Student of Russian New University took part in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony
Who could imagine that the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony would become so important for Russian New University? Alexander Halilyulin, the student of the 4th course and at the same time the scientist at the Laboratory of Computer Engineering of Russian New University told how everything went, what was the price of the success and what hardships did participants have to face.
Alexander was successfully casting for rolling volunteers and became one of the 270 lucky men who not only saw the Opening Ceremony "live" but also took part in it.
Sasha, how did you know about this casting?
My best friend found the advertisement on one of the forums of the roller shop where it was written that they needed rollers who were able to skate well enough as well as figure-skaters and dancers for participation in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony.
I made an application and was invited to the first auditions. The members of the jury were rolling coach (rolling means trick performance and in-line skating) Kristina Lysenko, Honoured Master of Sports Ilia Averbukh and Ruslan Kim, the professional roller from "Gorilla" team. In the first place 270 people went audition but then many of them dropped put. The reason was the lack of time for exercises.
In what way the exercises were performed?
Beginning from January almost every day we spent five hours training in one of the pavilions of All-Russia Exhibition Centre. The conditions were very hard, it was difficult to skate in the pavilion because of the crashed concrete ceiling and the dust kicked up during the programme performance. But all these shouldn't had influence our goal to create and perform the programme.
The uncertainty constantly baffled us. The thing we had long rehearsed was on the other day not needed anymore and we had to begin all over again. There was one situation. We created a very difficult programme but later it turned out that we would have little time for it. And we had to shorten the programme in order to reach the spots in time (the spots helped to orient better during the performance. The place of each participant was marked with spot). Than a week before flying to Sochi our programme was discommended and we had to begin from scratch.
How did Sochi greet you?
Somebody flew to Sochi on 24th of January but I with the rest of the group flew on 26th. Immediately they took us to the temporary Olympic Village, which was five minutes away from the Olympic Park. The village consisted from the three-storied buildings with walls made literally from cardboard. There were 6 men in one room and every noise was heard! After arrival when we hadn't yet opened our suitcases they asked us to come for rehearsal.
For a week we trained intensely almost every day, from morning till 11 o'clock in the evening. After rehearsals we returned to our rooms in the village run out of steam and only two days before the Opening Ceremony we got the day off. Then we went to Sochi and of course we roller bladed and managed to visit the Olympic Park, the Russian House and the embankment. There were a lot of foreigners but of course the number of Russian fans was bigger. And it seemed to me that the Canadians were the friendliest and the most cheerful nation.
What were your impressions after the last training?
Frankly speaking, during the first official rehearsal we performed not very well as if we lacked something. At the second full rehearsal they remarked upon our performance - what should be changed or improved. And at the stadium the strong wind blew and we wore only thin costumes. Because of that almost all of us became ill. On the opening day we performed the programme several times but finally were able to take a walk and observe the stadium.
Did any funny events occur during the performance?
There were a lot people who were injured during the rehearsals. Everybody got tension of ligaments. The leader of my file broke the collarbone two days before the Opening ceremony. In his day off he decided to slide down the Bolshoy Akhun Mountain but during his descent he stumbled and fell down. Do not forget that the speed was very high, about 50-60 km/h. In the morning he underwent a surgery and, of course, took the part in the ceremony waving with only one hand.
What were your impressions after the Opening Ceremony?
We performed at the very end of the ceremony, in the final stage. We performed everything as we did during the rehearsals and we didn't feel any disturbance. The most important for us was to know our own spots, coordinates, movements. I tried not to pay attention to the roar from the tribune and not to get distracted from the programme performance. On the contrary the music and the camera flashes exhilarated a lot. At that moment I understood that those nerve -racking months wasn't a waste of time. We all were very happy and it was very pleasant that everybody wanted to have a picture with us.
What were your impressions after the Olympics in general?
They were very positive, I experienced a lot. But I can't look at Olympic brand mark any more. And it's clear that this Olympiad is important for Russia. For us, the rollers, taking part in such large-scale event meant a lot. For a long time there is a talk that in-line skating will become the Olympic kind of sport so let's hope it will become true!
Interviewed by Marta Opelyants