House of Fans of Team Russia opens in Minsk

On June 21, the House of Fans of Team Russia opened its doors in the centre of Minsk. The official ceremony was attended by ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov, Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Pavel Kolobkov, acting First Vice President of NOC Belarus Viktor Lukashenko, Minister of Sports and Tourism of Belarus Sergey Kovalchuk, Director of the Directorate of the 2nd European Games Georgiy Katulin, State Secretary, Vice-President of PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel Dmitry Pristanskov and Director of the photo service of MIA Russia Today Alexander Shtol.

Next to the stage in the VIP zone there were several Olympic champions and medalists of different generations: Galina Gorokhova, Anastasia Davydova, Nikolai Zimyatov, Tamara Bykova, Vladimir and Lyudmila Zhigily, Tamara Zamotaylova, Lyubov Kozyreva, Vladimir Krylov, Victor Nazarov, Alexander Moskalenko, Lyudmila Muravyeva, Valentina Nikonova, Maxim Opalev, Elena Ruzina, Lyubov Rusanova, Tatyana Sarycheva, Lyudmila Titova, Nelly Feryabnikova, Sergey Fokichev, Elena Shvaybovich, and also the famous Belarusian biathlete, four-time Olympic champion and star ambassador of the 2nd European Games Darya Domracheva.

Stanislav Pozdnyakov noted that it was a great honour for the Russian Olympic Committee to see so many legendary athletes in the House of Fans of Team Russia.

– Together we are one big Olympic family. I really hope that over the next ten days, full of outstanding sporting events, you will come here to enjoy our victories or possibly get upset by losses. However, no competitions are without this, – said Stanislav Pozdnyakov addressing the sports legends. – I would also like to thank our Belarusian partners for the opportunity to open the House of Russian Hospitality in the very centre of Minsk. This is also a great honour for us. I would like us to look forward to the great and uncompromising sports contests, which we will discuss and celebrate in the House of Fans of Team Russia.

Pavel Kolobkov stressed that victories, as well as recognition from fans, are equally important for any athlete.

– In Minsk, the Russian team will be represented in every programme, and the support of fans will certainly help our athletes in their quest to win medals. It is very important that here in a comfortable atmosphere you can meet with your idols and discuss the results of the day. I am sure that during the European Games this place will become the centre stage not only for Russian fans, but also for sports enthusiasts from different countries, – added the Minister of Sport.

The State Secretary, Vice-President of PAO MMC Norilsk Nickel Dmitry Pristanskov emphasised that the company regularly invests in sports and the recreation sector of the country.

– In the upcoming days in Minsk we will speak in the universal language of sport. I wish our participants good luck and victories in fair contests!

The Acting First Vice President of NOC Belarus, Viktor Lukashenko, noted that in his country, as in Russia, sports and a healthy lifestyle are priority areas of state policy.

– The implementation of such a large-scale project as the 2nd European Games was made possible thanks to our fans and supporters. May athletes have outstanding victories, and those rooting for them – may they get their dose of adrenaline!

Afterwards, the participants of the solemn ceremony proceeded to cutting the symbolic red ribbon, and Stanislav Pozdnyakov declared the House of Fans of Team Russia open!

The idea of creating a single convenient platform for interaction between Russian sports fans and Olympic athletes was first implemented by the Russian Olympic Committee at the 2014 Games in Sochi. After that, the House of Fans was set up at the 1st European Games in Baku and at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

In Minsk, on Kommunisticheskaya Street 86, in the four-storey cosy mansion, visitors can find many interesting things.

In front of the building there are several zones with various activities, where you can, for instance, test your abilities by tossing the ball through the basketball hoop or by trying your strengths with the punching bag.

You also have the chance to update your wardrobe at affordable prices in the ZASPORT store – the official outfitter of the Russian Olympic team.

The ROC Innovation Centre prepared a Performance Accelerator booth for fans – an interactive laboratory created by leading scientific experts to assess their level of physical abilities, coordination, reaction speed, strength and endurance.

It is impossible to walk past the exhibition of rare exhibits related to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Next year, the ROC will be one of the organisers of large-scale celebrations dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the first domestic Games, but for now you can see exact copies of the Olympic medals and the Olympic torch, a total of 6,200 units were issued.

Everyone knows the famous bear Mishka, the mascot of the 1980 Games, but few people remember that the Moscow Olympics had another symbol – the walrus Vigri, which was based in Tallinn, where the Olympic sailing regatta took place. Now Mishka and Vigri are together at the exposition in Minsk. And in front of the entrance to the House of Fans, visitors are greeted by the talismans of the modern Russian Olympic team: a cat-like ushanka and a roly-poly bear doubling up as a matroshka.

The hall of the building has a platform dedicated to the traditional Russian sport – sambo. Today female athletes demonstrated self-defense techniques without weapons proving that anyone can go in for sambo.

The second floor has a unique exhibition of sports outfits owned by the champions and medalists of the Olympic Games. The exhibits include the basketball jersey of Andrei Kirilenko, the wrestling suit of Abdulrashid Sadulayev, the swimsuit of gymnast Angelina

Melnikova, the kimono of judo wrestler Beslan Mudranov, sports gear of gymnast Yevgeniya Kanayeva and the basketball jersey of Timofey Mozgov.

Nearby visitors can see the photo exhibition dedicated to the memory of journalist Andrei Stenin. According to Aleksandr Shtol, the head of the photo service at MIA Russia Today, the exhibition has already been in half the countries of the world.

– Journalists from 70 countries sent us their works. Each story contains someone’s challenging fate and will to win. This exhibition proves that photos change the world. Many thanks to Stanislav Pozdnyakov for the opportunity to show these unique photos in the centre of Minsk!

The House of Fans of Team Russia in Minsk is supported by: the General sponsor of the ROC – global energy company Gazprom, the General partners of the ROC – Russia’s largest airline Aeroflot, the official outfitter of the Russian Olympic team ZASPORT, and ROC’s partner – mining and metallurgical company Norilsk Nickel.