Russian Weightlifter Musokhranov Determined to Pursue Olympic Dream Despite Challenges
Russian Weightlifter Musokhranov Determined to Pursue Olympic Dream Despite Challenges
Oleg Musokhranov, a resilient weightlifter from Russia, refuses to be deterred by the obstacles in his path as he sets his sights on the Olympics. At 33 years old, Musokhranov is already looking ahead to the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028, despite the disappointment of not being able to compete in the Paris Games due to restrictions imposed on Russian athletes.

Russian Weightlifter Musokhranov Resiliently Pursues Olympic Dream

Location: Tula, Russia (AFP)

Defying all odds, weightlifter Oleg Musokhranov, asserts that "Russians never throw in the towel" as he considers sitting out of the upcoming Paris Olympics. Despite being 33 by the time the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics roll around, the four-time champion of Russia remains focused on his long-term goal.

While acknowledging the disappointment of missing the Paris Games due to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) restrictions imposed on Russian athletes following the military operation in Ukraine, Musokhranov states, "It is not the end of the world." He emphasizes that his decision to compete this year relies on the presence of the Russian national anthem and flag, both of which will be absent during the Paris Games.

Speaking late January at a competition in Tula, located 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Moscow, Musokhranov stresses the significance of representing one's country and hearing the national anthem as an athlete. Russia has vehemently criticized the IOC's conditions, condemning them as discriminatory. Maxime Agapitov, president of the Russian weightlifting federation, shares this sentiment in a letter addressed to AFP, deriding the Paris Games as a mere "festival" falsely and regrettably branded as the Olympic Games.

Agapitov expresses particular frustration over the potential loss of Olympic experiences for weightlifters in Musokhranov's age group. Describing weightlifting as a demanding and short-lived career, with few athletes maintaining top performance for several years, Agapitov offers a more positive perspective, drawing from his own achievement as a world champion at the age of 27.

Musokhranov acknowledges that many weightlifters his age retire, but he firmly believes his form and motivation remain at their peak, making him confident in his decision to continue with his eye on the Los Angeles Olympics in four years. The father of two daughters attributes his unwavering dedication to his long-standing love for the sport, which was sparked at the age of 11 while waiting for a friend at a training session.

Musokhranov acknowledges that success depends on both physical prowess and unyielding desire. Despite serving a three-month doping suspension in 2013, he remains determined and hungry for victory. With his mischievous eyes and captivating stage presence, Musokhranov engages in psychological mind games with his competitors, as witnessed during his victory in the 61kg category at the Russia Cup in Tula shortly after the interview with AFP.

While Musokhranov acknowledges the limited opportunities to gauge his standing against non-Russian opponents due to the ongoing events in Ukraine, he maintains an optimistic outlook. While he acknowledges that emulating his idols Evgeny Chigishev, the Russian silver medalist of the 2008 Beijing Games, or Halil Mutlu, Turkey's three-time Olympic champion, may be challenging, Musokhranov finds solace in competing in events such as the Russian Cups and Championships. Furthermore, he cherishes his victory in Caracas, Venezuela last year, while eagerly yearning for a similar outcome in Los Angeles in 2028.



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