On Friday, July 27, the 30th Olympic Games were launched in London. A team of 245 Ukrainian athletes will compete there in 28 kinds of sport. According to the results of the first three days of the Games, the performances of our athletes leave much to be desired. According to the official website of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, our only sports gymnast Natalia Kononenko did not qualify in any of the five finals, the cyclist Aliona Andruk exceeded the time limit during the closing group race, the table tennis players and judoists were not successful either.
On the whole, during the three days of the games only Olena Kostevych from Chernihiv (pneumatic pistol shooting) has won an only, bronze, medal for Ukraine.
Taking into account the record success of our athletes four years ago at the Beijing Olympic Games, where Ukraine won 27 medals, including seven gold ones, Ukrainians expect from the Olympic combined team at least no worse result. According to the research “Olympic Games and Economy 2012” prepared by the American bank Goldman Sachs, 27 medals and 10th place in the overall ranking has been predicted for the Ukrainian team. Somewhat earlier the Olympic Committee of Australia predicted the 13th place and 19 medals for our team.
The Day asked the Merited Master of Sport in swimming, champion of the world and Europe, golden medalist of the Sydney Olympic Games Denys SYLANTIEV about his first impressions from the Olympics in London.
“I liked the opening ceremony very much. I was impressed by using advanced technologies together with well-tried traditional methods. I also liked the procedure of lighting the Olympic fire. I think nobody till the last moment guessed who it would be. As for the presentation of the Ukrainian combined team, I think the participants and the audience remembered the nice-looking stylish outfits of our sportsmen. They are really impressive. Another thing is that it is not the outfit that wins medals in the Olympic Games.”
How would you assess the start of the Ukrainian athletes at the Olympics?
“In general, the beginning of the Olympic Games was not very successful, to put it mildly, for the Ukrainian athletes. Not only I but also most of our compatriots expected some of our Olympians not only to show better results but, let us say it frankly, win gold medals. Instead, they put on a poor or, to be more exact, a totally disappointing performance. I first of all mean the results of the judokas. Obviously, there must be some explanations of the athletes’ bad performance, but I am just stating the fact.”
What do you think caused the first unsuccessful results of the Ukrainian athletes at the Olympics?
“Unfortunately, it was very difficult for our athletes to train because Ukraine lacks the necessary training facilities. Both athletes and coaches are doing their best to win a victory, but it is obvious that the people who organize the preparation for the games should also do their utmost. But they are not doing so. Today, Ukraine does not have even such elementary things as up-to-date sport bases where Olympians should train, with track-and-field athletes and swimmers being in the worst conditions. One must first create modern-day conditions for athletes to train and only then expect them to win medals. As a matter of fact, Ukraine does have good and promising athletes and excellent top-level coaches, but it lacks funding. By contrast, Russia invests quite a lot in sport but lacks high-skilled coaches.
“I hope that, in spite of the goof-off, when Ukraine was called a region of Russia in some of the athletes’ identity cards, London will not disappoint our athletes and coaches with a bad organization of the competitions. I wish our athletes, as the entire Ukraine does, to show only the best results!”