Skiing competitions in Zhangjiakou brought 11 awards to Russia, four of them turned out to be gold – this is the most solid contribution to the team standings.
Russian skiers brought their first award the very next day after the opening of the Olympics – Natalya Nepryaeva became the second in the skiathlon. Then the time came for Alexander Bolshunov. The leader of the Russian team took gold in the skiathlon. Later, he added silver in the 15 km classic style race, gold in the ski marathon, which was shortened from 50 to 30 km due to difficult weather conditions, became the Olympic relay champion and bronze medalist in the team sprint.
Bolshunov at the Games in Beijing made history. He became the first skier to win Olympic medals in all six disciplines and also the first skier to win five medals in a single Winter Olympics. In addition, Bolshunov became the first athlete in the history of Soviet and Russian sports to win nine medals at the Winter Olympics.
Together with Bolshunov, Aleksey Chervotkin, Denis Spitsov and Sergey Ustyugov came to success in the relay race, having completed the fourth stage with the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee in their hands. Prior to this, Russian skiers had never won a relay race at the Olympics, and in Soviet history, the last success was dated 1980.
Another gold medal for Russia was brought by the women’s relay team consisting of Yulia Stupak, Natalia Nepryaeva, Tatyana Sorina and Veronika Stepanova. For the first time since 1972, Soviet/Russian skiers became Olympic champions in both men’s and women’s relay races.
In addition, silver medals were won by Denis Spitsov in the skiathlon, Ivan Yakimushkin in the ski marathon, Alexander Terentyev in the individual sprint and Stupak/Nepryaeva in the women’s team sprint.
Figure skating competitions have become the most discussed at the Beijing Olympics. On February 7, the Russian team consisting of Kamila Valieva, Mark Kondratyuk, couples Anastasia Mishina / Alexander Gallyamov and Victoria Sinitsina / Nikita Katsalapov became the winners of the team tournament. The Russians beat the US team by 9 points.
However, the day after the victory, it became known that the awards ceremony for the winners of the team tournament was postponed. On February 11, the International Doping Testing Agency (ITA) reported that Valieva’s doping test dated December 25, 2021 tested positive for trimetazidine.
On February 13, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), despite the appeals of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Skating Union (ISU) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), allowed Valieva to the personal tournament in Beijing. However, the IOC stated that if Valieva gets on the podium, the awards ceremony will not be held.
After the women’s short program, Valieva took the lead, but according to the results of the free program, she was in fourth place. Another Russian woman Anna Shcherbakova became the Olympic champion. Another figure skater from Russia, Alexandra Trusova, took second place, and the bronze medal went to Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto. As a result, the IOC held the awarding of the winners of the singles tournament.
In the dance couples competition, Sinitsina / Katsalapov won silver. In pair skating, Mishina/Gallyamov took third place, and another Russian duet, Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov, brought silver to Russia.
In total, Russian figure skaters won six medals at the Beijing Olympics and two of them were gold.
The Russian women’s team from the first days in Beijing got into a difficult situation due to positive tests for coronavirus. During the entire tournament, several girls were in covid isolation, and the rest of the team was in quarantine, leaving their rooms only for the sake of games and training.
Despite serious difficulties, the Russians started with a confident victory over the Swiss – 5:2. Then the team of Evgeny Bobariko lost to the Americans – 0:5. Before the match with the Canadians, there was a small scandal – due to the delay in the test results, the game was delayed for an hour, and both teams had to go on the ice in masks. The Canadians eventually spent the entire match in respirators, and the Russians took off their protective equipment in the third period when the test results came in. As a result, “Maple Leaves” won – 6:1.
In the final match of the group stage, the Finns also entered the match against the Russian team in masks, but this did not prevent them from winning – 5:0. In the quarterfinals, the Russians, exhausted by coronavirus problems, lost to the Swiss team – 2:4.
