Paralympics, day 7: The Russian team soar ever higher

The Russian team had already secured victory in the team medal standings by the end of the sixth day, but they didn’t stop there. Day 7 saw a remarkable Russian one-two-three in biathlon, crowned by the fifth gold medal of the Games for Roman Petushkov.

Russia's Alexey Bugaev skis during the Men's Standing Skiing event of the Super combined at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center, March 14, 2014. Source: Reuters

Emma Terchenko, special to RBTH

On Friday, the Russian Paralympic Team continued its domination of the Games. This time it was the turn of the skiersto shine: Young Alexei Bugayev, old hand Valery Redkozubov, and Alexandra Frantseva each won their second gold medal of the Paralympics, while biathlete Roman Petushkov became a true legend of the Games, winning an astonishing fifth gold.

Biathlon

Again, a perfect start to the day for Russian Paralympic athletes – in the men’s sitting biathlon the entire podium was occupied by athletes from the Russian team. Gold went to Roman Petushkov, who has now become a legend of these Games. And no wonder, it is his fifth gold medal at the Paralympics in Sochi.

After a victorious finish, the athlete did not hide his emotions. “Fans in the stands shouted: ‘Roman, we want a fifth gold medal’. Therefore, I had no other option but to win this race,” said Petushkovinan interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta. “Well, I do not have any special secret for success. It is simply that all Russian athletes work hard and exercise a lot.” 

Finishing second was another Russian, Grigory Murygin, and the bronze was also won by a Russian, Alexander Davidovich. “I think I could have competed for the gold medal. Roman is an experienced athlete, and I lost to him. But I am getting closer and closer,” Sportbox.ru quoted Murygin as saying.

Women biathletes also pleased the fans. Svetlana Konovalova finished firstin the 12.5km sitting biathlon. “I have been on this team three years now; I focused on getting the gold medal, trained hard, and invested all my powers,” said Konovalova in an interview with the Rossiya 2 TV channel.

Yulia Budaleyeva and MikhalinaLysova took first and second places, respectively, in the women’s 6km race for athletes with visual impairments. In the 15 km men’s race for athletes with visual impairments, the Russian Nikolai Polukhin won the gold. Another Russian, Stanislav Chokhlayev, came in third, sharing the podium with the Ukrainian Vitaliy Lukyanenko (the twoathletes came in with exactly the same time). Another Ukrainian, Anatoly Kovalevsky, took second place.

After the race, Polukhin articulated his credo: “We always give our best. Our coach does not even think about anything less. The main thing is victory,” he said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Alena Kaufman was second in the 15 km standing race, and Natalya Bratyuk received the bronze medal, while the titlewent to Ukrainian OlexandraKononova. In the men’s event, Kirill Mikhailovwon bronze, trailingUkrainian GrygoriyVovchinsky by 4.5 seconds. The runner-upspot wastaken by Norwegian Nils-Erik Ulset.

Alpine Skiing

Visually impaired skier Alexandra Frantseva and guide Pavel Zabotin won their second gold medal at the Paralympics in Sochi – this time in the supercombined. Frantseva overcame athletes such as Jade Etherington (UK) and Daniel Amsted (U.S.), whocamesecond and third, respectively. “Believe me, we're really happy,” Frantsevasaid.

In the men’s visually impairedsupercombined, Russian Valery Redkozubov found no equals. For Redkozubov this is his second gold at the 2014 Games. “This is a once in a lifetime event – to win at a home Olympics. I would like to thank the fans, they gave us such strong support,” RossiyskayaGazeta quoted the skier as saying.

Meanwhile, Alexei Bugayev took top honors in the in the men’s standingsuper combined slalom, becoming a two-time Paralympic champion in doing so. “I am very happy with my performance; I did all that was required of me, I did my best. Today I was not even worried. Probably, this is down to courage,” said the 16-year-old athletein an interview with R-Sport.

In the first six days of competition, Russia has already won 64 medals, 25 of whichare gold. Thanks to this phenomenal success, the Russian team has alreadysecured victory in the overall medal standings.  

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