Swimmer Alexander Popov: photo, biography, personal life and sporting achievements
Alexander Popov - the pride of domestic water sports. He is not just a swimmer from Russia and a winner of many medals, but also a world record holder. Despite the difficult injury that has become a tragedy in the biography of a swimmer, Alexander Popov managed to return to the big sport. On the life of this charismatic man, sports and thirst for victories, read the article.
Childhood and youth of the future champion
Alexander Popov was born on November 16, 1971 in a family of workers who lived in the closed town of the Sverdlovsk region. Mom and dad of the future champion worked in a secret factory. Parents loved their son, but did not even know about his great future. In early childhood, Sasha was sick a lot, so he was recorded in the pool.
To the surprise of adults, the boy immediately fell in love with swimming. His first coach, Galina Vitman, was quickly able to make out in the awkward boy the future champion. Alexander Popov grew, and at the same time his professionalism grew.
Sasha spent a lot of time in the pool, which could not but affect his school performance. Parents were extremely unhappy that their son was so scornful of learning, and even offered to quit sports. Alexander Popov categorically refused. The boy had already seen himself as a professional swimmer and dreamed of Olympic gold.
School Alexander Popov graduated in half. His ratings left much to be desired. But handsome, broad-shouldered, he dreamed of swimming. After graduating from school, he escaped from the "postal town" and went to Volgograd to apply to the Institute of Physical Culture. Strong guy enrolled in the list of students VIFKa, where he continued training.
Mentor Popov became Anatoly Zhuchkov. The coach decided that the most promising type of swimming for Alexander was on his back. The guy trained hard, but he did not succeed. As a result, the future champion decided to change his swimming style and coach.
So Alexander Popov began to study under the strict guidance of the wise mentor Gennady Turetsky. It was he who examined the sprinter in Popov. By that time, Sasha was already a tall young man with a powerful back andlong arms He perfectly felt the water and really turned out to be a great sprinter.
At the 20th year of life, our hero went to Athens for his debut European Championship. Swimmer Alexander Popov showed a brilliant result, winning 4 gold medals. Here it is - the result of work and constant training.
Alexander Popov discovered a great sport, and the world saw our swimmer.
After such a triumphal debut he was invited to the national team. To defend the honor of the country at the Olympic Games in 1992, the sprinter went to Barcelona. And once again he was waiting for success. From Barcelona, Alexander Popov returned to his homeland in the status of Olympic champion. He surrendered to the distance of 50 and 100 meters. And in the team relay he earned silver.
A series of triumphant speeches and victories did not end thereafter. After the rapid take-off, the envious people prophesied the same rapid fall to Alexander Popov. But our hero did not want to stop there. He worked on himself, kept the sport mode, perfected the technique.
At the 1993 European Championships, he won two gold medals, and in 1994 at the World Championships he broke the world record.
At the World Championships, which was held in Vienna, Alexander again confirmed his championship title.
A real living legend swimmer Alexander Popov became after a speech at the 1996 World Championships, which was held in Atlanta. Despite all the titles and achievements of our compatriot, the victory in the championship was predicted by the American swimmer Gary Hall. The opponent was really in excellent physical shape. And his daring behavior testified to complete confidence in his primacy. The situation was complicated by the fact that the whole country was sick of Hall, while the Russian athlete did not have such support. President Clinton himself arrived at the competition to support Gary. What was the disappointment of the fans when it was Alexander Popov who won the double gold championship, leaving Hall behind.
On the verge of life and death
In August 1996, a tragic event occurred in the biography of Alexander Popov. At 25, the guy was literally in the balance from death. The media was full of headlines that hooligans slaughtered a world-wide star. In fact, the following happened: Alexander Popov and his friend accompanied two charming girls to the subway, on the way they met hooligans who began to insult the girls.The guys stood up for their friends, as a result of which there was a fight. Uninvited guests were armed with knives. The champion suffered a head injury and a penetrating knife wound to the side. As it turned out, the knife touched the lung and kidney.
Thanks to the girls, who did not lose their head and caught a ride, Alexander was taken to the hospital in time. The brilliant surgeon Avtandil Manvelidze immediately sent the victim to the operation. He did not follow the standard instructions and changed the course of the operation, so that our hero was able to continue his career. Learning about what happened, many put an end to Alexander as an athlete.
Spite to all the spiteful critics, Popov quickly went on the mend and recovered from his injury. His return to the sport was pleasantly shocked by all the lovers of swimming. In the summer of 1997, after injuries suffered, our sprinter earned two medals at once.
The following year, Alexander Popov won the Olympic gold for the third time.
Then, in 1998, he was awarded the Cup of the best swimmer of the decade.
Two years later, Alexander Popov, for the second time in his sports career, became a champion, breaking the world record at a distance of 50 meters.
Completion of sports career
After 2000, Popov's sporting achievements were not so bright, his career began to decline. Having earned a few more medals, our champion ended his sports career in the same place where it began - in Athens.
Since 2005, Alexander Popov has been working "in the rear". He is a member of the International Swimming Federation, is a member of the Olympic Committee. Popov works in the Ministry, dealing with the development of sports.
Alexander Popov is married to swimmer Darya Shmeleva. The couple registered the marriage in 1997. For more than 20 years, the spouses have lived together, have three children. Alexander and Darya have two sons and a daughter.
An excerpt from Popov’s biography — his rise, injury, and triumphant return — captured in a drama about the lives of titled athletes “Champions: Faster. Higher. Stronger".