Sergey Khlebnikov

Sergey Anatolevich Khlebnikov (Russian: Серге́й Анатольевич Хлебников; 28 August 1955 – 12 June 1999) was a Russian speed skater who competed for the Soviet Union in the 1980 and the 1984 Winter Olympics.

Sergey Khlebnikov
Sergey Khlebnikov 1.jpg
Personal information
Full nameSergey Anatolevich Khlebnikov
Born28 August 1955
Sortavala, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died12 June 1999 (aged 43)
Moscow, Russia
Height1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight90 kg (198 lb)
SportSpeed skating
ClubSpartak Moscow
Medal record
Men's speed skating
Representing the  Soviet Union
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1984 Sarajevo 1000 m
Silver medal – second place 1984 Sarajevo 1500 m
World Sprint Championships
Silver medal – second place 1981 Grenoble Sprint
Gold medal – first place 1982 Alkmaar Sprint
Silver medal – second place 1984 Trondheim Sprint

He was born in Sortavala and died in Moscow by drowning in the Mitinskoe pond. "An oak of a man,"[1] the Western press described him as a "tank" and a typical product of communism.[2]


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Khlebnikov was one of the perennial favorites in the sprint events, battling often with fellow Soviet sprinter Yevgeny Kulikov,[3] Japanese sprinter Akira Kuroiwa,[4] Norwegian sprinter Frode Rønning and American all-rounder Eric Heiden. Throughout his career, his biggest rival, even his "archrival,"[5] was Canadian skater Gaétan Boucher.[6][7][8]

World championshipsEdit

Khlebnikov's first medal as a sprinter came in 1981, when he finished second in the world sprint championship in Grenoble, after Boucher fell in the 500 meters.[9] He won his only world sprint championship in Alkmaar in 1982. The next year, in Helsinki, a fall in the 500 meter race meant he lost the crown to Akira Kuroiwa.[4] In 1984, he finished second in the world sprint championship in Trondheim after leading on the first day,[10] but the next year, his career as the strongest Soviet sprinter was over, Igor Zhelezovski ("Igor the Terrible") having become world sprint champion in 1985.

Olympic participationEdit

In 1980 Khlebnikov finished ninth in the 1000 meters and 15th in the 500 meters competition; the speed skating competition was dominated by Eric Heiden.

Four years later, at the Olympics in Sarajevo, Khlebnikov was outmatched by Gaétan Boucher, who dominated the short events with gold in the 1000 and the 1500 meters;[11] Khlebnikov won the silver medal in the 1000 meters[12] and the 1500 meters. In Sarajevo he competed in the 500 meters event as well, but a false start cost him the chance at a medal.[13]


  1. ^ Farber, Michael (6 March 1984). "Boucher refused to accept excuses". The Montreal Gazette. pp. F3. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  2. ^ Durocher, Pierre (15 February 2010). "L'oubli de Boucher: un affront irréparable" (in French). Rue Frontenac. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Heiden out of Norwegian Skating Meet". Schenectady Gazette. 30 December 1979. p. 18. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  4. ^ a b "SPORTS NEWS BRIEFS; Champions Beaten In Skate Sprints". The New York Times. 28 February 1983. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  5. ^ "1984 Sarajevo, Bosnia: The Olympics that captivated the world". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  6. ^ Foisy, Paul (1 January 1991). "Gaétan Boucher, patinage de vitesse". Panthéon des sports du Québec. Réseau des sports. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  7. ^ Starkman, Randy (24 November 1984). "Boucher sets sights on more Olympic skating medals". The Montreal Gazette. pp. B7. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Local Skater Betters Soviets". The Montreal Gazette. 3 December 1979. p. 49. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Fall Robs Boucher of Sprint Crown". Ottawa Citizen. 23 February 1981. p. 20. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  10. ^ "Karin Enke Captures 2 Races in Title Skating". The New York Times. 4 March 1984. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  11. ^ Chase, Sean (18 February 2010). "Some remarkable Canadians at the Winter Olympic Games". The Daily Observer (Ottawa). Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  12. ^ Kupper, Mike (14 February 1984). "Thometz, fit to be tied, skates to a 4th". The Milwaukee Journal. p. 3.1. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  13. ^ Schaap, Dick (1984). The 1984 Olympic Games: Sarajevo/Los Angeles. Random House. pp. 65. ISBN 978-0-394-53678-1.

External linksEdit