Alexander Bolshunov

Alexander Alexandrovich Bolshunov (Russian: Александр Александрович Большунов, also tr. Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Bolshunov; born 31 December 1996) is a Russian cross-country skier and two-time winner of the 14th and 15th Tour de Ski.[1]

Alexander Bolshunov
20190301 FIS NWSC Seefeld Medal Ceremony 850 6060 Alexander Bolshunov.jpg
Bolshunov in 2019
Country Russia
Full nameAlexander Alexandrovich Bolshunov
Born (1996-12-31) 31 December 1996 (age 25)
Podyvotye, Sevsky District, Bryansk Oblast, Russia
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Ski clubSC Vodnik
World Cup career
Seasons6 – (2017–present)
Individual wins28
Team wins1
Indiv. podiums59
Team podiums4
Indiv. starts110
Team starts6
Overall titles2 – (2020, 2021)
Discipline titles3 – (DI in 2019, 2020, 2021)
Medal record
Men's cross-country skiing
International nordic ski competitions
Event 1st 2nd 3rd
Olympic Games 3 4 2
World Championships 1 6 1
Total 4 10 3
Representing  ROC
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2022 Beijing 30 km skiathlon
Gold medal – first place 2022 Beijing 50 km freestyle
Gold medal – first place 2022 Beijing 4 × 10 km relay
Silver medal – second place 2022 Beijing 15 km classical
Bronze medal – third place 2022 Beijing Team sprint
Representing
 Olympic Athletes from Russia
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 2018 Pyeongchang 4 × 10 km relay
Silver medal – second place 2018 Pyeongchang Team sprint
Silver medal – second place 2018 Pyeongchang 50 km classical
Bronze medal – third place 2018 Pyeongchang Individual sprint
Representing  Russian Ski Federation
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2021 Oberstdorf 30 km skiathlon
Silver medal – second place 2021 Oberstdorf 50 km classical
Silver medal – second place 2021 Oberstdorf 4 × 10 km relay
Bronze medal – third place 2021 Oberstdorf Team sprint
Representing  Russia
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2019 Seefeld 30 km skiathlon
Silver medal – second place 2019 Seefeld 50 km freestyle
Silver medal – second place 2019 Seefeld Team sprint
Silver medal – second place 2019 Seefeld 4 × 10 km relay
U23 World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2017 Park City 15 km freestyle
Gold medal – first place 2017 Park City 30 km skiathlon
Silver medal – second place 2017 Park City Individual sprint
Junior World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2016 Râșnov 4 × 5 km relay
Updated on 8 April 2022.

He is the first male post-Soviet Russian World Cup champion, winning the overall World Cup in 2020 and 2021.

CareerEdit

2013–17: Twofold U23 World ChampionEdit

Bolshunov was born in Podyvotye in the Bryansk Oblast, located just several kilometres from the Russian-Ukraine border. It was there were he started his sports career with his coach and father Alexander Ivanovich Bolshunov.[2] In 2011, his father brought him to the Bryansk sports school for ski-cross skiing, where he was coached by Merited Coach of Russia N. I. Nekhitrov.[3] The first victories on nationals came a year ago, when on 6 February 2013 Bolshunov took the first place in 10 km classic in a tournament taking place in the Tver Oblast.[4]

On 17 March 2014, Bolshunov won the 20 km skiathlon event at the Russian Junior Nationals,[5] resulting Bolshunov being bestowed the honorary Master of Sports of Russia.[6] After the nationals he was invited to the junior team. A year later he participated in the sprint event of the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, but failed to qualify for the sprint final, leaving him without medals.[7] In the following Youth Championships in Rasnov, Romania, his best result was 2nd, in the relay event.[8]

In 2017, Bolshunov took part in the FIS U23 World Ski Championships in the venue Soldier Hollow, Utah, United States, where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held. He won silver in sprint,[9] and a few days later he won the 15 km individual freestyle event.[10] The skiathlon event was marked by a memorable performance by Bolshunov, Alexey Chervotkin and Denis Spitsov, who entered the finish line hand in hand.[citation needed] Bolshunov was declared the winner.[11] As a result, Bolshunov was conferred the highest honorary sports title of Russia, "International Master of Sports".[12]

2017–18: FIS World Cup debutEdit

Bolshunov's first major senior tournament in which he competed were the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2017 in Lahti, Finland, finishing 26th in sprint and 15th in skiatlon. In the 2016–17 season he entered his first FIS World Cup stage in Drammen, Norway, in March 2017, finishing 9th. He won his first podium in the next season in the third Stage World Cup in Ruka, Finland, on 26 November, in 15 km freestyle pursuit.[13] In the overall standings of the three Ruka stages, the "Ruka Triple", he was placed third.[14] He showed strong results by the year's end, finishing four times in the third places.

