We all need to admire other people who have succeeded in at least one of countless spheres of our lives, whether it’s medicine, business, commerce, sports, literature etc. Telling the stories of real heroes is what we consider essential for the thriving of younger generations that need examples to take from someone. The brightest minds of our time usually gain their world fame and recognition post mortem, however, such geniuses and stars as Steven Hawking, Steven Spielberg, and David Lynch managed to see generous results of their work with their own eyes. I’m talking about documentaries and autobiographical films. We strongly believe that Russian figure skater Oleg Vasilyev is well worth your admiration and his own autobiographical film as well as all the aforementioned famous people.

Little Oleg was born in Leningrad, modern-day Saint-Petersburg, in 1959. His professional journey began in quite an extraordinary way, different from most stories about a successful career in sports. At the age of five, the boy suffered from pneumonia. Having consulted with a doctor, the parents made a decision to bring in more outdoors activity in their son’s life, which led to Vasilyev taking up skating.

At the time no one realized that this was a life-changing and incredibly wise decision, since later on it became clear that this was the best way for the boy to be and build his life. The result of hard work came around quickly – young Vasilyev won a junior national title, which gave him even more dedication to the occupation he had chosen.

As it happens in life, talented people get noticed by top-notch coaches, and this is just what happened to young and lucky Vasilyev. Tamara Moskvina, the 1969 World silver Medalist and Soviet national champion herself, took over the future star’s training. For numerous times she invited the boy to switch to pair-skating before he finally agreed at the age of 18. He has never regretted making this decision in his life. However, what Oleg Vasilyev did struggle with was finding a suitable partner to work for their mutual goals on ice together. With the first one, Larisa Selezneva, a couple split after three months of work. Afterwards Moskvina paired Oleg with Elena Valova, which was a notable improvement and success in their careers as well as personal life, since later on Vasilyev and Valova got married.

There was much work to do for Vasilyev at a time – his muscles weren’t developed enough for him to become a figure-skating medalist, therefore he had to make great effort to get himself into the needed physical condition. Fortunately for Vasilyev, hard work always pays off.

Oleg Vasilyev and his Partner For Life

It is widely known that Oleg Vasilyev spent some time searching for the right partner to train and work with. He first was paired with Larisa Selezneva, but their connection was weak and they struggled to get along. Eventually, after three months of unsuccessful attempts to find mutual grounds, the couple split. The change was rapid – Elena Valova entered the game and became Vasilyev’s partner both on ice and during his lifetime.

These two were unstoppable; together they won numerous awards, such as bronze at the Prize of Moscow News, gold at the 1982 Skate America, and then silver at the 1983 European Championships. They finished the season by winning first World title.

1984 the couple took gold at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo and, due to the death of several Soviet government officials, they brought home silver from the 1984 World Championship. Needless to say that the connection between the two skaters was incredibly strong, which at the end brought them fame and recognition as outstanding and prominent Soviet figure skaters.

There was a tough patch in Vasilyev’s life when he suffered from health issues. In 1983 a broken jaw held him back from putting the maximum effort into work. Eventually this prevented the couple from taking part in the 1983 national championships.

It took Vasilyev one whole year to overcome the problems connected with the injury and be back to the game. He never gave up, unbelievable dedication and commitment to skating breathed new life into the sportsman, so he kept on working hard.

Fully recovered, Elena Valova and Oleg Vasilyev gained their gold medalis in 1984, at Winter Olympics.

Being such a talented sportsman, Oleg went on with his career as to become a professional couch. Saying goodbye to the world of skating as he retires wasn’t an option in any way, so he took up teaching others how to became as good at skating as he was.

Initially coaching wasn’t of Vasilyev’s interest, although later on he did change his mind. He was offered some decent positions – a contract in the United States, which still didn’t work out for him, then he was coaching for the Latvian federation during one season, followed by two years of coaching for the French federation. The skater can also boast with working experience in Chicago, where it was the most rewarding for him as a coach, also Illinois, and his hometown Saint Petersburg.

Speaking of Chicago, the coach trained eight skaters there, putting his own knowledge and skills into the young and ambitious sportsmen who were lucky to be supervised and mentored by such an honorable person.

He had experience working with figure-skating pair as well, such as Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinnin. They stayed in Vasilyev’s care for 5 years, between 2001 and 2006. It was at this very time when they twice became World champions and even won gold at the Olympics in 2006.

Among others, Vasilyev aslo coached another pair, Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov for 4 years between 2006 and 2010. He helped the young skaters bring home silver medals from European Championships in 2008. A pair of Mukhortova-Trankov split immediately after the World Cup 2010. After that, the coach trained mostly children.

His another trainee was Victoria Volchkova, with whom he worked in 2002-2003. With his help and wise mentorship she won a bronze at the Grand Prix Final.

Until 2014, Vasilyev had been coaching the pair of Katharina Herboldt and Alexander Enbert in Saint Petersburg and an Italian pair of Nicolle Della Monica and Matteo Guarize. After the Olympics the couples turned to other coaches, although still consulting with their old friend and coach.

2014 the coach paired together Vera Bazarova and Andrei Depatat, who are now training in Moscow, representing Moscow and the Republic of Mordovia.

Vasilyev’s incredible dedication and hard-working nature, as well as unwavering love for skating turned out rewarding to great extent. The deed of his life brought him worldwide fame and the possibility to work in the sphere of skating until the very end. The sportsman has been awarded the Order of Friendship of Peoples, titled Honored Coach of Russia, as well as Honored Master of Sports of the USSR. Oleg Vasilyev is one of the brightest representatives of Soviet Russia of the time who got high-quality sports education and passed this knowledge to younger generations. The will to live and achieve a goal that seems unachievable gives Vasilyev’s fans a sense of self-believe and faith in tomorrow and in power of hard work.

Link to Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org

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