The senior coach of the Russian national ski team Yuri Borodavko told Sport about the training of the leaders of the national team Alexander Bolshunov and Natalia Nepryaeva, as well as shared a tough opinion on the policy of international sports organizations.
The whole team had been ill with covid
– How did the team approach the first snow start, did they manage to fulfill all the planned volumes?
“Unfortunately, not everything was done. First of all, due to the fact that this year we have been plagued by diseases quite often. And this happened in the most key months – August and September, where we planned to start tough interval work. Many failed to do so. But the training camp that was planned, we held. Yes, there were minor shortcomings, as in August in the Elbrus region. than usual?
– This year we were preparing in Russia, there were a lot of moves, many contacts, stations, the same Terskol, where there are a large number of vacationers. There was an epidemic, almost everyone got sick. We were often at home, we had a lot of contact with the sick. The usual human factor.
– COVID-19? br>- In fact, everyone was ill with covid in August – September. Seriously enough. Masha Istomina's temperature did not subside for two weeks, and the whole illness took more than three weeks, that is, without training, in fact, a month. It's hard.
– During the height of the epidemic, there was a lot of talk – to be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated.
– Today, as practice shows, this does not always help, because everyone has high, high titers of antibodies, but people still get sick. And when such high rates, vaccination is not recommended. The immune system has to work, but it doesn't always work. New strains.
– There is a lot of talk about Bolshunov now, are there any details on his damage, forecasts for recovery?
– I ran while exercising, slipped, fell, got bruised soft tissues. They did an MRI, everything is clear, but it will take time for the injury to pass and the muscles to recover.
– How long is this?
– From a week to ten days.
– He is now in a new role, the role of a father . Has his behavior changed somehow, how does he feel?- Sasha has become more open, jokes a lot, communicates. Nothing has changed in training, he is still very demanding of himself. The only thing is that I began to monitor my health more closely. He enjoys fatherhood, is constantly in touch with his family, shows photos that Anya sends. Now Anya and Eva have come here, to Khanty-Mansiysk.
– Did any of his foreign colleagues congratulate him?
– I think what “yes. He has good friends abroad who, despite everything, do not change this friendship for politics.
Two principles are fighting in Bach – human and bureaucratic
– When it comes to politics. We all hoped to the last that the FIS would make a positive decision on the admission of Russians to the starts. Did this faith live in you?
– For Russians, hope always dies last. But we were preparing for the worst so that the situation would not take us by surprise. A calendar was drawn up, according to which we are already starting to compete, and the places for the training camp were determined. Everything is thought out. Up to the holding of an alternative to the World Cup – 2023 competitions. At the same time. We prepared for non-admission both mentally and physically. I think that the athletes understood all this.
– Where will this tournament take place?
– Initially, it was planned to be held in Sochi, but Gazprom refused to hold it on the ski slopes, and there is no homologation on the biathlon, there are no various circles where both classic and skating races could be held. Technically, we cannot hold competitions in Sochi. Therefore, we turned to the ski center “Malinovka” in the Arkhangelsk region with a request to take these competitions. Both the governor and the owner of the sports complex gladly responded.
– What are the main starts of the season now?
– Here are the alternative competitions “Champion Heights” and the championship of Russia. Plus, at the end of the season, the final of the Cup of Russia, which will be held in Kirovsk, Murmansk region, where our sponsor built a ski stadium, tracks, lighting. It is likely that this stadium will later host the Russian championships, and maybe even training camps.
– Returning to the topic of politics, doesn't it seem strange to you that the head of the IOC strong> Thomas Bach, in the same speech, can say that the athletes are not to blame and should not suffer, but at the same time call for an extension of Russia's suspension?
– This suggests that two principles are fighting in a person – human, he is still the president of the IOC and perfectly understands what is happening in the world. And the second person is the one who is under pressure, who is ordered and forced to perform certain actions that internally contradict him. Because of the boycott, he did not get to the Olympics in Moscow, so he understands this situation very well. How short is the age of an athlete. It can be seen that two principles are fighting in him: human qualities, which are still not completely bent, and the fact that he is being crushed. But there is not enough fortitude to say that I do not agree with this position.
– What forecasts could you make for the future?
– A lot depends on the political situation. Through sport they are trying to influence us, this is the direction that is saturated with the strongest Russophobia. Much will depend on how the elections to the US Congress will be held, how the governments in the European Union will change, how they will survive the winter, how effective the protests of the EU residents will be. Lots of factors. We can only watch, and the strongest lobby continues to pressure. More and more companies that stayed and remained in the Russian Federation are leaving. It doesn't bode well for us. If in the economy there is an opportunity to turn our rails from West to East, then in sports, unfortunately, we are subordinate to public organizations that are under the IOC. The pressure will continue, but the situation may change dramatically. Many who travel to Europe say that the locals are friendly to the Russians, there is no resentment and negativity, they don’t throw bottles in the back. Politicians and people today are two big differences. Much will depend on when the conflict ends and in what form. But there are no bright expectations.
– Ready for the Iron Curtain, that is.
– We are again brought to the iron curtain, they are trying to protect us from all sides, the pressure is increasing, and I think that in sports it will continue.
– Sanctions, like a boomerang, often hit Europe itself. There is talk that even the stages of the World Cup are in jeopardy due to problems with energy resources. Is this really so?