After the 2017–18 Tour de Ski – in the 15 km pursuit stage he reached the third-place – Bolshunov missed a handful of WC stages to prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. At the Olympics, he rebounded by winning three silver medals and one bronze medal. He won his first Olympic medal in sprint classical, losing only to Johannes Høsflot Klæbo and Federico Pellegrino. Bolshunov then won medals in team sprint freestyle, 4 × 10 km relay and 50 km classical.

2018–19: Distance Cup winnerEdit

In March, Bolshunov reached the second place in a WC stage for the first time in his career, in the 15 km classical event in Lahti. He also finished third in a WC stage in Drammen, now in sprint classical. By the season's end, Bolshunov won the World Cup Final after winning the 15 km classical mass start and 15 km freestyle pursuit stages.[15] In the overall World Cup standings he was placed 5th.[16]

In the 2018–19 FIS Cross-Country World Cup season, Bolshunov won the first two WC stages in Ruka, in sprint classical and 15 km classical, receiving the yellow bib as a result. Bolshunov led in the overall standings after fifteen stages until being replaced by Johannes Høsflot Klæbo during the Tour de Ski.

Before the World Championships, Bolshunov clinched another stage win in Italian Cogne in 15 km classical. Bolshunov debuted at the World and won four silver medals in 30 km skiathlon, 50 km freestyle mass start, as well as in team sprint and 4 × 10 km relay. On 9 March he won another stage in 50 km classical mass start in Holmenkollen, returning the yellow bib after Klæbo's poor performance there. As a result, Bolshunov at age 22 became not only the youngest winner of the marathon stage, but also the youngest winner of the Distance Cup, claiming the Small Crystal Globe.[17]

2019–20: Tour de Ski champion, World Cup overall winnerEdit

Bolshunov started the 2019–20 FIS Cross-Country World Cup by participating in the mini-event 2019 Nordic Opening, where he was positioned fifth in the overall ranking. He won the next stage in Lillehammer, for the first time in the 30 km skiathlon classic and freestyle event. Bolshunov entered the 2019–20 Tour de Ski by reaching the third place in 15 km mass start freestyle. He went on reaching five out of six podium places in the next stages, only failing in the first sprint stage in Lenzerheide, stopping in the semi-finals. Although he won only one stage, and five times finished third, he took the first position in the overall ranking, becoming the third Russian to do so. After this victory he received the right to wear the yellow bib previously worn by Klæbo.[18] He went on winning three back-to-back long distance stages, doing so in Nové Město and Oberstdorf.

Prior to the FIS Ski Tour 2020, Bolshunov finished third in the sprint and first in 15 km mass start stage, both in Falun. In the inaugural Ski Tour, Bolshunov led in the overall standings after the 5th stage, but in the 6th stage following an ill-conceived preparation of the skies by the team staff, who hoped the snowfall would stop soon and so decided not to use the no wax anti-ice method, Bolshunov finished 7th.[19][20] In the same month, in February, Bolshunov took the second position in 15 km classic in Lahti. He finished the season by winning the 50 km classic mass start event in Oslo and went on winning the overall World Cup ahead of schedule after the remaining stages did not take place due to the coronavirus outbreak. He became the first post-Soviet Russian male ski-cross skier to win the World Cup and the first Russian since Soviet Vladimir Smirnov, who won the 1991 edition.[21] Beside that, Bolshunov won his second consecutive Distance Cup title. Due to the pandemic, the ceremony was postponed indefinitely and the Crystal Globe was presented to the Russian only three months later.[22]

2020–21: Back-to-back Tour de Ski, World Cup overall champion, World ChampionEdit

Bolshunov started the new season finishing overall second in the Ruka Triple after only Klæbo. Before the 2021 Tour de Ski, he claimed a distance title in Swiss Davos and his first team title in team sprint with Retivykh, in a sprint tournament traditionally taking place in Dresden, Germany, this time without Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish skiers, after their federations decided to quit sending skiers due to concerns over COVID-19.[23] As a result of the withdrawal, Bolshunov was awarded the yellow bib. The Tour de Ski saw a return of Swedish and Finnish, but not of Norwegian skiers.

