Roman Vlasov in a battle against Dmitry Pushkov

The World Wrestling Championship has ended in Oslo. The national teams of Russia in both types won the overall standings. The wrestlers scored 173 points (USA – 168, Iran – 162), classics – 152 (Iran – 146, Azerbaijan – 107). But the women’s team took seventh place. The Iranian classics took four gold medals from the capital of Norway, but still lost to Russia in the overall standings, since our wrestlers became medalists in eight out of 10 weight categories. The only gold medal for the Russian national Greco-Roman wrestling team was brought by two-time Olympic champion Roman Vlasov. This is his third world championship victory. Vlasov did not participate in the Tokyo Olympics, which was a serious blow for him. But he did not give up, performed well in Oslo and expects to win the Olympics in Paris.

On Monday, October 11, the classic wrestlers returned to Moscow. At Sheremetyevo they were met by an ensemble of Russian folk dances (with bread and salt), young wrestlers with flags and relatives – for example, Vlasov’s wife, epee fencer Violetta Kolobova, was waiting with her little son in her arms. Despite this, the two-time Olympic champion found time to talk to Izvestia.

After winning the World Cup, you made a post in which you wrote: “There is happiness.” Can we say that this gold is special for you?

Yes. It is even more important than Olympic gold. I was preparing for this world championship, as for the third Olympics. All the volume that I was preparing for the Olympics has poured out here. It was very hard for me not to go to Tokyo. It was very important for me to throw out this accumulated strength, the accumulated volumes. And I threw them out at the championship of the planet. There is nothing sweeter to become the best in the world! I haven’t won the World Cup since 2015… The hardest, most difficult days for me were this year. This is how I wanted to finish it.

– Couldn’t fall asleep for a long time after this victory?

– When I won for the first time, I had just such feelings – I could not sleep for a long time. I did not believe that I had become a world champion, an Olympic champion. At least once to rise to this level, to be infected with it – and that’s it, you become a person who, one might say, is dependent on victories. But this is a good addiction. Look at many great athletes – as long as there is health, they perform. Because there is nothing sweeter than a sports path, than the opportunity to glorify your country, your family, write your name in history.

Roman Vlasov in a battle against Dmitry Pushkov

Фото: United World Wrestling/Tony Rotundo

– You quite confidently reached the final, but there it was already difficult – you won 2: 1.

Despite the score, I had difficult opponents. Heavy lot. Everything still passed so quickly – literally 15-20 minutes [между схватками], did not have time to rest – and already immediately had to leave. It was visually easy, but in reality it was not easy. As for the final, a young, very promising guy, already a European champion, gave a really good fight. I was preparing for another. I thought that I would do all my signature moves in the stalls and so I would bring the meeting to the end. But he only missed one point. Fortunately, I took it. I managed to keep him, but it was worth a titanic effort – he already had nothing to lose. By the end of the fight, I was very tired, I felt that I had given everything.

– Those were very difficult days for me, because, probably, it will be said immodestly, but it seems to me I didn’t really win, but I wouldn’t lose to those people who stood on the podium. But now this is history. Apparently, I was destined to go this way. Apparently, I shouldn’t have gone there. There are no excuses. I myself made a mistake at the tournament in Poland – I did not win it, and this turned into the fact that I went to the World Cup, not to the Olympic Games. But, you know, it only extended my sports career.

I wanted to win the third Olympics and end up with sports. And you see – I will be an active athlete for another three years. This cannot but please many fans. I wanted to show myself in a different direction, but I still have the dream of becoming a three-time Olympic champion, like Alexander Karelin. I will do everything to become one.

– That is, you did not have such thoughts – they say, that’s it, enough to fight?

There were such thoughts. But I drove them. The easiest way is to leave on a wave when everything is bad. It is not for nothing that I have been living in sports for so long to leave on such a wave. I didn’t want to finish after I didn’t qualify for the Olympics, I became number three. I wanted to prove the opposite – that I deserve more. Of course it was difficult. But if a dream burns in a person, then he will overcome difficulties. And good people surround me. This year my son was born. My son is my main victory. I can explain this situation [что не попал на Олимпиаду] the fact that God sent me a son. It is impossible for him to give me everything at once – both the third Olympic gold and the son. I look at it this way: this year God gave me a son, today – the gold of the world championship. Therefore, thank God for everything!

Roman Vlasov

Фото: United World Wrestling/Kadir Caliskan

– Now your task is to take gold at the Paris Olympics?

Yes. But to get there, I need to get a license, to play domestically. This is a rather difficult, long way. Now I can’t say that I’m already preparing for the Olympics, I’m conserving, I’m entering the home stretch. No, I need to be in the cage participate once every three months in some kind of start. There has never been a shortage of personnel in Russia [в греко-римской борьбе]… Here you must always confirm your leadership. It would seem that in that cycle I was number one, everything seemed to be fine. But then I made a mistake once or twice – and this led to the fact that I missed the Olympics.

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