Stanislav Pozdnyakov spoke about preparations for the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing and shared his expectations regarding the performance of Russian biathletes and the entire ROC Team.
— There are only a few weeks left before the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, — said Stanislav Pozdnyakov. — Athletes, officials and members of the delegation have already begun to fill out special mobile applications that monitor the health of participants during competitions. Preparations for the 2022 Games are going ahead under normal conditions. For example, the outfit center of the ZASPORT company was opened on Friday where athletes are to receive uniforms in accordance with the approved schedule.
As for PCR testing before departure, we have selected several laboratories accredited by the Chinese side. The flights that the members of the ROC team will take to China have also been determined, and an itinerary for their return to Russia has been worked out.
— When will the ROC team leave for Beijing?
— All existing difficulties have been promptly resolved by our official air carrier Aeroflot. In the next few hours, the relevant agreement will be signed paving the way for the official schedule. On Thursday, after the approval of the composition of the delegation by the ROC Executive Board, we will start issuing personalized tickets for flights to Beijing.
— How is the interaction between the ROC and the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) going on?
— The RBU is one of the leading national sports federations in terms of the effectiveness of interaction with the ROC. We have implemented a large number of various joint projects. For example, multi-stage testing of the sliding surface of skis. I am sure that this will help our athletes perform successfully at the Olympics.
In addition, we actively cooperate on other aspects of professional activity, as well as legal support issues. One of the recent examples of such work is the use of the RBU emblem at last year’s World Championships.
— Could you tell us more about the trip of Alexander Grushin, Director General of the ROC Innovation Center (IC), to the Olympic trails in China?
— Such in-depth preparation for the main winter Olympic event of the four-year period is the main component of our work. After the return of Alexander Grushin from Beijing, we had a rather lengthy conversation. In particular, he spoke about the features of the Olympic trails, the characteristics of the snow and the weather conditions. I am sure that the information received in China will be very useful for our athletes and coaches.
By the way, the preparation program for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo will by all means include funding for such field projects.
— What role does the recently installed Skate Treadmill play in this regard?
— The representatives of ski sports are already using the Skate Treadmill. It is installed at the ROC Innovation Center on Luzhnetskaya Embankment in Moscow. And it follows logically that we are transferring work to the federal training centers where members of teams in various sports are preparing for competitions.
The first branch of the Innovation Center is operating in Kislovodsk and the second one will be opened next Saturday at the Yug-Sport base in Sochi. A second Skate Treadmill is also being prepared for launching there — as part of the legacy of the Olympic Games in Sochi.
— What can you tell us about the medal plan for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games?
— We have a proven methodology for identifying potential medalists. It is based on the results of performances in two or three international seasons preceding the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, in the current conditions, the error margin is slightly larger than before the coronavirus pandemic. For example, due to the fact that not all planned competitions took place.
Our main task is to ensure that all athletes can get to Beijing in good health. In this context, the phrase of Baron Pierre de Coubertin comes to mind: “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part.” This time round, it is more relevant than ever.
As for predictions, we plan to win about 30 medals. We have a great team consisting of numerous champions and prize-winners of the World and European Championships. I think we can compete for one of the Top 3 places in the overall medal count. Again, not everything depends on us. But we are taking measures so that our Olympians in China can realize their full potential.
— Who will be the flag bearer of the ROC Team at the opening ceremony?
— We have a long list of candidates for this honorary position. On the eve of the ceremonial event, we will hold a meeting with the heads of the delegation and the national teams after which we will make a final decision.
— What can you say about the composition of the biathlon team?
— An absolutely fair choice based on strictly sports results. I myself, along with the fans of this sport, watched the World Cup stage last weekend with great enthusiasm. The athletes who will go to Beijing looked good when compared to their rivals. I am sure that the best Russian biathletes are going to China.
— What should we expect from the performance of Chinese athletes?
— The hosts always perform better than expected. I am sure that the 2022 Games will not be an exception. Olympians from China supported by their faithful fans in the stands can bring many surprises. But it is unlikely that the Chinese team will be able to claim a high place in the overall medal count.
For a country to be equally successful in both summer and winter sports — this is an important and ambitious task. That is why the government of the Middle Kingdom is holding these Games. In order to give an additional impetus to the development of winter disciplines. This is a logical and understandable step because all the race courses and sports facilities will be used afterwards.
— Will the deterioration of the epidemiological situation in the world affect the holding of the 2022 Games?
— They will take place as scheduled, and that’s a fact. The Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee is working to create the safest possible environment and is introducing measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including the new strain. All the delegations will be within the closed loop known as “the Olympic bubble” which is isolated from the outside world.
In Beijing, the rules are much stricter when compared to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The system of preventive measures carried out in Japan proved to be highly efficient, and individual cases of infection among team members did not affect the overall result. The only aspect that may be affected by the worsening epidemiological situation in China is the admission of local spectators to the stands.
I would like our athletes to achieve great results at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games so that all our fans can be overjoyed.