Danila Zhilyaev Please play with us: Why victories at the BRICS Games do not make Russians happy 06/19/2024, 13:39

Kazan is hosting the BRICS Games. In an environment of international ban, this looks like a bright event for Russian sports. Our outstanding athletes – Angelina Melnikova, Nikita Nagorny, Artur Dalaloyan – are participating in competitions again to please the fans.

But there is a nuance. Even a few.

The BRICS Games are held on the same dates as the European Football Championship. It is clear what the world’s interest is. For the collective Western countries, Russian sport is now something legendary, almost non-existent. There are exceptions such as NHL players, tennis players and rare neutral athletes in the Olympics, but this one is a bit “different”.

However, even in Russia, matches involving Muller, Kane, Depay and Mbappe attract much more attention than the matches in Kazan. On Sunday, June 16, almost all fans of Spartak Moscow were waiting for the red-white Serbian national team defender Srdjan Babic to take the field in the match against England and were upset that he was left on the bench. Almost no competition in the BRICS Games had a comparable “expectation score”.

To compare the degree of interest in the competition, just open the program of the Match TV channel. Euro 2024 matches need to be broadcast live. From the BRICS competitions – one and a half broadcasts per day on the main channel and approximately the same amount on side channels.

Many times I have heard elite athletes complain that the popularization of the sport depends on broadcasts. Here the situation looks like a vicious circle: on the one hand, the mass audience does not have a great desire to watch traditional diving. On the other hand, without publications, desire is unlikely to arise.

But the real problem is not broadcasts. A more important and urgent question is: Who will he compete with?

The majority of Russians were not allowed to participate in the Olympics. Of course, no one in Russia saw the BRICS Games as an alternative to the main four-year sports forum – so far of the Olympics – at least in terms of inertia, given all the IOC’s oddities in recent years. ruins. But more importantly, no one abroad could come up with the idea of ​​putting the BRICS Games on par with the Olympic Games.

27 sports. Approximately 90 participating countries. 4751 athletes. This information is displayed on the home page of the official website of the BRICS Games. Large scale, solid, right? So how many countries did delegations actually come from? No one can answer this question. And for some reason synchronized swimmer Alexander Maltsev wins gold and rises to the first step of the podium, and there is no one next to him! The Russian athlete competed with himself.

This was unwittingly reminiscent of the uncontested elections in our country’s not-too-distant communist past. Is there a need to go to competitions? Necessary. Is the result known to everyone? Famous. So, if there is no competition, what is the interest of the audience and the honor of the prize?

Maltsev himself avoids this topic and shifts the emphasis to the need to carry out his program.

“It has happened to me many times that I performed alone, without competitors. We always set it up the same way. We are trying to show the best performance of our program. Therefore, it does not matter to us how many competitors we have at a particular startup. We don’t even look at the scores, we look at the quality of implementation of the program, its perception, and the emotions it gives. The way it leaves a reaction in the audience. This is the main criterion for us. “And I’m quite happy with myself, we can say that everything is going well,” he said.

There was competition in artistic gymnastics. The material in the Free Press publication includes an interview with Olympic speed skating champion and State Duma deputy Svetlana Zhurova. The publication’s correspondent notes that the approach of foreign athletes in artistic gymnastics competitions looks funny, and Zhurova agrees. But he also puts forward the counter argument: “But you watched these competitions! Yes, not only the lazy ones smiled at foreign gymnasts who unsuccessfully tried to exercise in the rings. But we all watched! “There was a huge audience.”

The famous former athlete is, of course, right: the BRICS Games in Kazan really attract crowds and local fans are delighted with the arrival of their idol. And broadcasts still have their own audience. But Zhurova is also right that the competition at the BRICS Games only causes laughter.

Gymnast Daniel Marinov received congratulations from Kazan mayor Ilsur Metshin after winning the gold medal in the individual general classification. Absolutely lovely. But there was still something that upset the athlete. “I thought the competition would be tougher. They were now competing more with each other among Russians. Sometimes I didn’t even look at who was on the field from other countries,” he said.

Yes, there are foreign athletes in Kazan, and representatives of 29 countries in total have already won medals. However, as of June 18, the leading Russians in the medal rankings have 246 awards, 117 of which are gold. By comparison, the second-place Belarusians have 97 medals, only 19 of which are gold.

There have been tournaments before where the national team had an unconditional advantage in the medal rankings due to lack of competition. While Russia fielded many professional athletes with Olympic experience at the Universiade held in Kazan in 2013, many other countries brought ordinary students. In this case, it is not surprising that the Russians, who came first in the medal rankings, received 292 awards, and the Chinese, who took the second place, received 77 awards.

The legendary 1980 Olympics in Moscow, of course, left a rich sports and sociocultural legacy, but they took place under boycott conditions. 66 countries, including the United States, China, Japan, Canada and Germany, ignored the Soviet Games, and the visiting British, Italians, Australians, French and Portuguese competed under the IOC flag. Later, Soviet athletes surpassed all competitors by winning 195 medals, including 80 gold.

But even in these cases there was no need to talk about the complete absence of competition.

You can congratulate the Russians as much as you like for their endless victories in the BRICS Games, but the value of these achievements is objectively small. And we can only imagine what kind of fire will burn in the eyes of Russian fans if our athletes win at least a third of these medals at the Olympics.

For now, it’s clear that the BRICS Games are a dubious spectacle for fans and an expensive workout for athletes.

The author expresses his personal opinion, which may not coincide with the position of the editors.

What are you thinking?

Source: Gazeta


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