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SOCHI, February 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian short track skaters Viktor Ahn and Vladimir Grigoriev won a historic victory in men’s 1000 m competition at the Sochi Olympics on Saturday, February 15, Alexei Kravtsov, President of the Russian Skating Union, said.
“Frankly speaking, I was quite confident already after the quarterfinals that we would win,” Kravtsov told ITAR-TASS. “Although (the quarterfinals were) hard and challenging, we did well. And then, my last doubts vanished after recognized leaders had not shown up. What happened on Saturday is a historic event.”
Ahn said a team tactic had helped him and Grigoyev win gold and silver medals on Saturday. Ahn has become the world’s first athlete to win four gold medals in short track competitions.
“Vladimir and I agreed on the tactic in advance. We planned to win these medals. But things did not go they we planned at first, and we are very happy to have won first and second places,” Ahn said.
“We are one team, and these medals are the best result of our joint work” he said. “Each time we pool our efforts, we succeed. This is what matters most of all.”
Kravtsov believes that Russian short track skaters can win more medals in Sochi. “We have made it to the relay finals to be held on February 21, and there is still a men’s 500 m competition ahead, where both Grigoryev and Ahn can do a good job, judging from the results of this year’s World Cup. Plus, there is Semyon Elistratov, who has not used his potential to its utmost yet. On the other hand, one can never be sure in short track,” he said.
He admitted that “Denis Yuskov’s debut at the Olympics has not been very successful. He finished the 1,500 m race showing his usual time, and I am not sure if he could have done it better. But I do know that he is a very talented athlete, and he will win his gold at the next Olympic Games,” Kravtsov said.
Speaking of Ivan Skobrev, who has been trailing behind at the Sochi Olympics, Kravtsov noted that the athlete had obviously chosen some other goals and priorities for himself than Olympic medals. “He was more of the face and voice for Russian speed-skating here in Sochi than he was a runner. So his result did not surprise me,” he added.
Kravtsov pins hopes of women’s heats. “We hope that our girls will make it to the semifinal. But it all depends on the lot drawing and who will become their opponents — the Dutch or the Koreans. But then, these are Olympic Games and nothing can be predicted,” he said.