Category Archives: Sport

An Open Letter to Mr Thomas Bach, the Head of the International Olympic Committee


Dear Mr #Bach,On behalf of the Russian citizens who have long cherished the true #Olympic ideals, I am writing this post to let you know how pathetic you have been looking since you’ve been forced to launch the Crusade against the #RussianOlympicteam. The #IOC has already become a #disgrace to the notions of #sport, #peace, #integrity and even #politics. We are not interested in exactly what forces you to act as you do. We wonder how much more you can still do before the remains of your #conscience begin to awaken.

Forced by #WADA, you supported the “evidence” of a half-wit traitor and defector who you no doubt despise. You demonstrated a typically bureaucratic helplessness in situation with the #RussianParalympicathletes. You championed driving the country of Russia out of the competition. You instead invited the “#OlympicathletesfromRussia” to the sports bash. We, as the nation, could not expect to see a more biased, cowardly person as the head of the IOC.

And now within two days we first hear that the IOC may withdraw its sanctions against Russia, and next we learn that #Krushelnitsky’s probe may contain #meldonium that has been previously declared a #non-doping.

Dear Mr Bach, do you not realize that this upcoming doping investigation doesn’t support the Olympic ideals. It now supports the #AcademyAwards because those who bribe you need to prove that the film #Icarus isn’t a despicable lie disguised as a movie.

Dear Mr Bach, you’ve jumped into this mess with both feet, and I and all the Russian people can barely imagine what forced you to do so. However, I hope you also realise that your biggest disgrace still lies ahead. I don’t know which #scandal your peers and dons will orchestrate against you, but they certainly will do, and you know it. So, while you still can, I beseech you to do yourself a favour and stop making an idiot of yourself. We, Russians, despise cowards and traitors but we respect those who can correct their ways to stand up for integrity, against vice and corruption.

Please prove us you may still be worthy of our respect.

JS @olympics #thomasbach

The Olympics 2014: Thoughts and Hopes

I was born in the year when Russia (then the USSR) hosted its first ever Olympic Games. And I know about the scandal that surrounded the Games. I successfully celebrated the opening in front of the telly, dancing in my mum’s tummy to the tune of Kalinka. The Olympics are not the reason why I came to like the winter sports, but I’ll have another post for that.

Tomorrow, February 7th, the Games open again, this time in Sochi. Lots of scandals are brewing this time. The instances of corruption at the construction stage, incorrect translations, “uncovered” loos with two water closets behind one door, not to mention the infamous “anti-gay law”. And a revolutionary Maidan in the Ukraine. Although Russia has announced the Olympic truce, the example of the Beijing Olympics when an armed conflict between Russia and Georgia had burst out proves that, when some forces are hell bent on having their way, the age-long tradition is no excuse to postpone the plan. I hope this is not the case this time.

I have changed jobs in autumn last year, and I can honestly say that one of the reasons for looking to move was a continuous disdain of the Olympic effort in the company and the support given to the voices who wanted to sabotage the Olympic Games. I certainly have my own criticism of the regime, and the Russian Orthodox Church, and God knows what else in Russia, but you won’t see me trying to bring down an amazing international event organised and presented by my country.

The reason is simple: what sportsmen do throughout their career is so much more important and inspiring than the work of many a contemporary politician. We tend to discuss and decry the payments of sportsmen, but in the world where a politician easily appears in a nude photoshoot and becomes a member of the Parliament for rather obscure reasons it’s great to see someone working on themselves, competing, winning, losing, and still keeping their determination to win. It’s an amazing victory over one’s weaknesses, an ability to make your strengths serve you right, while adhering to and displaying the best human qualities and values. The Olympics have changed considerably over the decades, today it’s an advertising opportunity for the country, so the money ethos is omnipresent to a bigger or lesser extent wherever the Games are held. It’s strange that you do need to be paid zillions to showcase your best qualities and to inspire others, but considering that those values are priceless, perhaps it makes sense to pay a little extra to see them applied in real life.

