Five Russian ice cross downhill specialists, including top athlete Andrey Lavrov, have qualified to represent their country at the 2012 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships.
The young Russians’ introduction to this non-Olympic adrenaline-packed winter sport began last February when a stage of the world championships was held in Moscow.
The country’s skaters are still far from the accomplishments boasted by their North American and Scandinavian counterparts.
However the leader of team Russia, Andrey Lavrov, who finished in eighth place at last winter’s event in the Russian capital, has become an integral part of the Crashed Ice family, placing athletes from his native land firmly on the international ice cross downhill map.
“Last year we had a world championship stop here in Moscow,” Lavrov said. “And Russian guys proved that they are really good on their skates – as most of them are born wearing skates. In the final part of the competition there were 64 athletes, and 14 of them were Russian guys. It’s a good result. Only the Canadian guys showed a better score.”
Lavrov will be joined by another four skaters at the upcoming Crashed Ice world championships.
They were among the 21 regional Russian champions who fought for a place on the national team in Moscow.
For some of them it’s not only a unique chance to represent their country, but also to travel to places their friends can only dream about.
“If you’re strong enough to stand on the ice and be first, then welcome,” Aleksey Savichev, the Red Bull Crashed Ice Russia organizer, said. “They’re fighting to represent their country and, of course, to get a chance to surf around the world – there’ll be stops in the US, Canada, Sweden and Netherlands – and maybe even get there first.”
First stop for these Russian daredevils is the US with the opening stage of the Red Bull Crashed Ice event taking place in January in Minnesota.
The skaters will then move on to the Netherlands followed by Sweden, the country where this sport originated.
And it will all culminate in March with the final race in Canada’s Quebec which is considered the Mecca of ice cross downhill.