Semen Elistratov didn’t want everybody to see a grown-up man crying

Short-tracker Semen Elistratov shared his impressions after he won the bronze medal in the 1500m distance at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

– At the awarding ceremony. I was standing and trying to hold my tears back,” Elistratov said. It is a difficult medal. I showed that I had not given in and had not given up. I am terrifically proud and thrilled. This bronze medal is like a gold one to me. This medal is dedicated to all our guys who were suspended, he added advising to them, “Fight to the end and never give in.”

– Did Victor Ahn support you before the start?

– The whole team did. Especially when after all that happened I was asked “Why are you going to Korea?”

– Who asked?

– It does not matter. Anyway, could I give up my dream? The guys also told me: “Don’t listen to anybody. In your place we would have done the same”.

– What were you thinking about before the final race?

– “You get what you deserve”. That’s what I thought. I didn’t get all worked up. I stayed calm. By the way, can I praise myself a little? I liked the semifinals very much. Everything went just as I planned. The finals turned out a little different, I made mistakes. But I can’t analyze it in details right now. I should see the record.

– It was crowded on ice in the final…

– Yes. Nine people is much. I understood that in no case should I get in the back. One can’t mount the Olympic podium from the back row. That is why I tried to go along with the leaders.

– At the last lap after the Korean’s and Canadian’s fall you decided not to risk?

– I can’t answer this question. I am still puzzle-headed. After the finish I only heard the stands roar. The coach hugged me and I do not understand what happened. And suddenly tears started running down my face. Like a child I shrank my head into shoulders so that no one could see a grown-up man crying.

– Now you can say that you came to the Olympic Games not in vain?
– Are you joking?! How can you come to the Olympic Games in vain?! I am going along this road for the whole life. And still have 2 distances ahead.

– This is a difficult season for you. Why?

– I had serious health problems. I couldn’t get into good form. Just a couple of months ago at the World Cup I was 20th on this distance. And today I am the third at the Olympic Games! I am very grateful to everybody, who helped me prepare. It is our team’s victory. Now I am talking about the athletes, who couldn’t come here, as well.