However, these people have dedicated their lives to sport, training, and competition. It is unreasonably selfish to want to deny them the chance to add more medals and tropheys to their collection, to strengthen their reputation, and to continue their work in the chosen field. So, for the next three weeks all I care about is the performance of the athletes, and not about money. And, of course, I sincerely hope Yevgeny Pluschenko wins his Olympic Gold.

Anyway, I’m happy and proud Russia is the host of the Olympic Games in 2014, and I strongly believe we will be able to deliver a great performance as a national team and to ensure that other sportsmen also perform to their best level. The rest can eat snow 😉

The book I’m sharing may be of more interest to my Russian-speaking readers who will be able to understand the text. I hope, though, everyone of you likes illustrations by S. Ostrov to the story by Ye. Ozeretskaya about an Ancient Greek boy who once visited the Olympic Games.

//www.scribd.com/embeds/205077039/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-12oz91y459nymv3p19li&show_recommendations=true

 

What British Football Club Do Moscow Fans Support?

Do you know the answer to the question in the post’s title? I bet you don’t even guess what the answer is. You may rest assured, though, that on this side of Europe nothing is what you’d expect it to be. And the answer is inscribed on the wall next to the entrance to the Russian State University for the Humanities. It may easily be ignored due to the imposing decor (and it may already have been erased), but two weekends ago it was there.

So, are you ready to find out what team the Muscovites love? Then click on the photo to read. 😉

 

Ukrainian Stray Dogs and Cats Die in the Name of Eurofoot 2012

At the top left corner of my blog there now hangs a widget which I hope you will use. It is an online petition to the Ukrainian President to stop cruelty on animals. You can read the petition below. Being Ukrainian by a quarter, I find it horrible, although it was documented even in fiction that stray dogs were killed in Russia and elsewhere. Personally, I believe the President Yanukovich has to stop this and to apologise. 

The context in which this measure is being used – the preparation to Eurofoot 2012 – is abominal. Sport has always encouraged cooperation and peace. I would go as far as to suggest to relocate Eurofoot 2012 to another country. Stray animals are the result of social policies. Every country partakes in presenting its best side, whenever necessary. But killing off stray animals so as to suggest as if there is no such problem in the country – sorry, this is criminal. 

The city Lysychansk (eastern Ukraine) is shooting and burning animals alive as part of Football Preparations for Eurofoot 2012.

Ukrainian Authorities are now using a mobile crematorium to exterminate stray animals. The local government bought a mobile crematorium for the disposal of stray animals. The mobile team of drivers and dog catchers are armed with a gun to shoot strays. The mobile crematorium also lends it to other cities and districts of the region.

The captured animals are thrown alive into the oven to 900 degrees C. According to locals, the dogs and cats burned alive.


The concentration of stray animals is not critical and can easily be controlled. The problem of stray animals to be solved by sterilization. We are horrified to learn the problem of stray animals in the Luhansk region in the town Lysychansk in Eastern Ukraine will be “solved” in this way and ignoring the Law on Cruelty to Animals.

http://dingo.care2.com/petitions/widget/common/care2PetitionEmbedBar.js

Starballs: UEFA Champions League in Logo Copyright Dispute

The Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks (Rospatent) has upheld a complaint from the UEFA in the plagiarism dispute concerning the famous symbol of the Champions League – a soccer ball composed of stars.

The current logo has been in use since 1992. Recently Rospatent has received a request for trademark registration of a Russian logo that was expected to appear on goods, like hair lotions, cosmetic products, perfume, toothcare, and various products used for cleansing, polishing, and degreasing.

The well-known UEFA logo is a rotating starball consisting of stars connected by their pinnacles. A disputed trademark of a Russian brand also represented a starball consisting of stars of a bigger size, also connected by pinnacles. The logo used navy blue, sky blue, azure, and white colours. Although the brand name UEFA did not feature in the Russian logo, the inscription below the starball reads Champion Cup.