After the first, sprint stage, where Bolshunov finished second, the Russian won five consecutive stages, repeating the World Cup tour record of Ustiugov and Dæhlie,[24] but failed to update the record as he came third in the following sprint stage in Val di Fiemme. In the 10 km Final Climb Mass Start stage he finished 2nd. But this secured him winning the Tour de Ski for a second time, finishing by a record margin of three minutes twenty-three seconds ahead of other skiers.[25] During the final stage of the ski race in Lahti Bolshunov attempted twice to slash Finnish skier Joni Mäki, and towards the finish rammed Mäki and knocked him down, resulting Bolshunov being disqualified.[26] Bolshunov officially apologized for his behaviour after the competition.[27]

Bolshunov participated at the 2021 World Championships, where he won four medals. In the 30 km skiathlon he got his first gold medal at this event. At the 50 km classical event, Bolshunov initially finished third, but following Klaebo's disqualification, which happened after the Norwegian broke one of Bolshunov's pole, the Russian earned the silver medal at the end. Bolshunov won further medals in team sprint and 4 × 10 kilometre relay. However, he finished fourth in sprint and 15 km freestyle.

Cross-country skiing resultsEdit

All results are sourced from the International Ski Federation (FIS).[28]

Olympic GamesEdit

  • 9 medals – (3 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze)
 Year   Age   15 km 
 individual 
 30 km 
 skiathlon 
 50 km 
 mass start 
 Sprint   4 × 10 km 
 relay 
 Team 
 sprint 
2018 21 Silver Bronze Silver Silver
2022 25 Silver Gold Gold[a] DNS Gold Bronze

a Distance reduced to 30 km due to weather conditions.

World ChampionshipsEdit

  • 8 medals – (1 gold, 6 silver, 1 bronze)
 Year   Age   15 km 
 individual 
 30 km 
 skiathlon 
 50 km 
 mass start 
 Sprint   4 × 10 km 
 relay 
 Team 
 sprint 
2017 20 15 26
2019 22 8 Silver Silver 11 Silver Silver
2021 24 4 Gold Silver 4 Silver Bronze

World CupEdit

Season titlesEdit

  • 5 titles – (2 Overall, 3 Distance)
Season
Discipline
2019 Distance
2020 Overall
Distance
2021 Overall
Distance

Season standingsEdit

 Season   Age  Discipline standings Ski Tour standings
Overall Distance Sprint U23 Nordic
Opening
Tour de
Ski
Ski Tour
2020
World Cup
Final
2017 20 100 49 8
2018 21 5 9 6     6  
2019 22     5   5 5  
2020 23     6 5   7
2021 24          
2022[note 1] 25     15  

