Although I’m interested in sport more than in anything else, bobsleigh was not my cup of tea. I wouldn’t follow it, nor would I watch it on TV. But when my favourite armwrestling competitor – Alexey Voyevoda, boarded the bob I totally got into that sport.
I got to know all about pushing the bob to achieve maximum velocity, jumping in and winning against rivals by fractions of seconds. I was into it. All this way, a few steps - trained by two-or four-person crews, ended with a jump into the cockpit, and hellish ride down the ice track – it’s amazing! And of course, specific training, other than in a number of sports disciplines. And there aren’t as many bobsleigh tracks as football stadiums. There are few places where one can train. A few conversations with Lubomir Jagnesak, a Slovak armwrestler, who has just begun to practise bobsleigh, were enough for me to become a fan of this dangerous sport.
Alexey Voevoda – I do not need to remind you of his armwrestling achievements. You also know that a few years ago he was chosen to join the Russian bobsleigh team. As you know, the next Winter Olympics in Sochi are to be held in 2014. Alexey Voevoda has become a “Sochi Ambassador” as a famous athlete and a resident of this city.
We wrote about it here: and here:
Whenever Alexey turns up at armwrestling events, he’s always surrounded by a crowd asking only one question: “When will you fight again?”.
Alexey would always reply: “Just give me some time. I’ll take part in the 2014 Games and I’ll leave the track to get back to the table. I promise! Once I pay my duty to my country, I’ll start doing what I love.”
In these words everyone feels Alexey’s sorrow over armwrestling and pride in representing Russia at international events like World Championships, and above all the Olympic Games. Alexey was and is a patriot, these are not just empty words for him. I remember when he was just about to start his match at the NEMIROFF WORLD CUP 2003, he crossed himself and whispered “Go ahead Russia!”. It was a meaningful gesture..
Incredible agility, dynamics and coordination help Alexey for he’s the one who accelerates the bob and enters it very quickly. The achievements of our armwrestler include:
At the Olympics Alexey won:
2006 Turin – silver medal in fours;
2010 Vancouver – bronze in two-man event;
At the World Championships he won:
2008 – bronze in two-man event;
2011 – gold medal in two-man event.
And now let’s see how it looks against the achievements of Russian bobsleigh as a whole?
The Russians are a power in the sport, it’s obvious. No matter, winter or summer, individual or team. There are few disciplines in which we do not see athletes in track suits with the word RUSSIA and earlier USSR on the podium.
However, in some sports (not many, but still) athletes of the Soviet Union and later Russia did not have outstanding achievements. Let’s look at the tables. If we were to count all the medals won at the Winter Olympics by the Soviet Union from 1956 to 1988 – we would get 194 medals in all competitions. With only 3 medals bobsleigh comes in seventh on the list of the disciplines. It’s not much...
With definitely fewer citizens and lesser area in comparison with the USSR, today Russia gets less winter Olympic medals.
It looks like this: [gold, silver, bronze, total]
1994 Lillehamer 11, 8, 4, 23;
1998 Nagano 9, 6, 3, 18;
2002 Salt Lake City 5, 4, 4, 13;
2006 Turin 8, 6, 8, 22;
2010 Vancouver 3, 5, 7, 15;
Total: 36, 29, 26, 91;
Here we can observe a downward trend, once the “reserves” of the previous regime and sport management ran out.
How many medals did bobsleigh get in comparison with other sports? Not many.
It looks like that:
Cross-country skiing - 28;
Figure skating - 21;
Biathlon - 20;
Speed skating - 10;
Freestyle Skiing - 3;
Bobsleigh - 2 (one silver, one bronze);
seventh of 12 disciplines.
The total number of medals won by USSR and Russia at World Championships is not impressive.
First place in the table - Germany 50, 36, 35, = 121 medals.
Russia takes 13th place 0, 3, 5, 8.
The Russians won:
in 2008 bronze in two-man event;
in 2009 4 place;
2011 – gold.
With the competition in Lake Placid the bobsleigh team begins their fight for the World Cup. This is the 29th edition. In the new year the bobsleigh caravan will visit the German bobsled track in Altenberg and Koenigssee, to move to a nearby Igls. Cup competitions in Austria will be co-championship of Europe. This time the World Championships will be hosted by the cradle of the sport, the Swiss St. Moritz. Then the final at the newly built Olympic track located about 60 kilometers north-east of Sochi.
The pre-Olympic season is of course the qualification for the Olympic Games. Ranking points determine how many states and crews from different countries will fight for Olympic medals. The best can count on three places in pairs and fours.
Given the basic facts and the general background we can move to the climax, the conversation with Alexey.
Alexey, what is it?
Well, we all came to terms with the fact that we would have to wait for the return of Alexey until the end of the Games. And what a surprise!
Igor Mazurenko called Alexey just to ask the usual question, what’s up? In response he heard – “I do not know if I manage to put up with them till the Olympics!”
What’s going on?!
I will try to accurately quote this emotional interview, which I witnessed.
Alexey Voevoda: - ”I do not know if I bear this situation till the end of the season, and then till the Olympics. It’s getting more and more difficult for me to get along with the team management. I do not know what’s going on! As an Olympic and world championships medallist they want me to join the third crew. Experts believe I’m the best brakeman and I may end up on the substitutes’ bench! You know, Igor I don’t even feel like training ... There is no atmosphere in bobsleigh as in armwrestling where we fight on the table, but after the end of the match we’re friends. I miss this atmosphere. In bobsleigh there are arguments and competition inside…”
I must admit that I was really shocked to hear that.
Igor Mazurenko asked: - “In what form are you?”
Alexey Voevoda: - “Well, I need two months to get back to my previous form. But, if I have four months, I’ll come back stronger than ever! Now I do not suffer from any injuries, my arms are all right. I do spar with Denis Cyplenkov from time to time and I have no problem with him. Of course – my hands hurt after a meeting with him, but I love that feeling!”
Igor Mazurenko: - “When?”
Alexey Voevoda: - “If I survive to Sochi I won’t wait any longer! But, once again, I say that now I’m on the edge. It may be that I will quit it tomorrow or next week ... My current weight is 114 kg, biceps 51 cm, 47 cm forearm. Wait for me!”
When the conversation was over we were both in a daze.
I think now as you read that - you are feeling the same ...
We'll write about any news related to Alexey.