World Championships, Day 9: Russian Athlete Roundup
by M. Nicole Nazzaro
By all accounts, it was a successful world championship effort for the host country, as Russia brought home a total of 17 medals and countless goosebump moments. Included in all the excitement at Luzhniki Stadium was a supporting cast of Ukrainians who were treated as home country athletes in Moscow by the lively, partisan crowd.
The home team didn’t quite match their medal tally from the 2011 Daegu worlds, when they took home 9 gold, 4 silver, and 6 bronze medals. Still, they provided many proud moments for the “bolel’shiki” (fans) by winning medals on every day of competition except the first day, when only the women’s marathon and men’s 10,000-meter finals were held. The final tally for the Russians: 7 gold, 4 silver, and 6 bronze medals. Here’s a wrapup of Russia’s medal moments from these championships:
Day 1 (Saturday, August 10): No medals for Russia.
Day 2 (Sunday, August 11): The first of three racewalking events, a Russian specialty, sees Russia’s first gold medal from Aleksandr Ivanov. Countryman Denis Strelkov is fifth.
Day 3 (Monday, August 12): Antonina Krivoshapka becomes the feel-good bronze medal story in the women’s 400m in the middle of the Christine Ohuruogu/Amantle Montsho show (they go 1-2). In the men’s 110m hurdles, Sergey Shubenkov flashes bronze-medal brilliance in an otherwise all-USA performance (David Oliver gold, Ryan Wilson silver, Jason Richardson 4th).
Day 4 (Tuesday, August 13): Russia’s moment of the championships comes as Elena Isinbaeva decisively wins the women’s pole vault gold medal. Earlier in the day, Russia takes the top two spots in the women’s 20km racewalk: Elena Lashmanova wins gold and Anisya Kirdyapkina finishes just three seconds behind her for the silver medal.
Day 5 (Wednesday, August 14): Only one medal event is contested on this short day of competition – the men’s 50k racewalk. Russia takes the opportunity to add to its medal haul as Mikhail Ryzhov sets a personal best 3:38:58 to take the silver medal behind Ireland’s Robert Heffernan.
Day 6 (Thursday, August 15): Russia flashes its prowess on both field and track as gold medals go to Tatyana Lysenko in the women’s hammer throw and Aleksandr Menkov in the men’s long jump. Russia tops it off with a bronze medal in the men’s 4×400-meter relay.
Day 7 (Friday, August 16): Two honorary Russian performances, courtesy of the Ukrainians, came on this lovely day – they don’t count for the medals but they sure do for the crowd energy. Bohdan Bondarenko won a monster of a men’s high jump event and the crowd treated him like a native son. (Russia’s Ivan Ukhov finished 4th.) In the women’s triple jump, Ukraine’s Olha Saladuha enjoyed the support of the Luzhniki fans in notching a bronze medal, while Russia’s Ekaterina Koneva won silver. It felt like a Russian double-medal effort, judging from the crowd’s electric response.
Day 8 (Saturday, August 17): A huge medal haul for the Russians as Svetlana Shkolina (gold) and Anna Chicherova (tie for bronze) put two Russians on the podium for only the second time in these world championships – the other was the women’s 20km racewalk. Dmitri Tarabin takes bronze in the men’s javelin throw. And in a whopper of a relay, the Russian women break the U.S. stranglehold on the women’s 4×400-meter relay, winning gold over their Cold War rivals.
Day 9 (Sunday, August 18): Two more medals for the Russians as Maria Abakumova takes bronze in the women’s javelin throw, and Mariya Savinova wins silver in the women’s 800m race.