Individual podiumsEdit

  • 28 victories – (20 WC, 8 SWC)
  • 59 podiums – (34 WC, 25 SWC)
No. Season Date Location Race Level Place
1  2017–18  24–26 November 2017   Nordic Opening Overall Standings World Cup 3rd
2 2 December 2017   Lillehammer, Norway 1.5 km Sprint C World Cup 3rd
3 9 December 2017   Davos, Switzerland 1.5 km Sprint F World Cup 3rd
4 10 December 2017 15 km Individual F World Cup 3rd
5 1 January 2018   Lenzerheide, Switzerland 15 km Pursuit F Stage World Cup 3rd
6 4 March 2018   Lahti, Finland 15 km Individual C World Cup 1st
7 7 March 2018   Drammen, Norway 1.2 km Sprint C World Cup 3rd
8 17 March 2018   Falun, Sweden 15 km Mass Start C Stage World Cup 1st
9 16–18 March 2018   World Cup Final Overall Standings World Cup 1st
10  2018–19  24 November 2018   Rukatunturi, Finland 1.5 km Sprint C World Cup 1st
11 25 November 2018 15 km Individual C World Cup 1st
12 30 December 2018   Toblach, Italy 15 km Individual F Stage World Cup 3rd
13 3 January 2019   Oberstdorf, Germany 15 km Pursuit F Stage World Cup 3rd
14 5 January 2019   Val di Fiemme, Italy 15 km Mass Start C Stage World Cup 3rd
15 19 January 2019   Otepää, Estonia 1.6 km Sprint C World Cup 2nd
16 20 January 2019 15 km Individual C World Cup 2nd
17 17 February 2019   Cogne, Italy 15 km Individual C World Cup 1st
18 9 March 2019   Oslo, Norway 50 km Mass Start C World Cup 1st
19 17 March 2019   Falun, Sweden 15 km Individual F World Cup 1st
20 24 March 2019   Quebec City, Canada 15 km Pursuit F Stage World Cup 2nd
21 22–24 March 2019   World Cup Final Overall Standings World Cup 3rd
22  2019–20  7 December 2019   Lillehammer, Norway 15 km + 15 km Skiathlon C/F World Cup 1st
23 28 December 2019   Lenzerheide, Switzerland 15 km Mass Start F Stage World Cup 3rd
24 31 December 2019   Toblach, Italy 15 km Individual F Stage World Cup 3rd
25 1 January 2020 15 km Pursuit C Stage World Cup 1st
26 3 January 2020   Val di Fiemme, Italy 15 km Mass Start C Stage World Cup 3rd
27 4 January 2020 1.5 km Sprint C Stage World Cup 3rd
28 5 January 2020 10 km Mass Start F Stage World Cup 3rd
29 28 December 2019
– 5 January 2020
     Tour de Ski Overall Standings World Cup 1st
30 18 January 2020   Nové Město, Czech Republic 15 km Individual F World Cup 1st
31 19 January 2020 15 km Pursuit C World Cup 1st
32 25 January 2020   Oberstdorf, Germany 15 km + 15 km Skiathlon C/F World Cup 1st
33 8 February 2020   Falun, Sweden 1.4 km Sprint C World Cup 3rd
34 9 February 2020 15 km Mass Start F World Cup 1st
35 16 February 2020   Östersund, Sweden 15 km Pursuit C Stage World Cup 2nd
36 20 February 2020   Meråker, Norway 34 km Mass Start F Stage World Cup 1st
37 29 February 2020   Lahti, Finland 15 km Individual C World Cup 2nd
38 8 March 2020   Oslo, Norway 50 km Mass Start C World Cup 1st
39  2020–21  28 November 2020   Rukatunturi, Finland 15 km Individual C Stage World Cup 3rd
40 27–29 November 2020   Nordic Opening Overall Standings World Cup 2nd
41 12 December 2020   Davos, Switzerland 1.5 km Sprint F World Cup 2nd
42 13 December 2020 15 km Individual F World Cup 1st
43 1 January 2021   Val Müstair, Switzerland 1.4 km Sprint F Stage World Cup 2nd
44 2 January 2021 15 km Mass Start C Stage World Cup 1st
45 3 January 2021 15 km Pursuit F Stage World Cup 1st
46 5 January 2021   Toblach, Italy 15 km Individual F Stage World Cup 1st
47 6 January 2021 15 km Pursuit C Stage World Cup 1st
48 8 January 2021   Val di Fiemme, Italy 15 km Mass Start C Stage World Cup 1st
49 9 January 2021 1.5 km Sprint C Stage World Cup 3rd
50 10 January 2020 10 km Mass Start F Stage World Cup 2nd
51 1–10 January 2021      Tour de Ski Overall Standings World Cup 1st
52 29 January 2021   Falun, Sweden 15 km Individual F World Cup 1st
53 30 January 2021 15 km Mass Start C World Cup 1st
54 13 March 2021   Engadin, Switzerland 15 km Mass Start C World Cup 1st
55  2021–22  27 November 2021   Rukatunturi, Finland 15 km Individual C World Cup 3rd
56 28 November 2021 15 km Pursuit F World Cup 1st
57 29 December 2021   Lenzerheide, Switzerland 15 km Individual C Stage World Cup 2nd
58 31 December 2021   Oberstdorf, Germany 15 km Mass Start F Stage World Cup 2nd
59 28 December 2021
– 4 January 2022
    Tour de Ski Overall Standings World Cup 2nd

Team podiumsEdit

  • 1 victory – (1 TS)
  • 4 podiums – (3 RL, 2 TS)
No. Season Date Location Race Level Place Teammates
1  2018–19  9 December 2018   Beitostølen, Norway 4 × 7.5 km Relay C/F World Cup 2nd Belov / Spitsov / Melnichenko
2 27 January 2019   Ulricehamn, Sweden 4 × 7.5 km Relay C/F World Cup 2nd Larkov / Melnichenko / Ustiugov
3  2020–21  20 December 2020   Dresden, Germany 12 × 0.65 km Team Sprint F World Cup 1st Retivykh
4  2021–22  19 December 2021   Dresden, Germany 12 × 0.65 km Team Sprint F World Cup 3rd Retivykh

Personal lifeEdit

Since 2017, Bolshunov is studying at the Penza State University's Faculty of Institute of Physical Education.[30][31]

Bolshunov is married to fellow Russian cross-country skier Anna Zherebyateva, since 23 April 2021.[32]

On 10 February 2022, Bolshunov, who was previously senior lieutenant, received the rank of captain by the National Guard of Russia.[33]

