“How could you?” Why Putin reproached the Russian national team for the Olympic silver
Exactly 20 years ago, the Russian women’s volleyball team played one of the most dramatic matches in its history. In the final of the Olympic Games in Sydney, the Russian volleyball players, having won two games against the Cuban national team, then lost three sets in a row and lost the gold medals. The girls’ tears flowed like a hail.
The next day, the head coach of the team, Nikolai Karpol, calmly told the wards about their mistakes, and a week later, at a reception in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin did not congratulate the volleyball players on the medals they won.
Defeat from the invincible
The Cuba national team was considered the favorite of the women’s volleyball Olympic tournament in Sydney. Luis Calderon’s team in those years was comparable to the men’s basketball dream-team from the United States. Barcelona Olympics – gold, Atlanta Olympics – gold, Sydney Olympics -?
But the updated Russian national team, which was taken to the Games by the great Nikolai Karpol, challenged the invincible Cubans. Even before the Olympics, the ingenious coach said that his team would mature only in two years, but already in Sydney, the Russians appeared as a formidable force.
At the group stage, the teams held a kind of rehearsal for the final, and then the Russians took the match in five sets. But the ending is a completely different game with colossal tension. The Russian national team took the lead 2: 0, having played a dozen set points in two games.
Well, then … Then the Cubans simply surpassed the Russians physically: they jumped and ran across. For the third time in a row, the Cuban national team won the Olympic Games, and beat our team in two of the three finals.
At the awards ceremony, the Russian volleyball players’ tears poured in a stream – neither strength nor emotions remained at all.
“Karpol calmly told where we missed the gold”
Yekaterina Gamova, then 19, told the Championship that the 2000 Games were the best of all in which she participated. Except for the final result. Then Gamow was not yet a superstar of world volleyball and did not appear in the starting lineup, and in the final she appeared on the site for only a few minutes.
“The Games turned out to be extraordinary for me. I was very glad that Nikolai Vasilyevich included me in the team’s application, and at the same time I was terribly disappointed with the defeat in the final.
I almost did not participate in the match, only appeared on the court in a few episodes, but I hardly watched the match itself. I turned away or closed my eyes, believed that if I didn’t look, everything would turn out in our favor. And two parties helped.
And then I just didn’t have enough physical strength. We gave everything, no one gave up, was not scared, but there was simply nothing to play with. Everyone was crying, and I was offended not so much for myself as for the girls who missed their last chance to win the Olympics. The day after the final, Nikolai Vasilyevich calmly analyzed and told in what moments we missed the gold. It was very difficult, I could not look at it.
Sydney’s Olympic silver was the first in the history of the Russian national team, but we were brought up so that there is only first place, everything else is defeat. But I think we have made a great achievement. I can’t say that this is “just silver,” Gamow shared.
“Putin came up with champagne, but did not congratulate on the silver”
The main blocker of the Russian national team Elizaveta Tishchenko , who has long lived in Switzerland and is responsible for marketing at the International Volleyball Federation, published a post on her Facebook page, in which she told what happened a week after the final. Then all the prize-winners of the Olympics were invited to the Kremlin for a reception with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin came up to us with a glass of champagne and asked:“ How could you lose? ” He did not congratulate us on the silver, it was considered a failure. Of course, we were upset. But now, looking at the achievements of my team, I realized that we did a great job and achieved a good result. We had to sacrifice a lot. I am proud of my teammates and I love them, ”wrote Tishchenko.
She confirmed to the Championship that such a story really happened.
“To win that match, we had to play perfectly and not make mistakes at all. After all, the Cubans have always had a colossal physical advantage over all the teams, and this neutralized a huge number of their own mistakes. Two games were pulled out on the teeth, and in the third game one mistake turned into a whole series. Cuba turned the game upside down. Objectively, the Cubans won deservedly, and we did everything we could. The then governor of the Sverdlovsk region, Eduard Rossel, tried to console us somehow after the match, took us to a restaurant, but everyone was in prostration.
Champions are glorified in Russia. If you won the Olympics, you get a place in the Duma, a scholarship for life, this can radically change the fate of an athlete. We were close to gold, but lost, and our society does not always understand that behind any medal there is colossal work that must be appreciated.
At a reception in the Kremlin, Putin approached us with champagne and asked: “How could you? We were rooting for you, worried. ” There were no words of consolation and congratulations on silver from the president. More like a small reproach, regret. Two or three more volleyball players were standing next to me, but I no longer remember who exactly.
This was the first resounding success since the Russian national team began to play under its own flag. Only with time you realize that Sydney silver was special, ”said Tishchenko.
“I have never watched that match and I don’t want to”
“Whatever one may say, the second place is a defeat,” the second team of our team at that Olympics, and now the commentator of “Match TV” Tatyana Gracheva , told the Championship . – To stop a step away from the Olympic gold is the worst you can imagine. I have never watched that ending and am not going to, because the memories are not the most pleasant. Nikolai Vasilievich Karpol did not say anything after the final, what was there to talk about? And then I did not hear from him a single reproach to the team, not a word.
I don’t remember the episode with Putin, although I was in the Kremlin. My memory is generally not very good, but if the President of Russia had clinked glasses with me with a glass of champagne, it would definitely not have been forgotten. But I remember very well that then we went to Gazprom, where we were awarded very good prizes for silver, and this was completely unexpected.
You know, I try not to remember that Olympics, but my daughter, who is engaged in synchronized swimming, reminds me. She asks why Mom has Olympic silver and not gold. I hope she plays for me. “