The men’s team flew to Beijing to defend the title obtained in Pyeongchang 2018 much later than the women’s and learned a lesson from their sad experience – hockey players arrived on a separate plane. Nikita Nesterov, Andrey Kuzmenko and Dmitry Shugaev passed dubious tests at the airport, but the next day they received negative results and joined the team.
The Russians started with “dry” victories over the Swiss (1:0) and the Danes (2:0), in advance secured access to the quarterfinals from the first place and lost to the Czechs in an unimportant match with a score of 5:6 in overtime.
In the quarter-finals, the Russian team beat the Danes again – 3:1. In a dramatic semi-final against the Swedes, it came to a shootout – regular and extra time ended in a draw – 1:1. The victory for the Russians was brought by an accurate throw of 20-year-old Arseniy Gritsyuk.
In the final game against the Finns, the Russian team opened the scoring thanks to a goal by Mikhail Grigorenko, but the opponent responded with two goals and this time the champions of Pyeongchang-2018 got silver.
In biathlon, the Russians won 4 medals, several times they were one step away from gold, but at the last moment they ended up on other steps of the podium or were completely content with fourth places.
The results in relay races were especially offensive, where the men’s team, which was played by Karim Khalili, Alexander Loginov, Maxim Tsvetkov and Eduard Latypov, became the third, and the women’s team consisting of Irina Kazakevich, Kristina Reztsova, Svetlana Mironova, Ulyana Nigmatullina won silver medals. Also bronze in the mixed relay was taken by Nigmatullina, Reztsova, Loginov and Latypov.
In individual performances, only Eduard Latypov won a bronze medal in the pursuit race.
At the National Skating Stadium in Beijing, the Russians won only two medals, but one of them became historic. Ruslan Zakharov, Daniil Aldoshkin and Sergey Trofimov took the silver medal in the team race. Never before have Russians had Olympic medals in this discipline.
In addition, Zakharov was the first Russian to win medals in two different sports at the Winter Olympics. In 2014, he became the champion of the Sochi Games in the short track relay.
Angelina Golikova also won a bronze medal in the women’s 500m race.
Short track competitions began dramatically for the Russians: in the mixed relay semi-finals, the team was disqualified along with the Americans for violating the rules.
However, in the future, Russian short track skaters were able to win two medals. 31-year-old Semyon Yelistratov became the winner of the third Olympics in a row. After relay gold in Sochi 2014 and bronze at a distance of 1500 meters in Pyeongchang 2018, the Russian again showed the third result in the 1500 meters.
The second Russian winner among short trackers was 21-year-old Konstantin Ivliev. He took silver in the 500 meters.
The two-time champion of Sochi-2014 Vic Wild did not show medal results for several seasons even at the national championship, but the Russian Snowboard Federation decided to include him in the application for the Olympics and did not fail. An American who took Russian citizenship found himself at the center of a Hollywood plot.
In qualifying for the parallel giant slalom, Wild showed only the ninth result, but in the 1/8 finals he was ahead of another Russian, three-time world champion Dmitry Loginov. Wilde later won the quarter-finals, lost to Slovenian Tim Mastnjak in the semi-finals, but beat Italy’s Roland Fischnaller in the bronze final.
35-year-old Wilde, 8 years after the Sochi triumph, again climbed the Olympic podium.
The parade of historical achievements of Russian athletes was also supported by “flying skiers”. The ski jumpers brought the national team their first medals since 1968. The team represented by Evgeny Klimov, Irina Avvakumova, Danil Sardeev and Irma Makhina became the second in the mixed team tournament.
In luge, the only medal of the Beijing Olympics in the treasury of the Russian team was brought by Tatyana Ivanova, who won bronze.
In freestyle, Russian athletes won three bronze medals: Anastasia Smirnova in mogul, Sergei Ridzik in ski cross and Ilya Burov in acrobatics.
Burov celebrated his success with Ukrainian Oleksandr Abramenko, who took silver. IOC President Thomas Bach mentioned this episode first at a press conference and then during the closing ceremony of the Olympics and called it “symbolic”.