On 18 March 2022 Bolshunov participated in the Moscow rally in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[34]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ On 1 March 2022, following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, FIS decided to not allow athletes from Russian and Belarus to take part in FIS competitions, with an immediate effect.[29]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Bolshunov, Alexander at the International Ski Federation
  2. ^ "Биография российского лыжника Александра Большунова" [Biography of Russian skier Alexander Bolshunov] (in Russian). TASS. 24 February 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Тренер: на лыжи бронзового призера Олимпийских игр Большунова поставил его отец" [Coach: Olympic Bronze Medalist Bolshunov Was Put on Skis by His Father] (in Russian). TASS. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Результаты – д. Гришкино (Тверская область) – ЭСПУ – 10 км КЛ" [Results – village Grishkino (Tver Oblast) – 10 km C] (in Russian). Cross Country Ski Federation of Russia. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Первенство России по лыжным гонкам среди юниоров и юниорок 1994/1995 г.р. – Официальный итоговый протокол – Скиатлон, юниоры, 10 км КЛ + 10 км СВ" [Russian Junior Championships for Sportspeople Born in 1994–95] (PDF) (in Russian). Cross Country Ski Federation of Russia. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Приказ "О присвоении спортивного звания "Мастер спорта России"" [Order "On Awarding the Sports Honorary Title "Master of Sports of Russia"] (in Russian). Ministry of Sport of Russia. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  7. ^ "2015 FIS Junior World Ski Championships – Men's SP C Final Official results". FIS. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  8. ^ "2016 FIS Junior World Ski Championships – Men's Rel 4x5 km F Official results". FIS. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  9. ^ "2017 FIS U23 World Ski Championships – Men's SP C Final Official results". FIS. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  10. ^ "2017 FIS U23 World Ski Championships – Men's 15 km F Official results". FIS. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  11. ^ "2017 FIS U23 World Ski Championships – Men's Skiathlon 15km/15km C/F Official results". FIS. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Приказ "О присвоении спортивного звания "Мастер спорта России международного класса"" [Order "On Awarding the Honorary Sports Title "International Master of Sports"] (in Russian). Ministry of Sport of Russia. 3 October 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Stage World Cup Ruka (FIN)". fis-ski.com.
  14. ^ "Ruka Triple – Stage 3 of 3" (PDF).
  15. ^ "WORLD CUP FINAL MEN" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Cup standings". fis-ski.com.
  17. ^ "Большунов – самый молодой победитель дистанционного зачёта Кубка мира в истории". championat.com.
  18. ^ "Alexander Bolshunov wins the Tour de Ski". fis-ski.com.
  19. ^ Сакун, Никита. ""Ски Тур": Норвегия выбрала лыжи для сильного снегопада, Россия – для более хорошей погоды". championat.com.
  20. ^ "Golberg stunned about Ski Tour 2020 victory". fis-ski.com.
  21. ^ "Alexander Bolshunov becomes first Russian skier to win World Cup". russkiymir.ru.
  22. ^ "FIS sends 'Big Crystal Globe' to Bolshunov | tellerreport.com". tellerreport.com.
  23. ^ "Sweden and Finland Follow Norway and Withdraw from December World Cups (Updated) – FasterSkier.com". fasterskier.com.
  24. ^ "Bolshunov claimed a fifth consecutive Tour de Ski win that equaled a record in Italy | Instant News". 9 January 2021.
  25. ^ "sasha-is-a-world-leader-by-a-wide-margin"--bolshunov-is-tipped-for-the-"crystal-globe"-after-the-second-triumph-at-the-"tour-de-ski"%0A--.BygOZgDYCw.html "Sasha is a world leader by a wide margin": Bolshunov is tipped for the "Crystal Globe" after the second triumph at the "Tour de Ski"
  26. ^ "Финишем Александра Большунова заинтересовалась полиция" – via Kommersant.
  27. ^ Alexander Bolshunov apologizes for unsportmanslike behavior
  28. ^ "Alexander Bolshunov". FIS-Ski. International Ski Federation. Archived from the original on 18 February 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  29. ^ "Russian and Belarusian Athletes not to take part in FIS Competitions". FIS. 1 March 2022.
  30. ^ Биография Александра Большунова на сайте Пензенского государственного университета
  31. ^ Лыжники готовятся к Кубку мира-2020/21
  32. ^ Свадьба самой красивой пары лыжников: Большунов и Жеребятьева зажгли в Барвихе
  33. ^ [1] Глава Росгвардии присвоил Большунову и Спицову новые воинские звания за медали ОИ-2022]
  34. ^ "Большунов, Рылов, сестры Аверины, Тарасова и Морозов, Синицина и Кацалапов участвуют в митинге "Za мир без нацизма! Zа Россию! Zа Президентa!" в Лужниках". sports.ru (in Russian). 18 March 2022.

External linksEdit