Sunday, July 15, 2018

No Ural "defectors" in London Olympics

For the first time in 20 years, there are no Sverdlovsk region Olympic "defectors," a term used to describe Sverdlovsk born athletes representing other countries during the summer games.

The concept of Sverdlovsk defectors was created in 1992 when the German race walking team included Robert Or, who was born in Asbest in the Sverdlovsk region. Or's family moved to Germany to be with his distant ancestors in 1989, according to

In the 1996 Atlanta Games, a second Sverdlovsk defector was added, Galina Balyaeva, a Yekaterinburg-born shooter who competed for Kazakhstan.

In Sydney in 2000, Konstantin Ushkov competed for Kyrgyzstan after first competing for Russian in a previous Olympics. He failed to take home a swimming medal after previously earning a medal for Russia in the 4x100 meter relay. Robert Nemec, another so-called Sverdlovsk defector, left Russia after two Olympics and competed for Uzbekistan at his third competition, reports

In 2004 in Athens, there were five Sverdlovsk defectors, including the Yekaterinburg-born Greek Elias Pavlidis, the Nizhny Tagil-born Kazakhstan representative Daniel Khalimov and Irina Lasko, who became Australian after marriage. Lasko was the only Sverdlovsk defector who has won a medal for the new homeland, earning a bronze for synchronized three meter springboard jumping.

Two native Yekaterinburg athletes competed in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, including Pavlidis and swimmer Alex Puninskii, who competed for Croatia, reports.