“For several years Loginov has been poisoned”
The name of biathlete Sebastian Samuelsson regularly appears in news headlines. However, he achieved such attention not because of his high results in racing, but because of ambiguous statements, most often addressed to Russian Alexander Loginov.
In the 2019/20 season, Samuelsson only once rose to the podium - the Sweden team won the single in the home stage of the World Cup in Ostersund, and in personal starts he often remained outside the top twenty. At the current World Cup, his best result so far has been tenth in the individual race.
Loginov, on the other hand, twice became the winner of the World Cup stages, and can already rightfully be considered one of the triumphs of the tournament in Anterselva, since he has gold and bronze medals in sprint and pursuit. However, according to the Swede, it is precisely the Russian who has no place in the championship of the planet.
Commenting on the next attacks on his compatriot, the president of the Biathlon Federation of St. Petersburg, Dmitry Vasiliev, suggested that in this way the Swede is trying to unbalance his opponent. However, he is even more outraged by the inaction of the International Biathlon Union (IBU).
“The opponents feel unpunished, therefore they scratch their tongues. And IBU does just that, it closes its eyes. This is inaction and lack of professionalism on their part. See how many violations have occurred over the past ten years. At the same time, there is a constant harassment of Russian athletes, which can lead to unpleasant consequences. For several years Loginov has been harassed the whole world, although he is clean before the law. And nobody cares. But if they are such fighters for pure sports, why are they silent about Teresa Johaug? And what about Peter Northug? There is a selective approach, targeted bullying, ”said Vasiliev in an interview with RT.
There is another point of view. Vice-President of the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) Viktor Maigurov expressed the opinion that with the help of aggressive statements, Samuelsson is trying to set himself up to fight on the track, and not hurt Loginov at all.
"Everything is possible. But I think that it only bothers him that he directs his energy to such things. It would hurt me. He probably doesn't think so. Maybe the Swede starts up like that. But on the other hand, he has already taken a certain position, and intends to follow it to the end, ”suggested Maigurov.
Regarding the inaction on the part of the IBU, the functionary emphasized that a special ethics commission should deal with these issues.
“Theoretically, she can stop such things. But only if an athlete or a federation turns to her. It is not clear what the result will be after this, but it will be. Therefore, I would have already filed an application there, ”added Maigurov.
It is currently unknown whether Loginov plans to contact the IBU regarding criticism.
“Athletes speak out on their own, the federations do not. You can apply for a specific biathlete, but we have already done this both officially and officially, ”explained RBU President Vladimir Drachev.
“I don’t think he spoke with all my heart”
The first controversial statements addressed to Loginov during the current World Cup appeared after his victory in the sprint. Then the brothers Tarja and Johannes Boe joined Samuelsson, however, it was the Swede who was noted by the most harsh judgments. He said that he did not intend to congratulate his opponent on the success and that the Russian team should not be present at the World Cup at all in connection with the deprivation of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) compliance status.
Loginov did not respond to insults, only inviting everyone to come to his house and personally make sure that he was not taking doping. However, if subsequently Beau Jr. admitted that he got excited and even jokingly agreed to drink a cup of tea together, then the Swede continued to behave provocatively.
He suggested that Loginov’s invitation was made insincerely, and once again expressed bewilderment about his behavior.
“I have no plans to visit Russia, and I don’t think that Alexander wants this. I was surprised at his statement. After the race, he does not say anything to reporters, and now invites everyone to his home. It looks a little crazy. I don’t think he spoke from the bottom of his heart. I welcome the dialogue with him, but it seems that he does not like it, ”Samuelsson quotes“ Championship ”with reference to the Aftonbladet portal.
Samuelsson was criticized for such statements by Russian biathlon enthusiasts. After the statement on the participation of the wards of Anatoly Khovantsev at the World Cup, he even had to restrict access to the comments on his Instagram page - “until everything calms down”. His partner in the Swedish national team, Jesper Nelin, said that the messages were far from always harmless.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time he has encountered such a flood of hatred. Sebastian received death threats by e-mail, I myself saw them in large numbers. It’s sad that the whole country attacks one person and attacks him, ”Nelin complained.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time that Samuelsson has expressed himself sharply in relation to Russian athletes and the country as a whole. Even in the 2017/18 season, he openly refused to go to the World Cup in Tyumen. The biathlete argued his decision that international competitions should not be held in countries that are not able to enforce anti-doping rules, as well as concern for their own safety.
Subsequently, he repeatedly criticized Russia, emphasizing that he was fighting exclusively for pure sport. At last year’s World Cup, he first questioned Loginov’s honesty and urged him to apologize for past mistakes. According to him, until the biathlete does this, no one will trust him, which means that he has no place in an international tournament.
At the same time, he stood up for the Norwegian skier Teresa Johaug, who was convicted of using illegal drugs in 2016. Multiple world champion claimed that the substance got into her body through lip ointment. According to Samuelsson, this case, unlike the history of Loginov, should not be regarded as a violation of anti-doping rules.