|TCHUKARIN Victor Ukraine
Discipline: Mens Artistic
|Last update: 05/09/2011|
|Date of birth:||09/11/1921||Age:||93|
|Place of birth:||DONETSK||
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|Victor Chukarin - the Allround Champion of the Olympic Games of 1952 and 1956 in Gymnastics - was born on November 9, 1921 in the Donetsk-city region.
The way he was introduced to the gymnastics was simple: "Once,when I was a teenager, there was a gymnastics exhibition in Mariupol where I lieved at the time" - recalled Chukarin. "And the next day I constructed some kind of a bar and started to train."
He had made his decision: Gymnastics was all he needed, it became his dream, his goal and his life. As a result, when it came to choosing where to study,there was no other choice for him but the Sport School and later the Institute of Physical Education. It was World War II that interrupted his studies and training.
"Of course, we the pupils of the Sport School were among the first volunteers of our town. There were no problem - we were healthy, trained, strong and eager to join the Army. But not long afterwards, our troops were surrounded and we got under heavy fire."
Chukarin was seriously wounded an fell uncounscious. When he regained consciousness, he saw that he and his commander, Vasily Sidorenko, former USSR hight jumping champion, were lying on the ground unarmed and surrounded by enemies with machine guns.
"Had it not been for my friends who helped me, I would have been killed very soon as many others.I could hardly walk. "But his peers kept him going. He tried to escape several times, but could not get too far - he was too weak and there were German patrols everywhere.
Thus, his trial in the concentration camps started. He could not use his name,instead was simply referred to as " Number 10491" for four long years. One day in april 1945, the prisoners were embarked on a large ship with grenades on board and taken far to the open sea.
That meant that one careless move or collision with any moving object would have blownthe ship with its "cargo" to the skies.They kept drifting for four terrible days till one of the british patrol boats noticed them.
Chukarin returned to Mariupol only after Victory Day (May 9, 1945)." when he came home even my mother did not recognize me. Only after she found the scarf on my head that I had got from a childhood fall, did she accept me as her son. "He was regaining his strenght slowly, but his spirit was still strong. He began his new life and started working as an instructor of physical education ina metal factory. Meanwhile he also started training in gymnastics and after six months he was among the participants of the first post-war competitions.
Someone advised Victor to write an application letter to the Kiev Institute of Physical Education.soon he received the answer:no more vacancies,you must wait. However, he did not want to wait. When his friends decided to go to Lvov where a new Institute of Physical Education had just opened, Victor joined them without hesitation. There, the head of the Gymnastics Departement,Peter Sobenko, noticed the talented Chukarin. That was when Victor?s "real" training began. The daily trainings were very intensive and the combinations became more and more complicated, but Victor was persistant ans soon became the champion of Ukraine. His dream was coming true. He went to Moscow to coompete in the All-Union competitions.
His first success came in 1948 when he became the USSR champion in parallel bars, and immediatly attracted the attention of the National Team coaches. Still,there was a long way to perfection.Victor's real opportunity to prove his talent came the following year in Kiev where the USSR Championships took place. All the experts noted how precise and fantastically stable his performances were at the time,how complicated and well prepared his presentation was.
He became one of the best gymnasts of the country and though he was already 31 years old, he was one of the members of the USSR National Team of the Olympic Games in Helsinki, the fist Games where the Soviet athletes participated.
There were 25 candidates for the Olympic gymnastics team,but only one was beyond doubt:Chukarin. He was not only an exellent gymnast,but also "the heart of the team". Neither the veterans nor the new members of the team could escape his charm. He could calm everybody down with one word,give his fellow athletes good advice or show them any element.He was always ready to help. Of course,when the question emerged of the captain of the National team should be,there was a unanimous decision - it should be Chukarin.
30 years later Chukarin would recall: " The gymnastics competitions commenced at 7.30 a.m. on July 19,1952, the day of the opening of the Olympic Games: The Swiss and the Finnish were the favorites - they had won more Olympic and world Championship medales than others.We as newcomers were the dark horses. Even the judges did not risk giving the Soviets more than 9. Any slip was considered a serious mistake. "But Chukarin, the Captain,stayed calm, focused and positive. His first appearance on the vaults proved that the soviets had come not just to participate but to win. Chukarin scored 9.75 and won the gold medal. As the competitions went on,he won 4 more gold and 2 silver medals and became the sensation and the hero of the Games. To agreat extent,it was his exemplary personality,his spirit and persistence that has lead the soviet team to victory in the team competitions. The press acclaimed his outstanding individual achievement and the high standards of the Soviet team as a whole.
After the Games Chukarin, understanding that the young generation was already at his heels, started to train even harder, trying to avoid even the slightest mistake. The most difficult apparatus was the horse for him. Therefore, he spent many hours, twice a day,t rying to "tame" it. He has won World and the USSR championships titels in different apparatuses. Despite his age, Chukarin once again became the Al Around Olympic Champion in Melbourne, Australia in 1956. His main rival the Japanese Takashi Ono said after the competitions were over. "It is impossible to beat Chukarin. Fierce competition only makes him more victorious."
Chukarin was very popular in the USSR, moreover, he became known all over the world as one of the most outstanding athletes of all times: he won 11 Olympic medals, 7 of them gold. Soon after the Melbourne Games he quit sport and started teaching at the Lvov Institute of Physical Education as the head of the Gymnasticss Departement. He has trained several generations of gymnasts who formed the famously unbeatable "Soviet school". His students were very proud of their coach and teacher, who would always be the first Olympic Champion, the "number one" and a role model not only as an athlete but also as a person.
Until his last days Chukarin would go to the Gymnastics Hall to train - just to perform some exercices to be fit. His recollection of his life shows how gmnastics meant everything to him:
"I thought the war would finish soon, so I put a tin box filed with magnesium powder in the very bottom of my soldier's backpack. I would carry it there until that battle with the Nazi tanks which hast left a lasting imprint on my mind. I was wounded and woke up in a concentration camp.There, I had to say good-bye not only to my tin box,but also my name for a while: I had number 10491 tattooed on my wrist and even the date of death calculated. But my captors had bad luck: I survived even when I was taken, with the remaining prisoners, to the Baltic Sea on a ship filled with explosives. I resumed sport activity 5 years after the war was over. I had gone through a most severe ordeal, but emerged from it with an enlightened soul cleansed of pity, conceit and uncertainly." (A. Rattner)
|Pommel Horse||1||19.500||1952||HELSINKI||Games of the XV Olympiad|