Stanislav Pozdnyakov spoke about the preparations for the Olympic Games in Beijing and shared his expectations from the performance of Russian skiers and the entire ROC Team.
— Today we are opening a ROC Team media center, dedicated to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, — said Stanislav Pozdnyakov. — The Russian Cross-Country Skiing Federation is one of the most successful when it comes to winter sports. For example, at the Games in Pyeongchang, where the Russian team was not in full composition, our skiers won eight medals, which made a significant contribution to the overall count. I really hope that the plans and tasks facing the Cross-Country Skiing Federation and the athletes will be achieved in Beijing.
— In Tokyo, the ROC Team gave a good performance, having won 71 awards. What are your expectations for the upcoming Winter Games in Beijing?
— Indeed, the representatives of summer spots surpassed the results of the previous Olympic Games in terms of the medal count. It would be great if athletes performing in winter sports kept up with their colleagues.
At the same time, it would be wrong to compare the results of Pyeongchang and Beijing, since many leading Russian athletes, unfortunately, could not compete in South Korea. In China, this situation will not repeat itself. The ROC Team will include all the best athletes based on the results of Olympic selection procedures.
— In early November, the IOC and the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Winter Olympics published the Rules of Conduct for athletes and representatives of delegations at the Games. Apparently, coronavirus restrictions in China will be rigorous.
— Even tougher when compared to Tokyo. No athlete or any other participant will be able to leave the Olympic premises — this was not the case in Japan. On the other hand, the Chinese are more flexible about entering and leaving the country. If it was necessary to move into the Olympic Village in Tokyo at least five days before the start of competitions and leave within two days after, then in Beijing there should not be such difficulties with logistics. Athletes will have the opportunity to stay until the very end of the Olympic Games and take part in the closing ceremony.
The opportunity to vary the timing of entry to China will allow coaches and specialists to organize training more effectively. In addition, the ROC plans to organize an aviation hub in Krasnoyarsk, from where athletes will fly to Beijing. Now the federations are working on various options for holding the final training camps. We collect these schedules to make the trip to the Games as comfortable and smooth as possible for all participants.
During a conversation with representatives of the Beijing Organizing Committee, we focused on the daily PCR testing procedure. In Tokyo, participants self-collected saliva for analysis. It is not yet clear how this process will be organized in Beijing. However, the organizers promised to provide clarifications in December.
It is already known that before leaving for Beijing, representatives of our team will have to pass several PCR tests. Unfortunately, there are not many laboratories in Russia that are accredited by the Organizing Committee. Now the FMBA is working to increase their number.
— How did the pandemic affect preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics?
— Of course, the pandemic has intervened into everyone’s life. But in comparison with 2020, I think we have made significant progress. If a year and a half ago, sports events were simply canceled, now they are being held along with comprehensive preventive measures. Each team keeps a record of those who have been ill and vaccinated. I am sure that everyone will successfully get through this difficult period, and the experience gained will help our athletes to approach the main start in their best shape.
— Recently, a presentation of the Skate Treadmill took place at the ROC Innovation Center. How do you assess the significance of this project and what are its prospects?
— Regarding the acquisition of the Skate Treadmill, first of all, I consulted with the President of the Cross Country Skiing Federation Elena Vyalbe and representatives of the Russian Biathlon Union and the Russian Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Federation. I am sure that the Skate Treadmill will be in demand by all representatives of ski sports. And this is just the beginning of a large project. Other plans include the installation of another such simulator at one of the federal training bases, where a branch of the ROC Innovation Center is set to be opened.
— Ski slopes in Beijing are still closed to participants in the Olympic Games. Does this complicate the preparation process?
— This problem really exists. At the moment, specialists of the ROC Innovation Center, within the framework of the Steinshlift project, are looking for places on the territory of our country with similar snow conditions. Our common goal is to provide athletes with the most effective opportunities for training, despite the ongoing pandemic.
— When will the presentation of the new Olympic outfits take place?
— Just a week ago, we finally agreed on the design of the outfits with the IOC. There were some long discussions, but in the end, the concept remained unchanged compared to the Tokyo Games. The emblem of the Russian Olympic Committee will remain on the outfits, and all the colors of the Russian tricolor will be present. In December, ZASPORT company will present the outfit collection to the general public. I really hope that the outfits will be recognizable and comfortable for all athletes.
— Compared to Pyeongchang, have ROC expenses on preparations for the Beijing Games increased?
— That was likely to happen. If only because the composition of the Olympic team this time round has increased by a third. Additional expenses, as usual, are associated with organizing final training camps. The Russian Biathlon Union and the Russian Figure Skating Federation have already approached us for support in this regard. We will definitely try to help our colleagues. At the same time, some items of expenditure have been removed from the budget. For example, the Organizing Committee for the 2022 Games, for obvious reasons, did not allow organizing a House of Fans during the Olympics. Therefore, we are now routinely redistributing the saved amounts in favour of the federations.