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SOCHI, February 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian mogul skier Alexander Smyshlyaev, who won the bronze medal in mogul skiing at the Winter Olympics in the southern Russian city of Sochi, was prepared to fight for Olympic medals technically and psychologically, head coach of Russian freestyle team Alexei Pokashnikov told reporters on Tuesday.
On Monday, Smyshlyaev has won the Olympic medal in mogul skiing for Russia after an interval of 20 years. At the Winter Olympics in Norway’s Lillehammer in 1994 Sergei Shupletsov has won the silver medal in mogul skiing, Yelizaveta Kozhevnikova has won the bronze.
“Russian mogul skiers did not have such success for last 20 years, our freestyle skiers have won the latest Olympic medal at the Winter Olympics in Italy’s Turin in 2006 (Vladimir Lebedev has won the bronze medal in freestyle skiing - Itar-Tass),” the specialist recalled. “We realized that Alexander has good chances to become a medalist, but we were afraid of making forecasts and predicting something. Smyshlyaev was prepared to fight for medals technically and psychologically. This can be judged by his performance in the third final, where it is difficult to qualify, notwithstanding a higher result. But despite tough competition and serious pressure Alexander coped with his emotions and performed successfully,” the head coach said.
In the view of the head coach, warmer weather in Sochi could not have affected alignment of forces in the tournament. “Such insignificant air temperature fluctuations could not affect his performance. Mogul skiers got accustomed to any changes,” the coach pledged. “This did not come as surprise for anyone. We are staying in Sochi after all, not on the North Pole,” he noted.
Pokashnikov also distinguished Alexei Pavlenko and Andrei Volkov, who failed to advance in the second stage of mogul final.
“I was pleased with Pavlenko, who did not rise higher than 28th place at the Freestyle World Cup, came 16th today, entering the world mogul elite. It is impossible not to value this. Alexei is our Olympic hope and it was just important for him to ski perfectly in Sochi,” the head coach noted. “Andrei Volkov has also made a step forward, taking the 17th place. I am glad to note that we had three athletes in the final. Only Canada had more mogul skiers in the final. So, if team competition had been held in our freestyle discipline Russia would have taken the second place,” the coach added.
Smyshlyaev to receive 2 mln rub regional prize
Governor of Perm Territory Viktor Basargin issued a decree awarding the Olympic bronze medalist with a 2-million-ruble regional prize, the information policy department of Perm territorial authorities told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
All school students and teachers of the sport school Ogonek, where Alexander Smyshlyaev started training, and his whole native city were supporting him, a source in the sport school told Itar-Tass. “I know him from early childhood, I know his mother, she worked at a sanitary epidemiological station in our city, so, she frequently visited the school, I know his wife Olga, she also trained at our school before. I did not sleep all night and watched Sasha’s performance, as he was our school inmate! I have already called up Olga in the morning and congratulated her with the success of her husband,” director for sport activity at the sport school Ogonek Vladimir Mitrofanov said.
In his view, the bronze medal is a success for Alexander. “We should be realists. I believe that he is a good fellow!” Mitrofanov said.
Meanwhile, the sport school has bought a new big TV set particularly for the Olympics start so that children would be able to watch performances of their fellow countrymen. For instance, Ruslan Sharifullin was a member of Russian Olympic freestyle team at the Winter Olympics in Turin and now he is a coach. He was watching Smyshlyaev’s performance with his trainees at the sport school and cheered for him.
Smyshlyaev said in his interviews after the performance that he dreams now only about some rest and a meeting with his family, his daughter. “When I was watching trainings at home, my daughter cried out, “Dad is great!”, because she understands everything. I recorded this moment on video. I was watching it before going to sleep yesterday. When I was standing at the start before the final run, I tried not to think that the fate of medals is at stake now. I was thinking about my daughter and immediately calmed down. She is my talisman. I dedicate my victory to her,” the Perm athlete said in an interview.