On August 8, the whole country celebrated the XXXI All-Russian Olympic Day dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. For the very first time in history, a large-scale sports and cultural festival was organized in conjunction with Day of the Athlete.
It is symbolic that the Luzhniki sports complex, where the main events of the 1980 Summer Olympics took place forty years ago, became the central venue for the current sports festival.
The event was attended by renowned Russian athletes, winners and medallists of different Olympic Games, World and European Championships, and, of course, the heroes of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. When all of them took to the stage during the opening ceremony, the result was a large and friendly Olympic team!
The Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, First Vice President of the Russian Olympic Committee Igor Levitin was the first official to address the participants of this event. He read out the congratulations of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
The Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Oleg Matytsin in his welcoming speech noted that this festive holiday symbolized a healthy lifestyle and the victories of Russian sport.
– The joint holding of Day of the Athlete and All-Russian Olympic Day emphasizes the unity of mass and professional sport. This is especially important now, during the pandemic, when people are missing out on sport. Sport helps us to overcome all difficulties, makes us united, healthy and proud of our country, – said Oleg Matytsin.
TRIBUTE TO TRADITIONS
Having declared the XXXI All-Russian Olympic Day open, the President of the ROC Stanislav Pozdnyakov stressed that the Luzhniki sports complex had managed to gather participants of different generations, national sports stars who glorified our country for many years, as well as those who now competed for Russia on the international arena.
The President and Chair of the Board of Special Olympics Russia Olga Slutsker noted that at this event her athletes had the opportunity to be on an equal footing with great athletes and sports enthusiasts.
– Today an important step forward has been taken in creating an inclusive society. I would like to thank all the athletes who made this possible, – said Olga Slutsker. – The Special Olympics motto is as follows: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Today we won – in 2022, Kazan will host the Special Olympics World Winter Games for the very first time in history. More than a hundred countries will attend this event to show the whole world how sport works wonders and knows no boundaries.
– This year we mark the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, – said Alexey Kondarantsev, Head of the Moscow Sports Department. – 40 years later, we still keep the traditions and pay tribute to those who forged the sporting glory of our country. Day of the Athlete is celebrated in honor of athletes, coaches, professionals, amateurs, fans, and almost all citizens across our country. Today we have gathered to compete together, celebrate and congratulate each other on the occasion of this wonderful holiday.
FIGURE-SKATERS PLAY TABLE TENNIS
Immediately after the opening ceremony, a Nordic walking mass event took place, organized in conjunction with the “Moscow Longevity” project. The healthy lifestyle enthusiasts were also joined by the participants of Special Olympics Russia in covering the distance of 2020 meters.
As part of Olympic Day, a mixed biathlon relay race was held for the very first time. In summer biathlon competitions, not only amateur athletes can take part, but also anyone who is interested. Given the popularity of this sport, there were so many participants that they had to be divided into several races throughout the day. Everyone who went to the starting line had to overcome three circles 700 meters each and two shooting ranges. In the prone and standing positions, air rifles were used (similar to small-caliber weapons), suitable for shooting in urban conditions.
By the way, Olympic champion in modern pentathlon Alexander Lesun recalled that before 1994, the International Federation of Modern Pentathlon had been in charge of biathlon. Inviting everyone to his sports venue, he claimed that pentathlon was no less interesting.
Silver medallist in judo at the 2012 Summer Olympics Alexander Mikhaylin believes that events such as All-Russian Olympic Day provide an opportunity for young people to interact with their idols and help determine their choice of sport.
– It is very good that the Russian Olympic Committee supported our renowned athletes at this difficult time. Today’s festive holiday has become an excellent gift for young children and parents alike who not only saw their idols in person, but also had the chance to chat with them. And I am sure that the variety of sports venues where participants could try out different sports will help them choose the right one.
At numerous venues (more than 50), representing Olympic and non-Olympic sports, all participants found something to their liking: parents, children, novice athletes, retirees and people with disabilities.
