Russian gymnastics coaching legend Irina Viner-Usmanova has criticized Tokyo 2020 champion Artur Dalaloyan after he disapproved of cars given to the Averina sisters after their disappointment in Japan.
Artistic gymnast Artur Dalaloyan, who scooped team gold in the Japanese capital as part of the first Russian team to achieve the feat in 25 years, said he felt it wasn’t “entirely fair” that Olympic silver medalist Dina Averina and fourth-placed Arina Averina were treated to a BMW X5 for winners and BMW X3 for medalists respectively.
“On the one hand, the girls deserved what they got [their cars],” said Dalaloyan.
“On the other hand, this is not entirely fair in relation to those athletes who, for some reason – due to bad luck, injury or controversial refereeing – did not get into the prize-winners at the Olympics, but remained unnoticed.”
Catching wind of this, Russian gymnastics official Viner-Usmanova has not bitten her tongue.
“There are too many idiots in Russia,” she was quoted as saying.
“I do not want to speak out about the speech of one of them. If the president thinks that giving Dina Averina a car is fair, then why would anyone argue with that?” Viner-Usmanova asked.
The Averina sisters finished were left disappointed in the individual all-round event which was won by Lina Ashram.
The Israeli’s victory was a matter of controversy in Russia, who claimed foul play and made a complaint about the officiating dismissed by the International Gymnastics Federation.
Ashram was trolled online by admirers of Dina Averina, who told the attacks to stop.
“I feel bad for Linoy. She didn’t do anything wrong. Stop hounding her,” Averina demanded.
“We’re not guilty of anything – it’s the judges’ business,” she stated.
Viner-Usmanova has played down the debacle in recent weeks.
On the eve of the upcoming World Championships, which Israel and therefore Ashram pulled out of last month in a supposedly unrelated development, she said that she “wasn’t interested at all” regarding Ashram’s absence.
“What kind of revenge are you talking about?” she asked, in a possible reference to what Averina has publicly revealed she wishes to exact at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“Dina Averina was the winner for me and almost the whole world,” Viner-Usmanova scoffed.
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