya Safonov yes) talks about them. The Russians have such players who would play in the first and second teams are in reserve. The squads of other national teams can be analyzed during the tournament itself, which is quite long, let’s keep that in mind even if the competition seems short. We remember that at the previous Olympic Games, ours even let themselves lose against Slovakia, which did not prevent them from finishing first, while the Slovaks did not even reach the semi-finals.

For example, one should not analyze the Russian team to become sad because it has seven players from CSKA Moscow. Recall that a SKA-CSKA mix went to Pyeongchang, because everything you want is done in Russian hockey. Victory four years ago extended this process, and now hockey players will fight for gold, not even to receive money for the Olympics later, but to get leniency for the next few years by hinting that all is well in Russian hockey.

The Russian team with two players from Ak Bars Dmitry Voronkov and Timur Bilyalov. Photo:

Is the “heiress” of Khristina Vyalbe?

Christina Matsokina who will participate in the sprint race will represent Tatarstan in skiing. A year ago, we dreamed that she could be part of the relay race team. But she didn’t, nor did she get a spot on the sprinter team. And now we should count our steps back that Tatarstan ski community has made. She will have little reason to be happy with medals like in Pyeongchang where Andrey Larkov (silver and bronze) and Anna Nechayevskaya (bronze) have been on the podium three times.

Unfortunately, in a race for team success in the Russian championship and the Russian Cup that the Tatarstan team has won in recent years, we did not win medals in the world championship last year, but we lived with the hope of performing it again in Beijing. We won’t. First Tatiana Sorina and now Veronika Stepanova joined the leading duo Natalia Nepryayeva and Yulia Stupak. Should we be happy about Matsokina’s competition at the Games? Yes, of course, but it’s an obvious setback, even if we don’t compare it with 2018 and Sochi 2014 where the national team already included Anastasia Dotsenko and Natalia Zhukova. Maybe it’s time we stopped calling Khristina’s heiress Yelena Vyalbe, she’s her compatriot, since both come from Magadan. While it looks like Alexander Bolshunov is now Vyalbe’s ‘heir’ given the number of awards.

Khristina Matsokina who will participate in the sprint race will represent Tatarstan in skiing. Photo:

If we take a look at the post-Olympic future, it doesn’t get pleasant. Judging by age and dynamics, precisely Tatarstan’s ski leaders are about to retire, and the next four Olympic years do not promise that an athlete from Tatarstan will be in the national team. Given this, it’s time to change the concept that sheer numbers, not prowess, was the focus. The swimming leadership of the republic has already been through this, they cannot figure out who will represent Tatarstan at the next world championships and European tournaments, which will be held in Kazan. Sooner or later, skiers will also have to decide that less is more, and that one champion is better in any case than ten masters of the sport.

Principle of remainders

Danil SadreevThe career of should be long within the national team. The only problem is that ski jumping is one of the weakest Russian sports in the Winter Olympics. The situation is worse than in an alpine suit. But this is not a reproach to Sadreyev himself given the attention paid to his sport, his Olympic debut is already a sporting breakthrough.

It is interesting to note that some sports are now developing according to infrastructure. So, at a recent meeting of the Youth Ministry, it was announced that four members of the Russian extreme sports team would move to Tatarstan: Danil Bogatyryov from Izhevsk, Vitaly Konstantinov from Anapa, Arseny Lyubishkina from Krasnodar and Daria Nabatova, born in Moscow. All this happened because an extreme park appeared in Kazan where the mentioned athletes can train and prepare for competitions. It is a kind of base for traditional sports, the representatives of which spend time at Lake Krugly or in Novogorsk.

Danil Sadreyev’s career in the national team is expected to be long. Photo:

Another Beijing Olympian Milena Bykova appeared in the Tatarstan team thanks to the conditions created in Sviyaga Hills near Kazan. Bykova has already finished fourth at the 2019 World Championship. She was tenth in Pyeongchang. However, even in the national team, Milena is second after Sofia Nadyrshina, which does not allow us to make optimistic predictions for medals. Victor Wild and Vlad Khadarin are people who are just going to represent Tatarstan at the Olympics, that’s all. Paradoxically, the American-born Wild is even closer to Tatarstan than the Russian Khadarin, since Vic lives in Russia despite breaking up with his wife Alyona Zavarzina.

While Khadarin has lived in Italy since he was a child, where his parents moved but decided to compete for Russia unlike, for example, snowboarder Yury Podladchikov who won gold at Sochi 2014 competing for Switzerland. At the same time, American Wild won two gold medals for Russia. Why is he representing Tatarstan now? Why not, he competes for the team of our republic not only in the Olympics, but also played for it in Russian competitions. This is a common practice when the athletes belong to a region. In the end, Krasnodar Krai was one of the beneficiaries of the Sochi Olympics as it had Viktor An, figure skaters Volosozhar and Trankov.

Wild, born in the United States, lives in Russia and will represent Tatarstan at the Olympics. Photo: Maxim Platonov

Olympic gold can not to be insignificant

The situation with the figure skater team event again shows how hollow the comments and opinions of the various specialists can be. So many people have talked about the insignificance of the team event compared to the individual competition. so the opinions have remained in the past, while the fact is a fact: many articles about the upcoming figure skater competitions in Beijing are devoted to the different arrangements for the team event.

The author of the report had the chance to hear the opinion of ten people who created their “dream team”. Figure skating team competition has more intrigue than individual competitions. Hence the question: representatives in which discipline to replace and who is ready to perform the short and free programs. There is a dilemma: who will line up for the short program, and who will perform the free program in the event of a substitution. The main question is who will participate in the team event. The answer was promised yesterday, since the Russian figure skaters who were officially part of the team were going to do their first training on the ice in Beijing. But the plot has not yet been revealed.

Especially for those who consider that the team event is incomplete unlike the individual event. American Ashley Wagner appeared on several TV shows after Sochi 2014 and was touted as an Olympic bronze medalist. Even though she was only second in the country team after Gracie Gold. Anything related to the Olympics is more appreciated than any other international competition anyway. I cross my fingers for Yevgenia Tarasova!

Jaudat Abdullin


The author’s opinion does not necessarily coincide with the position of the editorial board of Realnoe Vremya.


Rose D. Jones