Famous Olympians also competed with pleasure in unfamiliar sports disciplines. For example, figure skaters Alexander Enbert and Maxim Kovtun played table tennis.
– Figure-skaters love this sport, – they noted. – At the training base in Novogorsk and at the skating rink where we train, we always find time to play table tennis. For us, this game is not just for fun, but also an opportunity to keep fit.
– Olympians should not limit themselves to just one sport. For example, in addition to figure skating, I like football, basketball and tennis. Therefore, I will take part in the gala match today with famous football players with great pleasure and also try other sports, – said Olympic champion Dmitry Soloviev.
Additionally, the federations of Sumo, Belt Wrestling, Qigong, Sports Acrobatics, Judo and Taekwondo offered demonstration programmes at Luzhniki, while the winner of the gold medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in break dance Sergei Chernyshev displayed his skills.
Aficionados of intellectual leisure were able to take part in an exciting quest for knowledge in sport. The most active participants won T-shirts from ZASPORT, mascots of the Russian Olympic team and diplomas.
In addition, every hour on the main stage, a raffle took place where one could win a brand new sports bicycle.
1980 MOSCOW OLYMPIC GAMES RETURN TO LUZHNIKI
The center of attraction for guests and participants of the XXXI All-Russian Olympic Day and Day of the Athlete, of course, was the stand dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Games of the XXII Olympiad held in 1980. There were numerous persons wishing to take memorable photos with the original Olympic torch from the 1980 Summer Olympics which was in full flame the whole time.
– The year 1980 is a special year for us since the Games of the XXII Olympiad took place in Moscow, – said ROC Honorary President, IOC Honorary Member Vitaly Smirnov during the opening ceremony. – Attempts by politicians to spoil the Games failed miserably. In Moscow, 74 Olympic and 36 world records were set. 40 years later, the Luzhniki sports complex, which hosted the Games, has become one of the most modern arenas in the world. This clearly demonstrates the commitment of the Russian leadership to the development of sport and mass physical culture.
Basketball player Nelly Feryabnikova, water polo players Yevgeny Sharonov and Yevgeny Grishin, volleyball players Vladimir Kondra, Lyubov Kozyreva and Alexander Savin, pentathlete Anatoly Starostin, gymnast Vladimir Markelov, shooter Igor Sokolov happily shared their memories of the first Summer Olympics held in Moscow and their wonderful victories, some of which were claimed at Luzhniki.
– For the 1980 Olympic Games, 444 gold medals, 444 silver medals and 463 bronze medals were made, – said Dmitry Pristanskov, State Secretary and Vice President for Relations with Government and Management Bodies at Norilsk Nickel. – The Soviet Union became the first country to cast over six million commemorative coins. The credit for this goes to the metallurgists of the Norilsk plant.
This year, not only Olympians, but also participants of the “Moscow Longevity” project became the protagonists of the main summer sports festival – people who accompanied foreign delegations, provided assistance to athletes at the Olympic Village and built arenas for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.
– There were three hairdressing saloons in the Olympic village, – said Olga Pankratova sharing her memories. – Two were in a residential area, and another one was practically at the entrance. Athletes did not come to us often, surely after competitions they had no time for new hairstyles. We mainly worked with coaches and delegation members. I cannot express in words what a sense of pride we felt for our country and our athletes. Working at the Olympic Games was the greatest holiday of my life – I have bright and touching memories and I still keep the main souvenir from those Games – a pass to the Olympic Village.
The Olympic Games could not have been a success without the most open-hearted people in the world – volunteers! Nina Bukharina, who accompanied foreign delegations in Moscow 40 years ago, spoke about the finer details of working at the 1980 Summer Olympics. – Having learned about the recruitment of volunteers for the Games, I could not let this opportunity slip away so I signed up. We met athletes and coaches, helped them get to the Olympic Village and stadiums. In general, we tried to provide maximum care and attention. Foreigners whom I had a chance to communicate with in those days were amazed at how beautiful and splendid Moscow was.
