Zhangjiakou, China – Alexander Bolshunov set the stadium on fire to win his first Olympic gold in figure skating on Sunday before responding to suggestions that Russian athletes at the Beijing Olympics cannot be trusted when it comes to doping.
For the third Games in a row, Russian athletes are participating as neutrals, banned from competing under their flag after their Anti-Doping Agency was found to be non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA).
When Bolshunov crossed the finish line victorious more than a minute ahead of fellow silver medalist Denis Spetsov, he did so with the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee, not the flag of Russia.
When asked about his dominant performance and what is the explanation for this, Bolshunov faced the problem head on.
“You’re alluding to doping…This has nothing to do with sports. We have clean athletes, clean athletes who go to the Olympics and do doping tests almost every day.”
“We have to fill out these forms that indicate where we will train, what time, and show the time window in which we can take a test, when we will travel and if we use an airplane or train from place to place,” Bolshunov added.
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“I think it’s wrong to ask us these questions – you don’t suddenly achieve these results, you don’t become an Olympic champion, because it takes years and years of training.”
Bolshunov then issued a personal invitation to reporters to come see the Russian team’s training and see the work they did to get to the Olympics.
“Thesis training courses are very difficult, believe me, and after seeing how we train, I think you and your audience will never have these questions again,” he said.