More and more often TV channels, newspapers and businesses are using images of popular sportsmen. Belarus Today, the central newspaper of the country was the pioneer in the mutually beneficial cooperation of mass media and champions. Sydney Olympics champion Yanina Korolchik was for a long time the “face” of the paper. The idea attracted more followers.
Family of Max Mirnyi, renowned tennis player, are now smiling from the ads of a cell phone company. “The white lightening” Yulia Nesterenko could not be left aside — she looks at Belarusian people from numerous big boards, urging them to choose a certain mobile service provider.
In their attempt to explore new ground Belarusian sportsmen glimpsed into the musical kitchen. They are only at the start here, but a good beginning is half the battle. Krambambulya project attracted five excellent Belarusian sportspeople in 2003. The song “Guests” was performed by musicians Sergei Mikhalok and Liavon Volski alongside with Alexander Hleb of Arsenal (also playing for the Belarusian soccer team), soccer players Gennady Tumilovich and Alexander Hatskevich, world champion in cycle track Natalia Tsilinskaya and swimmer Alexandra Gerasimenia.
Olga Barabanshikova is leading the crew. She started her way to show business with a video clip. She was the main person in the video history of “Harley” project. Then the girl started singing on her own, released an album, shot several video clips… Now she is thinking of conquering Hollywood. She has been approved for title role in a movie about a young tennis player. By the way, in Hollywood she could use the assistance of Andrei Sviridov who had the gold at European junior basketball cup in 1994. He ended his career quite early, left for the USA and did quite well as an actor in several movies and in an Enrique Iglesias clip. Belarusian sport has shared with Belarusian show business another valuable figure — gymnast Natalia Palchevskaya, who has just presented her new song “Separated”.
Her clip features Valeria Kurilskaya, an 18-old rising star of Belarusian free calisthenics, Andrei Parashchenko, formerly among best handball players in the world, and Sergei Shtaniuk, leader of Belarus soccer team. There are more examples: six fold Barcelona gymnastics champion Vitali Shcherbo stars in Hollywood series “Russians in the City of Angels”, European calisthenics champion Yevgenia Pavlina has been working on TV for many years, ever-present Olga Barabanshikova is also trying television.
Popularity of Belarusian athletes is not surprising, considering the status of sports in Belarus. They have a wonderful opportunity to open their potential in their own country. Isn’t it wonderful that any fan can call in Legion Club to Nikolai Habibulin? The Habibulin, who is by right viewed as the best hockey goal keeper since Vladislav Tretyak. Not bad, is it? By the way, the Stanley Cup winner spends every summer in Minsk (his wife was born here), and comes to the club, which he co-owns, in the evenings. Or you can have some pizza at Liga restaurant, owned by former national team soccer player Radislav Orlovsky. Or why not take your car to the service station owned by one of the best Belarusian hand ball players Andrei Parashchenko? Isn’t it inspiring to have breakfast at Star Cafe of Liudas Rumbutis, 1982 USSR soccer champion (with Minsk-based Dynamo); or to have dinner at Rakovsky Brovar, belonging to Yury Chizh, present Dynamo owner. The place has a wonderful beer brewery, by the way. The beer will go well with meats produced by world track and field champion Vladimir Dubrovshchik.
His company has a very characteristic title — “Olympic Champion”. And in the evening you can go straight to Jamaica — the bowling bar belonging to Anatoly Baidachny, son of the chief coach of the national soccer team. In the morning you can take your child to Yevgenia Pavlina’s calisthenics studio, where she passes her huge sports experience to kids and brings up new champions.
These are the ways Belarusian sportsmen open up in their native land.
by Sergej Kanashitz
Stars and admirers
Sport has now broader sense than just ‘citius, altius, fortius’