One of the most titled skeletonists in the world, 38-year-old Latvian Martins Dukurs announced the end of his professional sports career. As an athlete, Dukurs has repeatedly spoken out sharply about doping scandals in Russia and admitted that he was glad when he learned that the result of Russian Alexander Tretyakov at the Sochi Olympics was cancelled.
“I didn’t think I’d be so happy”
The multiple world champion announced his retirement on social networks:
“I made an emotional but logical decision. For 22 years, everything has turned into a favorite habit, but fatigue appears from such a life. I experienced heavy losses, big wins, huge excitement and got used to it again and again. The feeling that caused the addiction cannot be removed, and I already understand that I will miss the competition.
It is hard to realize that you are no longer able to show a quality performance, it makes you think about the logical end of your career. I have always been told not to give up and I have taught this to others, but sometimes you have to stop to take on new life challenges,” Dukurs wrote.
Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Recall that after the accusation of skeletonist Alexander Tretyakov of manipulating doping tests, it was Martins Dukurs, who took second place, who was supposed to go to the gold of the 2014 Olympics.
Then Martins admitted that he was glad when he found out that the result of the Russian was annulled and the Olympic gold would go to him.
“I imagined this situation in my head and did not think that I would be so happy, but the joy was great. In the middle of the night my phone rang, I looked, and everything became clear. I immediately ran to my father’s room and hugged him. Of course, at the Olympics itself, I would have experienced different emotions, but better late than never. I had completely let go of the situation and tried not to think about it. But when the Russian skiers were suspended, I began to believe that something would happen.”
However, the Russian was acquitted, and the Latvian was left with a silver medal.
“Russian skeletonists look at us reproachfully”
Also, after the publication of Richard McLaren’s report, Martins Dukurs supported the decision of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation to move the 2017 World Championship from Sochi to Germany. He stated that he did not want to participate in the tournament “without being completely sure that he is competing in fair conditions and with fair opponents.”
“We were well aware that we were not the only ones in our community who were outraged by the whole situation. Any track, except for Sochi, is now good for us. I am satisfied with the decision of the IBSF, which managed to take responsibility and move the venue of the world championship.
Russian skeletonists, of course, now look at us with reproach, but we tell them – imagine yourself in our place. How would you feel and what would you do in this case? We can already say that the decision was politicized, but we did not want to take on extra risk by going there,” Dukurs said.
Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images
Dukurs made loud statements immediately after the publication of the McLaren report, when there was no evidence of Tretyakov’s guilt, although they never appeared. Nevertheless, the Latvian practically did not doubt the dishonesty of the Russians, although he said that Tretyakov might not have known that he was using doping:
“Alas, there is almost no doubt that the athletes of the Russian national team use doping. I can’t blame Tretyakov for anything. But we believe the data that McLaren cites in his report. Although I have a good attitude towards Alexander personally, and towards Russian athletes in general. Tretyakov is a wonderful guy. Very humble and calm. To be honest, when I found out that he might be involved in this story, I could not immediately digest this information. It took some time to sort out my thoughts.
I think he might not even know that he was doping. If it turns out that Tretyakov is really involved in this story, it is possible that Alexander simply became a hostage to the system. In any case, it’s not for me to judge this, ”Sovetsky Sport quoted the best Latvian skeletonist.
“They are both deceivers and victims”
The transfer of the 2017 World Championship from Russia was also supported by the head coach of the Latvian skeleton team, as well as Martins’ father, Dainis Dukurs. He also strongly condemned the actions of Russian athletes.
“We are proud. They were the ones who set it all in motion. We are also happy for those who supported us and were with us, although there were not very many of them. A small ball of snow rolled down from the mountain, and now it has grown to a large size. There is a feeling that they did something good. We do not want to return to Sochi and will never return there again. We will not go to the track in Sochi even if the World Cup stages will be held there in the future. What is said in the report of the head of the WADA commission, Richard McLaren, is beyond comprehension. Russia has crossed all lines. If it is possible to prepare “clean” doping tests for someone, this means that they can be replaced for someone, ”said Dainis Dukurs.
“Who do I consider Alexander Tretyakov and other disqualified Russian athletes? They are both deceivers and victims. Athletes could not help but know what was happening. My opinion: a state doping system was created in Russia, and they were built into this system, ”said Dainis.
“Russia is not a problem for me”
It is interesting that even after Tretyakov’s official acquittal, relations with the Russian athlete did not improve with Martins Dukurs.
Photo: RIA Novosti
“Do I think he’s guilty? It’s very difficult for me to answer. This is what he should be asking. Apparently, something was there, something happened there. But it’s hard for me to discuss it now. Did we communicate after this CAS decision? Especially not. We even greet each other barely. I do not know why. Maybe he thinks we started this topic. But we also need to put ourselves in our situation and also look from the outside. It doesn’t look all that pretty.
Frankly, I believed in what was written, and in the fact that there was such a scandal. But I said: I am against such a system. If they prove it, then they are guilty, and if they do not prove it, then this is another matter. For me, Russia is not a problem. We trained together with the Russians, they grew up with us at the base in Sigulda, but we performed together for 15 years. It’s just very insulting, ”RIA Novosti quotes Dukurs.