The first week of the Olympiad didn’t bring a single medal for Belarus but the situation then drastically changed, with awards ‘snowing in’. Trampolinist Vladislav Goncharov, aged 20, took a miraculous gold, defeating the famously unbeaten Chinese, who inspires fear even among Russians.
The Chinese usually win by the complexity of their programme, making it essential to surpass the height of their somersaults. Vitebsk’s Vladislav, with his coach Olga Vlasova, decided to use alternative tactics, simplifying their programme two years ago, to ensure purity. It was a risky move, but paid off.
In the qualification round, Goncharov finished second in both exercises and confidently entered the top eight. Performing last but one, the Belarusian already knew the results of almost all his major rivals. He incorporated his best moves, and gained the highest number of points from the judges — 61.745.
Our athlete outstripped the leader of the Chinese team, the London 2012 Olympic champion, Dong Dong, to standing ovations. The great Dong sat on the bench with a stony face…
“Our rivals panicked in the finals. I stayed calm and did everything brilliantly in my final performance. I devote my victory to all Belarus and to all those who believed in us and supported us,” noted Vladislav Goncharov, after the awards ceremony. The golden Olympic medal shone on his breast like the Brazilian Sun: the first in the history of Belarusian trampolining.
Viewed as hopeless
When Vladislav was six years old his mother enrolled him in gymnastics but he was axed three months later, as coaches thought his ability to stretch was poor. Since Soviet times, the Vitebsk school has been viewed as one of the strongest in the world. Vladislav met Olga Vlasova at the gym and she, with her experienced eye, immediately saw his divine spark, which brought him to Brazil 14 years later.
Vladislav also has an aptitude for languages, having picked up English, French and Italian. He is now mastering Spanish, studying at the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture.
He hasn’t forgotten his native sports school #1, auctioning his smartphone to raise money for talented youngsters wishing to travel abroad to take part in competitions.
Vladislav has no doubt that his smartphone will be bought with enthusiasm, since the device is unique, being released as part of the limited Olympic series. Moreover, it boasts lots of Vladislav’s personal photos from Olympic Rio, and not only from his performance.
The champion has been dating his national teammate, Anna Gorchenok of Vitebsk, for several years. Anna is a European champion and a prize winner of world championships, but had bad luck in Rio. Having overshot the trampoline on one jump, she was placed eighth in the final. However, after Vladislav claimed gold, she forgot about her own failure and was the first to congratulate Goncharov on his Olympic victory.