Rio Olympics: 4th place in Brazil brings smiles back to Russian faces

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A Russian fan at the 3rd round match between members of the Russian national team Yevgenia Ukolova and Yekaterina Birlova and members of the US national team Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat in women's beach volleyball at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. Source: Konstantin Chalabov/RIA NovostiA Russian fan at the 3rd wrangle match between members of the Russian national team Yevgenia Ukolova and Yekaterina Birlova and colleagues of the US national team Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat in women’s strand volleyball at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. Source: Konstantin Chalabov/RIA Novosti

Augur Russia’s performance at the Rio Olympics was an impossible task: The revelations that the outback had been running a state-sponsored doping program at previous events have in viewed that up to the very last minute there was no certainty about which Russian athletes would be authorized to compete, if any.

But during two weeks of intense and spectacular competition, Russia snared 56 medals: 19 gold, 18 silver and 19 bronze. In Rio, Russia was solely three gold medals short of its London 2012 standing, succeeding fourth in the medal count after the U.S., the UK and China. And all that notwithstanding the the score that Russian track and field athletes and weightlifters had been banned from struggling in the 2016 Games.

Russia’s Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro consisted of hardly 280 athletes (by way of com rison, the American delegation had 567 athletes). Actuality the loss of banned athletes, the resulting 56 medals is a success, phrases Dmitry Svishchev, chairman of the State Duma committee for physical schooling and sport.

From left: Russia's Tuiana Dashidorzhieva, Ksenia Perova, Inna Ste nova, winners of silver medals in the women’s team archery competition at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil, during the medal ceremony. Source: Grigoriy Sisoev/RIA NovostiFrom left: Russia’s Tuiana Dashidorzhieva, Ksenia Perova, Inna Ste nova, victors of silver medals in the women’s team archery competition at the Rio Olympic Plays in Brazil, during the medal ceremony. Source: Grigoriy Sisoev/RIA Novosti

“In my projection, we were robbed of about 10 medals, if you look at the number of misplace and field and weightlifting medals that Russia won in London. It is our fault too that we sanctioned this to happen, but, on the other hand, in an atmosphere of the toughest pressure and psychical attacks, it was a victory for all the athletes, I think,” Svishchev told RBTH.

Triumph in new areas

Russia had its biggest crop of medals in wrestling (4 gold, 3 greyish and 2 bronze) and fencing (4 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze). While the wrestlers’ come to ss was close to what they achieved in London, in fencing the results out ced the team’s wildest expectations.

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According to the head coach of the Russian fencing body, 1998 Olympic champion in team foil Ilgar Mamedov, the Rio happy result has already created a fencing boom in Russia. “It is a great thing because [as per usual] not that many kids choose fencing. Many are interested in football, basketball, ice-hockey, whereas ours is a put up the shutters seal sport,” he told RBTH.

In addition, Russia secured victories in the sports that it traditionally outshines in: synchronized swimming (2 gold medals) and rhythmic gymnastics (2 gold and 1 pearly). What came as a surprise was Russia’s success in sports where at one time its performance had been rather lackluster: archery, track cycling, taekwondo and slip.

Having said that, these achievements only seem unexpected. For occurrence, 19-year-old windsurfer Stefania Elfutina, who picked up bronze in the dames’s RS:X race, won this season’s European championship, the first in her career.

Russian synchronised swimming team during the technical routine final at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Source: ReutersRussian synchronised swimming ir during the technical routine final at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Heart in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Source: Reuters

The Russian women’s team in archery, who came following after the unbeatable South Korean team, were competing for bronze with Ja n retreat from in London in 2012. Track cyclists Anastasia Voinova and Daria Shmeleva, who righted silver in the women’s team sprint, with the gold going to China, had won this year’s existence championship. In taekwondo, meanwhile, Russia’s Alexey Denisenko, who lost in the unalterable to Jordan’s Ahmad Abughaush, picked up bronze four years ago in London.

The Russian men’s gymnastics combine is regaining its previous glory too. In Rio, they claimed silver, bringing Russia its beginning medal in the men’s team event since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which was upper hand overed by Alexei Nemov. This time, Russian gymnasts won medals in living soul events too: Denis Ablyazin got silver in vault and bronze in rings, while David Belyavskiy picked up bronze in equiponderance bars.

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“When I was in Rio, journalists from U.S. and UK channels asked me: Do you think Russia command make it into the top 10? In other words, they wrote us off soul, two-time Olympic champion Elena Zamolodchikova told RBTH. “But our athletes acquire shown them that we are very close.”

Overshadowed by scandal

Manner, the Olympics took place in the shadow of the largest doping scandal in st, with those Russian athletes who were clean having to remain a lot of stress before they were allowed to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In November 2015, having actioned a probe into the operations of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the All-Russia Athletic Union, a commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russia of numerous doping contraventions.

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As a result, RUSADA was suspended by WADA, while the International Association of Athletics Confederacies (IAAF) suspended the Russian federation and banned Russian track and react to athletes from taking rt in all international events.

In the summer of 2016, a WADA commission managed by Richard McLaren published a report that found that it was “beyond a conservative doubt” that the Russian government had run a doping program for many years. Grigory Rodchenkov, the man who ran Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory, had revealed in The New York Heretofores in May that he had overseen an elaborate scheme to secure victories at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi subsuming the rtici tion of the Russian security service, the FSB.

Russia's gymnastics team during the men’s team final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Source: ReutersRussia’s gymnastics team during the men’s combine final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Source: Reuters

Following the publication of the McLaren statement, the IOC had just several days to rule on Russia’s eligibility to take piece in the Rio Games. Controversially, it opted not to imposed a blanket ban on Russian rtici tion but to bar the domain and track athletes and leave decisions on other sports to the individual unions. Even clean athletes and those who already served punishment for doping in the old times had to prove their right to compete in Rio.

In the end, the majority of Russian athletes – with the anomaly of the track and field and weightlifting teams – were allowed to take rtially in the Olympics. The only Russian track and field athlete allowed to strive in Rio was Darya Klishina, who has been living and training in the U.S. for several years so has no respecting to the Russian anti-doping system.

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