2 October 2013, 17:15

'Road to Sochi-2014' project: start in US, finish in Russia

'Road to Sochi-2014' project: start in US, finish in Russia

The people in the US are learning the latest news about the Sochi Olympics not only from the traditional mass media but also from the promoters of the project "Road to Sochi 2014". Its participants are Russian nationals. In an interview with the VoR Larisa Petrenko, President of the American Association of Russian Women (AARW) and one of the organizers of this project, said a few words about how the idea of this project came into being, what it is aimed at and what the expected results might be.

Ordinary American citizens practically know nothing about the Russian sport and know even less about Sochi, the capital of the Sochi 2014 Olympics, Larisa Petrenko said. In order to correct this situation, the American Association of Russian Women and the Russian-American Sports Association "Harmony" have invented the "Road to Sochi 2014" project.

"We have decided to set up a sports team – a team of Russian athletes - living in the US, Russia and the CIS countries so that they will be able to take part in a number of track -and-field competitions in the US. The point is that marathons are very popular in the US. Besides, a marathon is the most large-scale kind of sport in America. This year all these athletes have taken part in the most prestigious marathons in America, with the number of participants ranging from 50 to 100,000. And as regards the viewers – there’re always millions of them!"

As part of this project that was organized with the support of the Russian Embassy in Washington as well as with the support of the RosCooperation Office, many marathons and races were held in the US, and many famous Russian athletes- the winners of numerous marathons in the US - have taken part in them, Petrenko said proudly.

"Among those who took part in the marathon that kicked off in Washington on March 16th were the champion of the Soviet Union, a two -time champion of the Boston marathon and the winner of the first Washington marathon Andrei Kuznetsov; the Soviet sport legend Tatyana Pozdnyakova, a four-time World Champion, a seven-time champion of the Soviet Union and the best runner in the "Masters" category; Firaya Sultanova, a three-time champion of the Boston Marathon whose record is still in force, and also Lyudmila Petrenko, who remains the only Russian to have ever won the New York City Marathon." The organizers of the "Road to Sochi 2014" project have got involved in various types of activities aiming to promote the Sochi Olympics.

"All our participants of the Washington Marathon wore T-shirts bearing the inscription ‘Sochi 2014’. Besides, we issued advertising information materials, where we offered information in English about the history of the Olympic movement and about Sochi. We gave these booklets to the runners on the finish line, thus, causing a great deal of interest among the Americans. Newsmen and television reporters put a few questions to us. The representatives of the United States Olympic Committee were interested as well. It turned out that the US Olympic Committee has a similar project. Its task is to provide information about the US athletes who will take part in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. The US representatives talked with us and interviewed us."

Three marathons have already been held within the framework of the "Road to Sochi 2014" project, and another two are still ahead," Larisa Petrenko said. "Our project was not involved in the Boston Marathon on April 15th where a tragedy occurred," she continued. "Despite that, our team went to Boston to pay its last respects to all those who were killed and put flowers near the commemorative plaque there.

The finish of the "Road to Sochi Project" is set for December 23rd . The final stage will include the competitions "Mother, Father and I are a Sports Family" uniting both children and adults, Petrenko said. And a press conference with the participation of journalists and TV reporters, which will be dedicated to the results of the "Road to Sochi 2014" project, will take place on December 13th .

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