The president of the RFB, the captain of the Russian national team at the victorious EuroBasket 2007, Andrei Kirilenko compared the importance of the gold of the European championship and the bronze awards of the Olympic Games in London.
“We had an excellent national team, which twice became second at the World Championships in 1994 and 1998. I was a big fan of hers. She could have won both the European Championship and the World Championship – if not for Zeljko Rebrachy’s block shot. But only we succeeded. That victory pumped us up a lot. We got a wonderful experience, and the national team for the next 10 years was established among the best teams in the world. Later there was bronze in 2011, when we also suffered only one defeat, and bronze at the Olympic Games in London.
This is the only victory that the Russian men’s national team has so far. Probably, after her, the main achievement is the third place in London, then – two silver medals at the world championships. In my opinion, we can be proud of such results. But I hope that there will be a generation that will surpass them.
It is impossible to compare the gold of the Eurobasket and the bronze of the Olympic Games. Both were steep. Of course, the Olympics is a special competition. But we still didn’t win it. And 15 years ago, gold was taken from Madrid. I will not say that it is better, but the meaning is slightly different. On the other hand, here we became the first only in Europe, and at the Olympic Games – the third in the world,” Kirilenko said.
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