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NEW YORK, December 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Legends of Soviet figure-skating Natalya Linichuk and Gennady Karponosov, the ice dance champions at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and two-time world champions, believe that the Russian school of figure skating remains unsurpassed and the athletes trained in its tradition will continue occupying the highest positions in the international competitions of various levels.
In their interview to Itar-Tass, they expressed confidence that the Olympic Games in Sochi would certainly offer a confirmation of the best aspects of the Russian school.
“Although there will be quite a number of strong competitors, one can be confident that Russian athletes will demonstrate their best qualities even if the competition is really tough because we don’t surrender anywhere and particularly in sports,” Natalya Linichuk said.
“For the first time ever, the (Winter) Olympic Games will be held at home and that’s why our athletes should - and will - turn out victors,” Gennady Karponosov said. “Russia’s leadership has created excellent conditions for our team. For the first time ever the president of the country is paying everyday attention to and giving huge assistance in the preparations for the Games!”
“I far I can remember, not a single Secretary General of the Soviet Communist Party or any other statesmen did so much for the development of national sports,” he said. “That’s why our guys shouldn’t even think of allowing themselves to say, well, we’ll kind of try to win, you know. They are obliged to win and they should look back at the examples set by Olympic heroes of the Soviet era.”
Linichuk and Karponosov, who are currently coaching U.S. and international athletes at the IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, Pennsylvania, described Sochi as a perfectly selected Winter Olympics venue. They said Americans feel jealous of the new sports facilities built in the south of Russia.
The pair that became figure-skating coaches upon the completion of their career as ice dancers said they would be delighted to take part in the Sochi Game but they could not do it because of other commitments.
“We’d be happy to take part in the Games as coaches but, unfortunately, the circumstances took a different turn,” Nataly Linichuk said.