Becky Hammon (1977- ) of the Russian Olympic Women’s Basketball Team. Ms Hammon is from South Dakota, but, plays for TsKSA in Moscow and holds a Russian passport (Russian athletes play in America, so, turnaround is very fair play, indeed!). Godspeed, Becky!
Maria Abakumova has won the silver in the women’s javelin in Beijing, thereby fulfilling some hopes and dashing some others. Before the games she was expected to get the bronze, but, hardly the silver. In this case, she proved the pessimists wrong. At one time, she was even in the lead. Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic was the eventual winner. “I’m very pleased actually. This is my personal record and Russia’s record, and the European Youth Record. I’m also in that division. I’m not ashamed to have lost to Barbora”.
Another Russian walker got a medal. This time, it’s Denis Nizhegorodov. He came in third in the marathon 50 kilometre walk. He had to slow down and drop out of his challenge for the silver because of the danger of disqualification. The 28-year-old was overjoyed as crossed the finishing line. “But, I was hoping for more”, said Denis. “today, the conditions were good on the rubber-like Beijing asphalt. By the end, I was getting cramps in my legs, but, I still could have speeded up. But, I got the order to slow down. This was the second warning. I could have been disqualified. So, I went for the bronze. Better that than nothing”, he said. This is his second Olympic medal. He was second in this event in Athens four years ago, and he covered the last few kilometres virtually in an unconscious state.
A bronze also went to Russian boxer Georgi Balakshin in the 51 kilogrammes (121 pounds) weight division. He lost in the semi-final to Cuban Andris Laffite by a narrow margin of 8 to 9. The whole bout was on equal terms, 8 to 8, until practically the last moment. In cases like this, the referees give victory to the one who lands the last punch. That’s what the Cuban did, as Georgi lunged into a final attack leaving himself open. This is Balakshin’s first Olympic medal, and the first for the Russian boxing team. In boxing, “the fight goes on”. Rakhim Chahkiev made his way into the final of the 91 kilogrammes (201 pounds) division, and Aleksei Tishchenko is still in the fight in the 60 kilogrammes (132 pounds) category.
The Russian basketball girls are also through to the final. They overcame the Hungarians in the semis in a ding-dong battle which could have gone either way until, once again, almost the very end. This is the first time a Russian women’s basketball team has taken part in the Olympics. So, for a début, that’s not bad.
The International Olympic Committee asked the International Gymnastics Federation to start a joint investigation of allegations concerning China’s women’s gymnastics team. Allegedly, some of China’s gymnasts at the Games are underage, something forbidden by the IOC. In particular, two-times Olympic champion Hey Kaisin is apparently not sixteen as declared, but, fourteen. This is not the first time that such information appeared. Two leaders of the Chinese women’s team, Hey Kaisin and Tsiang Yuyan, are suspected of being younger than they make themselves out to be.
22 August 2008
Voice of Russia World Service
I have had the privilege of knowing several people who went to Russia as “expats”, but, who decided to stay and become Russian citizens. None made their decision based on hatred of their former homeland. Not at all. Rather, the Orthodox culture drew them in, they fell in love with a way of life rooted in a more spiritual and less material approach to the world. Yes… all did become Orthodox in faith, it did seem “natural”.
Westerners must understand that theirs is not the only approach to life on this planet. I have read much unfocused hatred directed at Ms Hammon. If someone can “become an American”, do realise that many have “become Russians” (including some Americans!). It is a very personal decision, one I am loath to comment on. However, words such as “traitor” have no part in this particular discussion…