– A lot of things are winding up like a snowball. But, as far as I know, the snow has already been prepared since last year. Most likely, all starts will take place. Snow has already been laid out in Davos, and those World Cup stages that should be held on artificial snow have been prepared there. Another thing is that many stages are held in the evening, and the rise in the price of electricity, the hotel business can play a role.
– But the absence of Russians is unlikely to force anyone to boycott the competition.
– I think that many rub their hands. They are not very worried that there are no Russians, it will only make them feel better, they will be closer to the podium, they will receive more prize money. Many athletes speak from their own point of view, without delving into politics, into what this war is about. Only their interests, which lie on the surface and concern only them.- It is interesting that the same Norwegian federation, which almost loudly called for the punishment of Russians, ended up being embroiled in a scandal after Teresa Johaug's story. About the fact that the leaders tried to hush up and hide her positive doping test from the world.
– This situation completely does not correspond to what they are used to declaring: that they have zero tolerance for doping. On the contrary: they knew about doping, they covered doping, they were involved in doping. WADA should start investigating these issues and at least the entire leadership of the Norwegian federation should be punished for these incidents. Because there is coverage of doping cases. Let it be in hindsight. If you are fighting doping, then it should be the same for everyone. The silence on the part of WADA indicates either that they were involved in this process, or that there are more equals among all equals. And these are only open cases, but it is likely that there are others. People were in the know, people knew everything and covered everything, and there is a certain article in the WADA code for this. A disqualification should follow, and if WADA does not launch an investigation against the leadership of the Norwegian federation, this will be duplicity and a clear nod to the Norwegians – they can do something, but others cannot. And there is no need to talk about any fight against doping.
Athletes are subtle natures, unlike Guberniev
– The story of the statements of the British skier Andrew Musgrave in the support of the Russians made a lot of noise, after which Dmitry Guberniev wondered why our athletes were silent. Do you think letters and statements from Russian skiers are needed?
– Firstly, it takes a lot of energy. To write such a letter, the athlete takes on a large share of the responsibility. Second: after such letters, as a rule, there are a lot of answers, including unpleasant ones. Both from foreign fans and from Russian ones. That it will be very painful to beat the pride of the athletes. Which will eventually become psychological stress. Dmitry himself is very resistant to such situations, he actually lives in this environment, and athletes are subtle natures. And the psychological state is very important for them. Balance, so that during training not to think about something extraneous, and then not sleep at night, because someone wrote him some nasty things. And there is no understanding that something will change from this.
– There are sports functionaries for this.
– Yes, our politicians and functionaries make quite a lot of statements, hold many meetings in order to let us in. And the words of the athletes will echo, and the return may be negative. What will affect the psychological state. The head will be filled with politics, which will lead to nothing good.
– Another topic that worries everyone. Money. What do you think is more important – the idea or the money? Finances that the Russians are losing due to suspension.
– I think that the main thing is the idea. Every athlete is a very proud person who feeds his own ego. “I am the best, I am the strongest, I am the strongest, I will win.” The second place is patriotism. In the end, all this is embodied in finance, that is, first you need to do the job without thinking about money, and then the jackpot will come – big earnings. If an athlete only thinks about money, he will never be able to reach the desired level. Money for many people is a subject of contention. If an athlete only thinks about money, he starts to burn. “We need more, more and more”, and in the end – negative, there is no achievement of heights. There must be something more in the head. Why does an athlete run? Either the inner ego, or for the Motherland, for the country.
– Evil tongues often create such a background that, due to the suspension, our athletes have almost nothing to eat.
– I would advise these people to talk to the athletes themselves and find out how well-off they are. We have the best training system in the national team, everyone is engaged only in business, they train, they are provided with salaries, they are paid for travel, accommodation, meals. They are 100% state funded, which allows them to fully devote themselves to sports. We have no offended, each territory supports its athletes. I don't think that we have anyone in poverty. There are also sponsors who give out training uniforms and clothes. Athletes are provided with everything to train and show good results.
– Let's return to the sports component. Already in the sprint at the control starts, there was a feeling that there was Natalya Nepryaeva, and everyone else was behind. Is this really true?
– Today we have a change of generations, quite good girls are growing up, and they need time to prove themselves, to grow up. To do this, we hold all these starts, we hope for the youth that they will be able to compete with Natalya. But there are few people like Nepryaeva in the world, last year she was the best skier in the world. It is impossible, losing a minute last season, to beat it this year. This is real only if Natalia herself is in a bad state. I wish the girls looked up to her. Natalia also had a not entirely smooth path. There were also problems, there were periods when there was a question of her expulsion from the national team due to lack of results. One must be able to wait, believe, see the future in athletes and try to open them in the future.
– Natalia first revealed the details of her personal life by posting a photo with Alexander Terentyev on social networks. As a coach of these athletes, do you not have to face the difficulties associated with such a delicate issue?
– They are professionals and take training quite seriously. If these are good feelings, then why not? I see their attitude towards each other, so I made such a decision that they can be together, two loving people. This is fine. Another thing is that this does not interfere with sports, as many people think. But I can see that they are very professional about their work.
– By the way, how is Julia Stupak doing?
– I already I touched on the topics of health. Yulia is the record holder for diseases and injuries, starting from the first training camp. First, she got injured in the Crimea, then she fell ill in August, in September she began to return to normal, and now before the training camp she had a very serious flu with a high temperature, and only after 16-17 days she will be able to start training. We are not in a hurry, we are not trying to force her to train in a state that has not fully recovered. We'll have to endure, there is still enough time before the main starts.