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Semyon Fedotov: Special Olympics Gold at 13 and first-ever X-Games medal for Russia

January 2017, American Aspen, Colorado. Three days of fascinating performances and competitions – and the first Russian medal in the history of the World Winter Extreme Games (X-Games). Back then, Semyon Fedotov from Sverdlovsk Oblast topped the victory podium. He performed together with the renowned snowboarder Jamie Anderson in the Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding event. They scored the highest results in parallel slalom. Eight athletes from the USA, Austria, Norway, Japan, Australia, and Russia took part in that competition.

Semyon Fedotov from Revda in Sverdlovsk Oblast can rightly be named one the most titled Special Olympics Russian athletes. He claimed his first medals at large international competitions when he was just 13! It was the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2009 in American Boise, Idaho. Semyon at once won three medals at that tournament – golds in slalom and giant slalom and a bronze in Super G.

Semyon took up snowboarding when he was studying at the Revda special school that served as the base camp for the Special Olympics alpine skiing and snowboarding team of Sverdlovsk Oblast. He joined the sports club in 2008. The first success came the same year – gold medals in all three snowboarding events in the strongest division at the Russian tournament in Saint Petersburg. This is a future Olympic champion – experts had no doubts. And they hit the white. 

In a year, a young athlete made the national team and took part in his first Special Olympics World Winter Games. After the triumph at the games, Semyon became a laureate of the award “For sportsmanship, courage and will to win shown at the competitions” and was also awarded an “Athlete 2009” badge of honor.

At that time, a gifted athlete seemed to have new victories and sports titles ahead. However, he has to put the tournaments on hold for a couple of years. Due to the injured knee, he will first miss the Special Olympics Russia Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding Games in 2012, later – Special Olympics World Winter Games 2013. Surgery and two-year rehabilitation instead of new starts. Specific exercises for physical growth and development helped him to keep fit.

Physical exercises, trainings, and love to snowboard altogether helped to toe the starting line again after a long break – in 2015 Semyon performed at the Russian competitions having claimed gold in Super G and silver in the giant slalom.

Later, in 2017 as part of the Russian national team, he headed to Austria for the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 and again swept to victory in slalom. The giant slalom once more witnessed Semyon among the top three athletes winning a silver medal. The same year X-Games Winter games took place. In 2020, he displayed prowess at the Special Olympics Sweden Invitational Games and returned from with three golds in different slalom events.

“Rushing down the snow-covered slope is the best thing ever, the athlete is certain. An effective way to release the tension, adrenaline, speed, extreme, drive, and positive emotions – this is all that snowboard can give,” Semyon notes.