The UEFA filed a copyright protection suit on the grounds of plagiarism and brand misuse, claiming that the goods labeled with Champion Cup logo would lead to customers assuming that they were buying goods produced or otherwise licensed by the UEFA Champions League. The UEFA also underlined the breach of intellectual property rights that belong to the designer team behind the UEFA starball.

The suit was decided in favour of the UEFA. Any further protection of the Russian copycat logo has been withdrawn.

 

Aberdinho Strikes for Scotland: PHD North Wins Gold at the Cannes Lions

Given the budget for their IRN-BRU campaign – mere 150K GBP – PHD North has chosen the simplest solution to the Scottish footie problem. They didn’t show any hard work. In fact, everything seems to be a result of the most pleasurable activity. What happens when a Brazilian man comes to Scotland? He finds a local girl (or the other way around). They get together and nine months later a future legend is born. Crawford Batista, say. Or Robertsinho. Or even Aberdinho. Genius? Yes, so they thought at Cannes, too. PHD North, together with The Leith Agency, Burt Greener and Blonde, won Gold (How-Do reports).

And so I think, by the way. In fact, I think the Russian oligarchs who invest in football should bring those hot Brazilians to Russia. Let our gorgeous Russian girls warm those poor fellas in the winter. Or it may be Brazilian girls who come to raise the fighting spirit of Russian footballers. And then our team will have players under the names of Arshavinho and Bilayletdindo. Why not? It’s IRN-BRU. Phenomenal.

 

Figure Skating: Evgeny Pluschenko, Sex Bomb

I don’t remember if I mentioned before that figure skating used for years to be my favourite sport, along with a few winter sports. Because the British are better during summer, in the last seven years I have almost stopped following my favourite winter sports and tuned in to tennis, football, and rugby instead.

Now it looks like my passion for figure skating is going through a renaissance stage, filled with some nostalgia and also a realisation how important are the figureheads you choose, sometimes even in such fields, as sports. If your country consistently wins at least in one sport, can it not make you want to emulate the strength, focus, sense of humour, and love for their work, as you see in some sportsmen?

I haven’t followed or loved just Russian skaters; I adored Katarina Witt, in particular. I literally grew up watching every championship and the Olympics. The story has it that in 1982, during the Winter Olympics, my mother was carrying me to and fro in our room, from the TV by the window to the wall, and back. She held me facing her, so I looked behind her back. When she was walking to the wall, I was silent; the moment she’d turn to walk back, I started crying. Eventually it downed on her that I was watching the figure skaters performing.

I’m not saying that you should only love successful athletes or teams. But whomever you choose for your object of affection, emulate them at their best. This is exactly what I want to do, watching this groundbreaking performance by the Olympic golden winner, Evgeny Pluschenko. The video also contains commentary in English.

My Footballer’s Life

Last year I was given a brief, to write a short story. There was a possibility of me working on a larger project, but recession struck, so the project apparently didn’t move forward. There are a few things I’d leave unchanged about the story when I rewrite it, but I decided to share it in the form it was first written.

My Footballer’s Life

Frankly, I don’t like summer holidays. Being a female writer, I compare myself to the Premier League. Different teams compete in me all year round: a “Woman”, a “Wife”, a “Lover”, a “Friend”, a “Mother”, and a “Writer”. And I feel particularly vulnerable in August when the “Mother” team soars at the top of the League table, while the “Writer” is on the verge of a total relegation, and the “Lover” is having serious problems with management!

The truth is that I feel less confident having kids at home all day. It’s like my entire League is taken for a World Cup where it has to compete against the teams “Tommy”, “Jenny”, “Neighbour’s Kids”, and a few more, who know no rules of the game. I lack the order, the planning because, once August has come, we all suddenly realise just how tired we are after a school year, and the Lord of Misrule appears out of the blue. Or, in case with the team “Tommy”, the Lord of Misrule appears every morning in the doorway, half-asleep – even if this is well after 10 o’clock. And even then he’s too tired to eat the full breakfast.

