Two-time Paralympic champion Olesya vladykina: “no one is protected”

The 20th anniversary and first trip with my friends to Thailand. A tour bus full of people turned over. The friend died. Olesya was in the hospital in Bangkok. “I was lucky that at the first stage was the right treatment,’ she recalls. – When this happens, people then life suffer phantom pain”.


Olesya Vladykina. Born in 1988 in Moscow. Two-time Paralympic champion, world record holder (2008, 100-breaststroke – 1 min. of 20.58 seconds).

The hospital, then called Olesya her first swimming coach and offered to go back to school, which she left to study. After 5 months, she won “gold” of the Paralympics in Beijing 2008. London 2012 – three more medals. But Rio 2016 – did not happen.

Floating dream

Victoria Khesin, “AIF”: When it began scuffling with appeals to “suspend the Russian Olympic team from the Games, thought, Paralympians following?

Natalia Vodianova and Olesya vladykina in Sochi. Photo:

Olesya vladykina: No, and guess what it means, could not. Because at first, when showered with doping accusations against Russia, no one mentioned in this context – to the Paralympians had no complaints. After some time we are still “remembered” – then we stiffened. Although I still do not believe: this is nonsense – making Paralympians tool for solving some political issues! And that it was political, even no doubt. But when the Olympic team was decided on the admission to the Games, I exhaled. Was 100% sure: if they are going to Rio, so we are. But you see how it all turned out.

– “Now I only think about training”, you said back in July. At what point it became clear that we must think about something else?

– Where-that a week before the start of the Paralympics. We do something long hoped for. First on the court of arbitration for Sport – there is a failure. Then they began to submit to the international Paralympic Committee individual treatment – again failure. It was unbearable. We kind of all knew that the dream slipping away, but continued to work, to press up some results. There were very bad days when I wanted to quit. Then I was in the middle of practice out of the pool and sat on a side. Next was the conversation with the coach. I took myself in hand and returned to the water. And when they announced that instead of Rio we will have alternative competitions in Russia, I shouted: “I do not need it, just want to the Paralympics!” At the same time, strangely, still continued to train.

Olesya vladykina: Appreciate what you have

Paralympians think indomitable people. But Olesya vladykina may cry?

– Of course. The rod inside me, but I is not no iron. And book, and film, and classical music can bring to tears. But lately, no tears. Because of this whole situation. I just laughed over what is happening, although I was in so much agony. Don’t know how to explain it. It’s the feeling of emptiness, powerlessness. You can’t do anything, nothing depends on you.

– Some foreigners have written to you at least SMS with words of support?

– Wrote and called. My fellow Paralympic athletes from other teams, the coaches – everybody said that’s ridiculous, not fair. Including the Americans. Here the British don’t. Because my main rival from Britain. But we never talked.

Olesya vladykina (centre). 2011. Photo:

This is the point?

– It is believed that our Paralympians have got due to the fact that the international Paralympic Committee is headed by the British. Loyalty to Russia Philip Craven could not be demonstrated, the home would not understand.

– I think there are a lot of factors, including the one you mentioned. But, honestly, I personally don’t want to dig in it. Then what it is now – any opinions would matter if they were followed by action. And so it’s just hot air.

Miss and Games-2018?

The point is not even in the Russian team. Importantly, it is an injustice to the people who overcame themselves, their situation, so much effort given to the sport – went to the Games who 4 years who 10. But nobody protected their interests, achievements, anything. All mechanisms, including legal, was not on the side of the athletes, and on the side a few leaders. The system of governance in the International Paralympic Committee could not resist political interference. But if something else will intervene?

– What you have today still holds in the sport, especially considering that the history with exclusion of Paralympic athletes no end in sight?

It’s the most difficult question for me. I twist my head this way and that, but don’t see the motivation. You know, a lot depends on age. It is not in physical form, and in order that put. In my case, when already finished University, graduate school, grad school, sports became, in fact, the only thing. Finally, when the opportunity to focus completely on swimming, to be in this situation as it is now… I Think just makes no sense to stay. Need to live on, to find myself in another.

Olesya vladykina: “Before the Paralympics, I suffered from insomnia”

– Put a point?

– Always think about it. No, I do not make statements on the theme of your career. But it is quite possible that in a month or a year I’ll come to that.

– Olesya, and if you have the feeling that it is only through the scandal of the Paralympians got the attention, which previously could only dream of?

– No, well, after all of the Paralympic sports in Russia has moved from a dead point where you once stood. With government support, it was a decent scale. Well, for example, TV. It seems that Paralympic show on the screen just because someone makes. By and large, think about us once in 2 years – when winter or summer Paralympics. The world Championships, the European Championships, not to mention the Championships of Russia – as it did not exist. I understand, but it is impossible in our case to appeal to some ratings! The media should feel their social responsibility. It’s not the kind of story where you have to try to earn. This is about something else.

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