PSU students Aleksandr Bolshunov and Aleksey Chervotkin win silver at the 2018 Winter Olympics
On Sunday, 18 February 2018, the men’s 4 х 10 km relay cross-country skiing competition was held among racing skiers at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The Russian team represented by 28-year-old Andrey Larkov, 21-year-old Aleksandr Bolshunov, 22-year-old Aleksey Chervotkin and 21-year-old Denis Spitsov came second to take the silver, 9.4 seconds behind the Norwegians.
Aleksandr Bolshunov and Aleksey Chervotkin are the students of the Institute of Sport and Physical Training, Penza State University.
Following the performance at the second stage, the Sport-Express newspaper named Aleksandr Bolshunov “ski Yuri Gagarin”:
“Bolshunov, who flung off the representative of Kazakhstan Eugeny Velichko very quickly, was pursued by such prominent athletes as Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Maurice Manificat. But the pursuit in the first kilometres was not definitely successful as the Russian maintained such speed that he began to go farther and farther from his competitors. By the end of the first round, his margin was almost half a minute and he slayed his opponents. The question was whether Aleksandr would be able to keep the pace for another six and a half kilometres. But at the second round, he virtually flew along the trail. Bolshunov was ahead of the nearest pursuers, among which were the teams from France, Italy, Norway and Kazakhstan, by more than 40 seconds! It was the real space story starring Aleksandr as ski Yuri Gagarin. He is alone while the stars are somewhere far away...”.
Aleksandr does not consider himself a hero, after the finish he noted: “Who said we are heroes? We just ran in the race... It’s clear, you always want more. But here is the situation at the moment. The main thing is not to scramble up this step. Or you might climb it quickly and fall down even faster”.
The young skiers brought the 10th medal to the Russian Olympic team at the PyeongChang Olympics and thus they wrote their names in the record book of the Russian sports history. For the second Olympic Games running, the Russian skiers win silver medals in the relay. Dmitry Yaparov, Aleksandr Bessmertnykh, Aleksandr Legkov and Maksim Velegzhanin won silver medals in Sochi in 2014. These are the only two medals in the history of Russian ski races in men’s relay competitions at the Olympics.
Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, congratulated the Russian skiers. “Skiing relay, silver. Exciting race and excellent work of our athletes! I congratulate Andrey Larkov, Aleksandr Bolshunov, Aleksey Chervotkin and Denis Spitsov,” the head of government wrote on Twitter. “You demonstrated your best qualities on the Olympic trail, you finished the race with an excellent result, and you won over strong competitors. You lived up the expectations of millions of fans who believed in your victory and supported our team,” his telegram of congratulations states.