We always try to take children to the events, but we do it throughout the year, so August is no different. “Friend” and “Mother” teams usually clash on these occasions, and usually draw.

The only thing that I truly enjoy about this month is family cooking. I think it’s when my “Woman” team shines modestly. During the school year cooking tends to be seasonal (like, we cook all together for Easter and Christmas, as well as birthdays and anniversaries). Then there are Sunday roasts. But during the week it’s either me or Richard who cook. The kids do the table, they help to dry the dishes, but we spare them from cooking.

Not in August. One of the biggest problems for me was that my parents allowed me to study more than to learn the “female” stuff, like cooking. I taught myself to cook when I went to the uni, but now this late blossoming probably affects my Premier League competition. Anyway, I’m adamant the kids learn this earlier than I did.

Today for tea we had salmon with pasta, and this awesome dish: broccoli with chilli peppers and garlic. You can serve broccoli on bread, but it can be a side dish, too. For this, you need one broccoli, 2 chillies, 3 garlic teeth, some olive oil, a herring fillet, and black ground pepper. You first dissect broccoli into florets, and put them in the salted boiling water. Once the water is boiling again, you turn the fire off. In the meantime, you heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in the big frying pan (or wok, which is even better), and throw the thinly cut garlic in it.

I remember frying garlic for the first time many years ago, and I let it burn. At the time I was renting a room in an old couple’s house, and the husband had an extremely sensitive nose. He claimed he suffered from a severe migraine following my garlic escapade. I must admit the smell of the burning garlic is enough to fight off the Dracula. In my case, it was enough to make the old man become extremely irritating. Luckily for everyone, this happened in October when I was already dating Richard, and in early December I moved out from the old couple’s house and moved in with him. I made sure I never burned garlic in our house.

So, after the garlic turned gold, you add thinly cut chillies and the herring fillet. Keep the fire under the pan very low. The recipe suggested adding anchovies OR herring, so through experimenting I chose herring. Once herring dissolves in oil, add broccoli florets, some black pepper, and half a ladle of the water in which broccoli was boiled. You don’t need to get rid of this water – you can still cook pasta in it. Broccoli then needs to be cooked in the frying pan for about 5-10 min: just enough to get your pasta ready.

The first time we made this dish, Tommy cut one chilli and then scratched his nose before he washed his hands. Good job you didn’t touch your eyes, I said to him. For the rest of the evening he’d do short voyages to the kitchen, to apply some cold water to his burning nose tip.

Jenny was cutting peppers today, so Tommy told her to wash her hands before touching her face. “Well, I’m not that stupid”, she replied, and I could feel Tommy shutting up.

– Jenny, don’t call your brother stupid, it’s not nice.

– But mum, he touched his face last week…

– Well, yes, and that’s why he tells you now. He doesn’t want you to suffer. I’d thank him if I were you.

Jenny doesn’t like being told off (who does?!) but I heard her whispering “thank you” to Tommy. He shrugged his shoulders and didn’t reply.

After tea “Mother” vs. “Wife” match begins. We sit outside, if the weather is good, or inside if it’s raining, but invariably I am torn between Richard and kids. I don’t count “Richard” as a competing team: the poor guy is the crowd, and he’s got to please too many players with his cheers. So, as the “Mother”, I have to learn new manoeuvres all the time, while the “Wife” is anxious to win and to get her crowd’s attention. It usually happens anyway, when the World Cup teams retreat to bed, and Richard and I stay downstairs. I know he understands that I am doing more job than any of the footballers out there, although no-one will ever pay me as much money. Thankfully, we both realise there are things money can’t buy – like the butterflies in your stomach when your man gently buries his nose in your neck…

Copyright © Julia Shuvalova 2008.

The image is courtesy of Nicky Reynolds.