Russian Humiliation at the Athletics Championships

Isinbayeva crumbles in defeat

Isinbayeva crumbles in defeat

Spectacular failure by Russia at the World Track & Field (a/k/a “Athletics”) Championships in Berlin last week.

Just for starters, Russia’s most famous “athlete” Yelena Isinbayeva not only failed to win gold, not only failed to win any medal, she failed to to clear any height in the pole vault event, meekly surrendering a title she had held for five years.  Then another top Russian hopeful, Gulnara Galkina, failed to win any medal in the steeplechase event where she was favored to take gold, losing the lead in the last 100 meters and finishing out of the money.

By the end of the week, Russia had taken just four gold medals, and three of them came in the sham sport of “speed walking,” the athletics variant of rhythmic gymnastic or synchronized swimming (other pseudo sports in which Russia excels to pad its medal count).  Let there be no doubt:  Nobody walks real fast over the distance of 20 kilometers quite like a Russian!  Bring on the Wheaties box!  Russia would take no more gold over the weekend.

The only “real” event Russia had won by Friday evening was the high jump, while the USA had six gold medals, all in high-profile events like the 200 and 400 meter races, the shotput and the decathalon.  The USA also had 50% more overall medals than Russia. Jamaica — yes, Jamaica — had more gold medals than Russia.

In the end, the USA finished with a whopping total of 22 medal, nearly half of them gold, almost twice as many medals and nearly three times as many gold medals as Russia.  Russia was bested in gold medals by Jamaica and equalled by Kenya, and managed only one gold medal outside of speed walkiing.

Nice job there, Mr. Putin.  No wonder Russians are so impressed.

11 responses to “Russian Humiliation at the Athletics Championships

  1. Whilst I wholeheartedly support what LR is doing, articles like this demean what I understood to be the focus of this site.

    Are sporting results really necessary here?


    Absolutely necessary, for two important reasons:

    (1) It’s part of the Putin illusion that Russia is a sports power. Russian media suppress information about Russian sports failure, which is rampant, just they way the supress bad political news. Russians fail to appreciate the extent to which Putin has failed in this area just as in all others. Hence, we expose him.

    (2) It injects a bit of variety the same way our coverage of the arts does. We aim to cover the full spectrum of Russian life, not just hardcore political news. If you don’t like it, skip it. But our posts about sports are very popular, particularly those about Maria Sharapova.

    • You have to understand that winning gold medals, like being feared by the neighbouring states, is at the core of Russian national identity.

      Its all part of the “Russia is getting up off its knees” syndrome.

    • Sergey Shelukhin

      Eh? Russian media is usually all over sport failures. Discussing how our soccer clubs suck, how for our hockey team anything but first place is failure and everyone should be fired, and how our tennis stars are spoiled celebrities was favourite passtime of Russian sports press last time I checked.

      As for speed-walking – what’s wrong with speed-walking? Unlike other sports you mentioned it’s objective, so it’s the same sport as running except less popular.
      Funny how some/many of your articles make sense, but number of irrelevant idiotic commentary like this show the site’s true character.

      • Its like the Australians, winning at sports is part of their cultural identity.

        When they lose, out come the knives.

        Now Sergey, you really do need to get an education you demented Russian troll.

        • Sergey Shelukhin

          So far, you come out as demented troll who is good at insults but bad at replying to much of anything.
          Ahh, crazy religious Russia-haters from Ukraine, and not-so-crazy fringe (religious, I presume) wingnut Russia-, Obama- and Islam- haters from the US. What a beautiful synergy we have here! Petty prince of recently-overturned domain and his army of trolls.
          I’m getting kind of tired of this site, arguing with more constructive of the YEC crazies in the forums used to be more fun.

  2. While I would rather cut off my right arm
    than say anything good about Moscovy and
    moscovites , I vehemently disagree with the
    LP description of rhytmic gymnastics being
    a ” sham ” sport , only for the benefit of reaping
    more medals for Moscovy . In the first place ,
    It is an exceedingly beutiful event to watch .
    The grace and and fluid movement of the truly
    beutiful athletes ( unlike the runty , artificially
    enhanced and overdeveloped midgets found
    in sports gymnastics ) , is matched by the
    difficulty of their performance . It is also not
    true that only moscovite athletes garner all the
    medals . Ukrainian , Bulgarian , Beylorusian ,
    Chech and women of numerous other nationalities , have been gold and silver medal
    winners .
    And let’s not get into the area of what sport was
    promoted by whom to pad their medal count .
    Soft ball anyone ?

  3. Sorry , I meant LR .

  4. Rune Andersen, a director of doping tests for World anti-doping agency (WADA) commented today for Norwegian radiostation NRK on cases of Julia Tšepalova Jevgeni Dementjev: “I think that it will take a long time before the situation changes… …There [In Russia] is an old tradition of doping use and changing attitudes that been developed over a long period will take time.”

  5. Much more so than softball or golf !

  6. huh, i deeply hate to spoil your joy, but she just aligned a new WR along with her name, oh,oh, oh…

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