The last working day of the year is traditionally a good time to reflect back on it. In the world of Russian sport, December is usually an uneventful month. But the other 11 months had a lot of those - hosted the ice hockey world cup, the confederations cup groups have been determined, legal aspects of the Olympic movement have been learned and chemical formula of meldonium has been studied.
If we focus solely on St. Petersburg, the Northern Capital kept in the rhythm. Lucescu moved to Zenit, Hulk moved away to China, Dmitriy Bivol won a temporary champion's belt. In general, it may take a lot of time to list all victories and losses. But will try to keep it short. Vyacheslav Ukhin shows several aspects which define the year without any mistake – some of those are truly Hollywood-esque
Znarok and his team
SKA has had an excellent year, especially in the current circumstances. The magician Pavel Datsyuk has come back to St. Petersburg to finish off his career. There are enough players to fill two squads. And every player is closely watched by the National team’s management. Oleg Znarok’s team is described as the base club of the national team for a good reason – leaders of the KHL, more than four goals on average in a game. It seems that the Gagarin Cup will again become red-blue in the fall
Hockey for two
Dinamo reached the Premier league last summer. It is a landmark event for the city, which now has two clubs at the top level. A fan would not protest against the newcomers. Some games attract more spectators then matches of the world cup. And the first St. Petersburg VHL derby game attracted the unthinkable 9,5 thousand people. That's 40% more than the official capacity.
That very Zabelinskaya
Doping scandals and all the politics made it clear – we didn't have a lot of support to enjoy at the Rio Olympics. Although there are silver linings here too - like the Gold won by female handball team and Silver won by Olga Zabelinskaya. Having given birth to three children, having spent 18 months in disqualification, to get permission for the Olympics a day before the start and bring back a medal from Brazil - it truly sounds like a Hollywood script.
Friends among the enemies
Politekh, Ladoga and Avtomobilist have gone down because of financial problems. Volleyball players did not even finish their matches in “A” league. Spartak won the second super league under the guidance of Zakhar Pashutin. However, not only it would not get the promotion, but also would not be able to carry its name until all debts have been repaid. On the 81st year of its existence, the red and whites have turned into the basketball club of Kondrashin and Belov, in short – BK KB. Such a move did not bring any luck – after the first round, the team, now run by Alexey Vasilyev, is second to last in the league of only eight teams.
Specifics of national curling
The curling season was very successful – world cup on mixed doubles in Sweden, world cup on mix in Kazan and gold medal at the European tournament in Scotland. Definitely the best year in the rocky history of this sport in Russia. All national teams are built with athletes from St. Petersburg. Only the men’s team did not win any medals this year. However, unlike before – when seventh place was the ceiling – this year's semifinal is almost like a sensation. There's still a chance to make a very loud statement in March – when the world tournament on classic curling will take place.