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IRKUTSK, February 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Only a gold medal will suit Russian bobsledders in four-man event at the Winter Olympics in the southern Russian city of Sochi, coach of Russian Olympic bobsleigh champion Alexander Zubkov and senior coach of Irkutsk regional bobsleigh team Pavel Koloedov told Itar-Tass by phone on Tuesday.
“All of us congratulated each other, but we will not celebrate anything as long as four-man heats are held not to cast an evil eye on them,” Russian merited coach said. “If looking at all his medals 70% of Zubkov’s victories were won in four-man events. Before the start of competition we decided that we need just a medal in two-man race and we mainly stake on four-man event,” he noted.
“Alexander is in a very good physical shape. Certainly, this is a serious age for the athlete (39 years), but he was also feeling his traumas. But all this is individual. Motivation was mostly important for Zubkov on the bobsleigh track,” the coach believes.
As for possible end of sport career of the Russian athlete, Koloedov noted that “he lacked only a gold medal for this.” However, he is not prepared to say confidently about the end of his sport career. “If Voevoda, who also goes in for arm wrestling, said immediately that he would not get in a bob after four-man Olympic event, Zubkov did not make such statements,” the coach noted. “It is needed to understand that this is not the nineties of the previous century now, this kind of sports is paid well and is supported worthily by the state authorities. I believe that much will depend from what will be offered to Zubkov,” he added.
Zubkov, who started training in bobsleigh at the age of 10 in the Russian Siberian city of Bratsk, Irkutsk Region, will celebrate two anniversaries: his 40th birthday and 30 years in bobsleigh this year. Koloedov has trained the bobsledder from 1989 up to 2010, so, for the Winter Olympics in Canada’s Vancouver, where the athlete had won the bronze medal. The athlete still has close relations with the coach, who had trained him for more than 20 years.
In 2010, upon proposal from the governor of Irkutsk Region Zubkov decided to head the regional sport ministry, but then he changed his decision and made up his mind to continue his sport career after all. The regional government did not comment on the opportunity of a new vacant post for the bobsledder in this government, which will pay more than one million rubles to him for the Olympic gold medal.
Alexander Zubkov was born in the city of Bratsk on August 10, 1974. He is the silver medalist of the 2006 Winter Olympics in four-man event and the bronze medalist in the 2010 Winter Olympics in two-man event. He is the world champion in two-man bobsleigh race in 2011, three-time world vice-champion in four-man event, two-time bronze medalist at the world championships. He was a banner carrier of Russian Olympic team at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.