The World Ski Championship started in Planica . The Russians were not allowed there for well-known reasons.
But in Malinovka they hold “Champion’s Heights” – an alternative tournament for our athletes, the program of which repeats the Slovenian one to one. And if you think that Russian champions are grieving a lot, then you are wrong.
Malinovka is a resort village in the Arkhangelsk region. Insanely beautiful: snow everywhere, forests and several dozen wooden cottages, which are mainly used for surrender to athletes. Skiers say that the slopes here are also top.
The only downside to this place is the accessibility.
The most realistic way to get there is by train. From Moscow 14 hours to Kostylevo. From there it is 20 kilometers to the stadium. The only option is a taxi. But the main problem is not even that. There are only two hotels in the area. Which have long been booked to capacity.
In Malinovka itself, all the more so without a chance – not even all the athletes have enough space there.
When I arrived, I found out that you can negotiate with the locals – and rent rooms from them for 1000-1500 per night. But there are few fans ready to join such adventures. Therefore, almost all the fans at the stadium are residents of the Arkhangelsk region.
By the way, even they were enough to create a mood. One can only dream of what would have happened if infrastructure had appeared there.
Ustyugov turned into a sports monk – and won
The atmosphere in the heart of Russian skiing is truly homely.
• For example, in the main cafe of the stadium, everyone was upset when they learned that the qualifications for the main “Match” would not be shown. So Nina, the head of the kitchen, subscribed to one of the paid platforms on her card. Thanks to her, Malinovka gained access to the “Match Arena” and watched the broadcast from the very beginning.
• Employees of the organizing committee are called to help and give a ride to those who live in hotels 20 km from the stadium.
• And Sergey Ustyugov, who won the sprint, shook hands with all the journalists before the start of the winning speech. “Well, I know all of you.” Imagine this in football.
Insanely good Ustyugov was on the track. He won the qualification (which Malinovka, thanks to Nina, nevertheless saw in the heat), and then easily reached the final, where he masterfully dealt with Terentyev and Bolshunov.
– In the summer here I was a sack. That’s exactly what they called me. I walked with a belly. Now someone’s tongue is unlikely to turn so to speak.
I prepared in Syktyvkar and, you know, there I fell in love with skiing again. I trained and saw how people came to the track with their whole families – with backpacks, sandwiches. I looked at them and it motivated me. I got so crazy that on rest day, instead of lying in bed or going to the city, I went to the gym. I turned into a sports monk: I lived at the stadium, trained daily, talked to my family on the phone.
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