Russia crowns athletes of the year
Olympic figure skating champion Anna Shcherbakova and cross-country skier Aleksandr Bolshunov – a three-time Olympic gold medalist – were among those honored at Russia’s National Sports Awards on Wednesday.
Shcherbakova, 18, won the Sportswoman of the Year accolade in recognition of her achievements at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in February, where she won gold in the women’s figure skating.
Bolshunov, 25, left the Beijing Games with a haul of five medals in total – including three golds.
He was named Russia’s Sportsman of the Year at the ceremony held at the Irina Viner Gymnastics Palace in Moscow.
The prize for Trainer of the Year went to Elena Vyalbe, who is head of the Russian Cross-country Ski Federation.
The Russian cross-country ski team picked up a tally of 11 medals at the Beijing Games – the most of any country at the competition.
Also recognized was former figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova, 75, who has trained a host of Olympic champions down the years.
Tarasova was awarded the ‘Era in Sport’ prize in honor of her years of dedication.
Paralympic skier Ivan Golubov was named Sportsman of the Year in his category, while the female version of the accolade went to alpine skier Varvara Voronchikhina.
The head coach of the Russian Para Nordic Skiing and Biathlon team, Irina Gromova, was awarded trainer of the year in Paralympic sport.
The 2022 National Sports Awards come at the end of a challenging year for Russian sport.
Many Russian athletes were banned from global competitions following a recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the end of February because of the conflict in Ukraine.
The restrictions raised concerns that Russians could be forced to miss the Paris 2024 Olympics as they might not be cleared in time for qualifying events.
An IOC declaration following a summit last week was viewed as a step forward, after the organization said it would explore a proposal from Asia to allow Russian athletes to return to international competition – albeit under strictly neutral status.