2014 Sochi Olympics gold medalist greeted the participants and then raced with them in a showshoeing training. Nikolay Orlov was the first finisher, and after Aleksandr got his breath back, he shared with us that the athletes had impressed him with their fitness.
“Snowshoeing is not an easy sport. I thought that when after I put snowshoes on, they would work as a foot. Nevertheless, it turned out they have their own technique and you should keep in mind that they work their way. Only physical and sports health will not let you win. You have to train right in this sport. Today the athletes showed that no matter who you were in a past sports life, it’s difficult to win with physics only. Therefore, they beat me. I came fourth or fifth in a race, though I tried hard and did my best,” Aleksandr said.
“For me, it’s a great honor to be an ambassador of the Special Olympics World Winter Games, and I am grateful to the organizers for entrusting me with such a role. The main goal of the current Games, too, is an adaptation of people with inclusive disabilities through sport. Sport is kindness, smiles, joy. There is no politics here, Olympic values come out on top. I’m privileged to be an ambassador. It is very good that inclusive culture comes to Russia. I feel like giving all of myself and such great competitions give me goosebumps! Communication with athletes touches the very bottom of my heart. I reckon that human qualities are the most important. Together we are invincible,” the Olympic athlete emphasized.
He will also tell about the Special Olympics values at the master class he will conduct in the sports school for cross country skiing and orienteering in Kazan.
On January 22-28, 2022, Kazan will host the Special Olympics World Winter Games. According to the Deputy Minister of Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan Ildar Sadriev, nearly all venues are ready to host the competitions and Special Olympics Winter Invitational Games allow organizers to get better prepared for the starts next year.
“The way the athletes’ eyes shine speaks volumes. It highlights that what we are doing is right. Sport smoothens all boundaries. We show to the world and the whole country how hospitable Tatarstan is. Kazan is ready for the Special Olympics Games,” lldar Sadriev said.
Competitions are scheduled for February 4-7: showshoeing, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, and snowboarding start on February 4, and figure skating and short track speed skating – on February 6.