This year, a unique exposition dedicated to the 1980 Olympic Games was presented at Luzhniki with commemorative and award medals, Olympic rubles, badges, Olympic mascots, tickets to competitions and tracksuits, even attracting the attention of people who do not as a rule follow the sports world closely.
Children and parents alike with genuine interest examined each and every item of Russia’s sports history, appreciating the familiar outlines of famous soft toys and other souvenirs bearing Olympic symbols, many of which are still kept as precious relics in numerous families across our country.
FOOTBALL WITH CHAMPIONS
All-Russian Olympic Day culminated in two gala matches held at Luzhniki Stadium (each team had 8 players). On one half of the field, the Ministry of Sport played against the Presidential Executive Office, while on the other half, Winter Olympic champions clashed with Summer Olympic medallists.
And if the first match did not have many goals (won by the team from the Ministry of Sport), the second match compensated for that as numerous goals were scored. Yuri Borzakovsky, representing the summer sports team, scored four goals and Dmitry Bulykin scored another one. Alexander Legkov and Aleksey Esin, representing the winter sports team, scored two goals each, and so the final score was 5-4.
– After work, I regularly play football, – said Olympic champion in the 800-meter race Yuri Borzakovsky in his interview to reporters. – I am happy that I had the opportunity to play here at Luzhniki Stadium. Our team played well, and I would like to commend Dmitry Bulykin, Andrey Karyaka and Stanislav Pozdnyakov, who nearly distinguished himself. A big thank you to the Russian Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sport for such a wonderful festive holiday.
– Despite our defeat, we have positive emotions and no regrets, – said the captain of the winter sports team Alexander Legkov summing up the results of the match. – In friendly matches there can be no hard feelings about the final score. Moreover, former footballers played against us today. It is great that the ROC gave us the opportunity to get together, chat, and play football.
After the final whistle, both winning teams gathered on the field led by the President of the ROC Stanislav Pozdnyakov and the Minister of Sport Oleg Matytsin. They did not leave the stadium immediately – the players discussed the highlights of the matches and took photos with fans and fellow athletes alike.
– Imagine, for the very first time in my life I came to a football match, and not to any stadium, but the main stadium of our country, – said Olympic champion in synchronized swimming
Vlada Chigireva. – The only thing missing were the crowded stands and the cheers from fans, but we tried to compensate for this and fully supported the players. My friends played for both the Summer team and the Winter team, so I had a difficult choice to make on who to support. I had to cheer for both teams. I love All-Russian Olympic Day. Wherever I am, I always try to find time and attend this festive holiday. Today I even had to ask for time off from the training camp in order to meet and chat with my fellow athletes, recharge and even gossip a little.
FOR CLEAN SPORT
The stand of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was very popular among the guests of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, where everyone could take a test to display their knowledge of anti-doping rules. The most savvy sports fans did not leave the venue empty-handed: they won bracelets, sunglasses and even T-shirts by correctly answering most of the questions from the Outreach quiz.
Developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), this quiz is regularly held for educational purposes at major sporting events around the world. The game includes 10 questions on anti-doping.
– We are regularly engaged in anti-doping education for fans, – stressed Maxim Verevkin, Head of the ROC’s Integrity Unit. – The quiz questions are so simple that even a child can answer them. The venue is set up by the ROC and RUSADA and each year the number of visitors to the venue increases which is a good sign. This is the first and most important step in educating a whole new generation of clean athletes. It is important that children and amateur athletes develop negative attitudes towards doping as early as possible.
In addition, every hour an anti-doping trivia game was held on the main stage where valuable prizes could be won, including the mascots of the Russian Olympic team and T-shirts bearing symbols of All-Russian Olympic Day from ZASPORT.
The XXXI All-Russian Olympic Day was held as part of the Olympic Country Development Programme for Mass Sport with support from the General sponsor of the ROC – global energy company Gazprom, the General partner of the ROC – Russia’s largest airline Aeroflot, the official outfitter of the Russian Olympic Team ZASPORT, as well as the Partner of the ROC – mining and metallurgical company Norilsk Nickel.