A breath of fresh air

Less than a month ago a European Short Track Speed Skating Championships was held in Dresden. There Semen Elistratov be-came second after Sjinkie Knegt in his favorite 1500m. He lost to the athlete of Netherland in the 1000m relay as well. There every-thing was decided in a down-to-the-wire lap.

However, why ‘lost’? For Semen those three silver medals were like a breath of fresh air. Since the beginning of the Olympic season was at all a success. It was uncommon to seethe champion and the prize winner of the world outside top ten or even top twenty at the World cup. Wicked tongues were saying that Elistratov was not ready for the Olympic Games and the is not much point in going there.

In Dresden, holding three silvers in his hands Semen said that he didn’t want to repeat last years story, when after the victory in the all-aroundat the European Short Track Speed Skating Champion-ships failed the World Championships.

– It is better not to get the full of now and to shoot at the Olympic Games then the other way around.

And he shot! At the very right moment both for himself and for the whole our Olympic team! It’s our first medal here, in Pyeongchang and the first Olympic medal in Short-Track, won outside our coun-try. And not somewhere else, but in Korea, where Short-Track is a number one sport!

It’s also Semen’s first personal Olympic medal. Four years ago in Sochi at the 1500m event he was 11th. At the 500m he was 15th and at the 1000m distance he was 6th. There is no need to talk about 2010 Vancouver at all…

Yes, he has the title of Olympic champion in the relay. But a per-sonal medal is a personal medal. No one can say that ‘you was in the right place at the right time’.

And don’t say it is ‘just’ a bronze medal! Just look who was running with him in the final – two Koreans LIM Hyojun (finished fist with the Olympic record – 2.10,485) and number one in the world rating in the 1500m event HWANG Daeheon, a pair of athletes from Nether-lands – three-time world champion Sjinkie KNEGT and worl cham-pion Itzhak DE LAAT, two Canadians – three-time Olympic champi-on Charles Hamelin and vice champion of the world 2017 in 1500m Samuel GIRARD, two-time silver champion of the world Shaoang LIU from Hungary and this season’s World Cup number 10 of in the at the 1500m Thibaut FAUCONNET of France. How do you like the company?

Nine people with more or less the same chances for medal in the finals. That is something that never happen before in the Olympic Short-Track. Usually there are six athletes running the 1500m, but in Gangneung there were falls in each finals. Three of those who suffered from others’ faults were allowed to participate in the final run.

A few laps before finish Elistratov was holding the fifth position. At this moment Amlen, obviously, remembered his titles and started to attack and he fell and pulled HWANG Daeheon with him. If it was semifinals the judges obviously would have found a way to retrieve the Krean, but it was the final run…

Semen didn’t blow his chance and passed the final line third. His dream of the personal Olympic medal came true! After that he could vent his spleen. Last time Elistratov, accordin to him, he cried at his own wedding, this time I was standing and trying to hold my tears back.

– I did not want the whole world to see a grown Olympic man cry, explained the athlete, who already became the hero of these Olympic Games.

While the 1000m distance sill lies ahead. Semen has been hold-ing a world record in it for the last two years…