Varvara Barysheva: ″The educational project of the Russian Olympic Committee is as important as the Olympic medals″

On December 12, the Olympic Assembly approved the Program to assist Candidates to become Members of the Russian Olympic Team and to ensure the participation of the Russian Olympic Delegation at the XXIV Olympic Winter Games 2022 in Beijing (China). The Executive Director of the Russian Speed Skating Union (RSSU) Varvara Barysheva spoke about the interaction with ROC as part of this document in an interview with the ROC Information Service.

Varvara Barysheva, who won a bronze medal in the women’s team pursuit at the 2006 Winter Olympics was quoted as saying: ″First of all, I want to thank ROC for financial support in terms of the remuneration of foreign specialists. Furthermore, we receive medical and biological support, and next year we will participate in a new educational project of ROC on the basis of the Russian International Olympic University in Sochi. The project is being supervised by Alexander Grushin who is a well-known coach and a respected personality in the sports community. For RSSU the opportunity to improve the qualifications of their coaches and specialists in speed skating and short track is as important as the Olympic medals.″

– Are there any foreign trainers currently working in the RSSU system?

Yes, Pavel Polyak and Konstantin Poltavets who now resides in Holland. After the ending of the Games in Pyeongchang, Pavel Polyak immediately began preparing for the next Olympic cycle. The Beijing-2022 program will relieve us of the financial burden under his contract.

Poltavets works remotely, at the same time completely supervising the men’s training process for medium distances and training of one of the leaders in the women’s team, Ekaterina Shikhova. We hope that from January 1, 2019, with financial support from ROC, Konstantin will begin to accomplish his duties in full. The Italian physiotherapist Massimo Didoni is scheduled to join the coaching staff.

– As far as I know, speed skaters are frequent guests of the ROC Innovation Center, where various programs for athletes are developed and tested.

That’s right. Thanks to these programs we can competently build a preparatory cycle. This direction in RSSU is supervised by Director of High Achievement Sports Victoria Gogotova and team doctor Maria Rosina. We try to make the most of the opportunities offered by the Innovation Center.

– In the Beijing-2022 program funds for training preparations are included. Where will they be held?

There is only one issue. In Sakhalin and the Far East there are no sports facilities corresponding to the level of the Olympic team. If the Center for speed skating and ball hockey is put into operation in Irkutsk by 2021 (its construction is already underway), then that will be the place where we carry out the training preparations. I’m really counting on it. Otherwise we will have to go to South Korea or China. For the Pyeongchang Olympics, we used Japanese sports facilities.

– It’s three years till the Olympic Games in Beijing, but the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk will start in March …

Short track races will take place in Krasnoyarsk. In October, test competitions were held in Krasnoyarsk: the level of readiness of the multifunctional complex Arena-North is excellent. There is another issue –  the Universiade dates coincide with the World Cup, which will be held from 8th to 10th March in Sofia. Therefore, in order to have teams participate in both events, we will have to think of something original. I must add that the Universiade, even though held in Russia, is as important to us as the world championship.

Why won’t there be a speed skating tournament in Krasnoyarsk?

Again, due to the lack of sports facilities. The problem could have been solved by reconstructing the existing track. Or holding competitions in Divnogorsk, where major speed-skating competitions can be organized at the level of national championships. But there was no time …