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07 March 2018 | in Winter Universiade, Alpine Skiing

Speaking skiing in on the Krasnoyarsk course with the VP of Russian Alpine federation

Valery Tsyganov to Krasnoyarsk: ‘You have more opportunities for good sports performance’


The Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade test event in alpine skiing drew in sports leaders, both nationally and globally to personally see the venue, operations and assess the athlete experience first hand.


Part of this contingent was the Russian Alpine Ski and Snowboard Federation Vice President, Valery Tsyganov.  He was in the heart of Siberia to assess the competition’s management and the quality of the Funpark “Bobrovy Log” ski venue. We sat down with the Alpine Skiing aficionado to discuss these points — and just as importantly for the legacy of the Winter Universiade in the region — what the development of this sport means for the Krasnoyarsk Territory.   




How important is the Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019 test event for the development of Alpine skiing? How do you assess the level of preparation for them?


The day before, we discussed the legacy of the Winter Universiade 2019.  Fantastic work carried out in the Funpark “Bobrovy Log” resulted in developing one of the best courses our country has ever seen. Let's just say, 60 girls are riding down the slope, but there are no traces on the course.  This indicates a very high quality of preparations. 


Much work has been carried out to train our specialists, referees and security personnel.  Professionals are probably the main potential of your region after such large-scale events.  This is a long, systematic work associated with the creation of conditions for holding the competitions.  I wish all this will continue to work and improve. 


As representatives of the sports federation, we are interested in creating conditions on the territory of our country for Alpine skiing development, and elaborating a blueprint for the future by the regions.  We are expecting that in the future, it will be possible to hold there not only all-Russian, but also major international competitions, like the Asian Cup. 


Does this mean that a serious basis for the development of this sport is being created in the Krasnoyarsk Territory?


Of course.  This means that we will be able to attract more of our athletes for participation and to increase interest in this sport. Conducting competitions on the territory of a particular region, we put a hand in referees’ training, provide an opportunity for the athletes to start their career, and we hope for a higher sports performance, i.e. this is an entire chain of interests. 


The main thing is that holding of such competitions on the territory of a certain region is the development of Alpine skiing. Gradually, we become a country that is able not only to start, to participate in major tournaments, but also to hold such competitions, and this is a hard and costly task. 


We are already beginning to discuss the draft calendar plan of the Russian competitions for the upcoming years.  This is a planned work that allows the regions to be systematically included in holding of major sports forums.  All this needs to be done in advance. And I am very grateful to the Organizing Committee of the Winter Universiade 2019 test event in Alpine skiing, which has responded to our proposals for further cooperation and development of Alpine skiing in Krasnoyarsk.


Is it necessary to hold test competitions on the eve of major sports events?  How important is this when preparing for holding the Winter Universiade 2019?


Yes, this is a compulsory requirement. For example, before the Olympic Games in Sochi, we held three preliminary starts of high level: the World Cup, the European Cup-Final, and the European Cup.  Test events are very important for the possibility to practice methods of organizing major competitions.  And it brings its fruits that are already visible by an example of your test event.


For example, today there is no need to engage side slippers: courses are so well prepared that even after the runs they do not change much.  But the side slippers go to the slopes in any case, since they need to work out each action to the last detail in practice. 


This is extremely important, because Alpine skiing is not only beautiful, but also safety-demanding sport.  Imagine the situation: there are downhill competitions, and a break between athletes’ runs is about one minute. So the side-slippers need to be as much professional as to side-slip the site for 30 seconds and then step aside without disturbing the athlete riding with a speed of 100 km/h. Each service involved in the preparation for competitions has very clear and strict rules, and we must follow them.


You have a long history of your own sports victories. You have an experience of performing at the Universiades, right?  What do you remember about the Games you participated in?


Yes, I am the winner of the Winter Universiade that took place in Spain.  At that time, I did not get into the organisation of the competitions.  For me, the Universiade was a purely sports event.


Already in the 1980s, when I took part in the competitions, the Universiades were considered as major events. As for my emotions ... As a skier, I flew around the globe twice by plane. We did not have time to stay home, so we moved around the globe. What did I see? Aircraft, airport, mountain, trainings, competitions, aircraft, and so on. Although I saw and Eiffel Tower... But in general, if we are talking about sports, there you spend all your time not for contemplation, but for constant training. But I would not want another life. 


Why did you choose Alpine skiing from all other sports?


Oh, that was a long time ago.  I am a native of Monchegorsk in the Murmansk Region.  The coach came to school and invited me to be engaged in Alpine skiing. There were not so many sports venues, and there were fewer sports.  I liked my ski, they were red and beautiful, so I started skiing.  In 10 years, I was the one who has not given up skiing out of the entire group.  I actually started skiing late at the age of 11. 


At what age is it better to start your sports career to achieve professional success?

Frankly speaking, I am not the supporter of that children at early age began to be engaged in professional sports. This means classes in children's and youth sports school, when you must exercise three times a week, achieve athletic titles from year to year, go from group to group, or otherwise your coach will not receive a salary.


On the one hand, such system is good in terms of athletes’ training.  On the contrary, many of our guys leave the sport after graduating from sports school, because they are tired of everything.  Sometimes I just feel sorry for them: my childhood was not associated with pure sport. 


But if you take the Scandinavians’ experience, they did not built that entire system of athletes’ coaching. They have children doing sports because they like it. And no one asks the coach whether their child came to training session or skipped. If you get pleasure and like doing sports, then do it.


You became the first skier of the Soviet Union, who won a World Cup.  What did these victories mean to you?  Have they influenced any important decisions in your life?


First and foremost, I had the satisfaction of winning and being the strongest.  I probably had euphoria from the fact that everything has worked out well. I cannot say it had any effect on my fate. Just with the advent of good, serious results, you have more opportunities to move on. In the Alpine skiing, very much depends on technical support of the athlete. 


The better you perform, the better the conditions are created so that you can compete further.  This helped not only us to perform, but also younger athletes.  An entire chain when you pull others like a steam locomotive.  This helps to develop sports within the country. 


Few people managed to achieve such results in Alpine skiing as you have shown. What prevents our athletes from achieving victories on the world stage?


Strange though it may seem, but our country’s courses (topography) level is average, with the elevation difference of only about 200 meters.  In the same Austria, the length of ski courses is probably greater than the length of all courses in our country. So far, we cannot say that we are an Alpine skiing power.  Nevertheless, we have mountains, for example, the Caucasus, but unfortunately it is not properly equipped.


We have great opportunities, but there are certain issues with training centers.  Athletes are forced to wander around our big country, to make requests to such facilities as your “Bobrovy Log”, so that they provide us with assistance. It is necessary to understand that such assistance costs money, and it is necessary to invest if you want to have good athletes, to carry out competitions here, and to improve image of Alpine skiing in Russia. 


How were the courses prepared for the test event held in Funpark “Bobrovy Log?"


The Funpark courses are prepared in such a way that they meet the highest international standards.  The entire pre-race inspection team and the referees have an idea of what the world-class competitions should be.


Assessing the readiness of the event, I can say that there are things that can be worked on. But there are test competitions to serve for this purpose. Today, all technical aspects are being elaborated so that everyone understands what is required to hold such competitions.