About 20 years ago, talking about the mechanisms of the popularity of certain athletes, the famous figure skating coach Valentin Nikolaev noticed that show business, such as sport lately, has certain laws.

“If a person sits on a bench and rests, none of the passers-by pays attention to him.

But if a vacationer stands on this bench and hangs himself, everyone will immediately come running to look at him, ”the specialist explained.

The relay race between the strongest Russian skier Alexander Bolshunov and the little-known Finn Yoni Mäki became just such a story, not too pleasant for skiing, at the World Cup in Lahti.

If the situation left at least one chance to treat it with humor, I would say that the International Ski Federation (FIS) should put down the Russian side for the powerful wave of attention that has now fallen on this far from being the most popular sport.

But there seems to be no chance of turning everything into a joke.

And even if the case against the Russian skier is not initiated, he will have to spend the next weeks on his nerves awaiting a decision on this matter by the Finnish authorities.

The point is not even whether the public apologies of the racer and the head of the Russian Ski Federation Elena Vyalbe will be taken into account, as well as the belatedly announced version of the broken mount by Bolshunov, as a result of which the Russian athlete drove into the Finnish after the finish.

If we consider the situation from a purely sports side, something else is paramount in it: less than a month before the start of the World Championship, one of the strongest riders in the world turned out to be focused not on training and getting himself to the main start, which happens for skiers every two years, but on that how to avoid punishment and even greater shame than the one that fell on Alexander's head now, when the whole world continues to discuss his nervous breakdown at the finish of the relay. 

Three-time Olympic champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, Alexander Karelin, once admitted that the generation of his predecessors was for him the personification of a total readiness for everything.

Lack of comfort in hotels, biased refereeing, nagging at customs, an earthquake during the competition, a bus that did not arrive or wrestlers forgotten in a hotel.

In his understanding, it is this willingness that distinguishes outstanding athletes from all others.

Bolshunov on Sunday showed the whole world that he was not ready for a number of things.

For example, to the fact that the Finnish boy-no-name will not yield to him the finish corridor. 

If on Sunday someone more experienced and titled, that is, an equal opponent to Bolshunov, was in Maka's place, I admit that the situation could well have turned out differently.

Perhaps Alexander himself would have thought a hundred times: is it worth it to meddle in overtaking along a trajectory that deliberately limits the maneuver?

After all, it would be much more logical not to meddle in the gap along the track fence, but to try to bypass the opponent from the other side.

“Your reasoning is absolutely correct.

It is clear that Bolshunov was overwhelmed with a desire to show everyone in the stadium how strong he is.

And then suddenly an unknown athlete appears nearby and beats you in front of the whole world.

Hence, I suppose, and uncontrollable emotions that could not be curbed.

Perhaps Sasha, when he went to overtake, was sincerely sure that the Finn himself would get out of the way.

And he clung to his chance with a stranglehold, "- said the honored coach of the USSR and Russia in cross-country skiing Alexander Grushin, when I shared my thoughts with him.

When asked how much tactics on the verge of a foul are generally permissible in skiing, the mentor replied that in the old days, when there were no extras, that is, team races and mass starts, the psychology of people was somewhat different.

“Now the sport has turned into a show that initially involves a struggle for survival.

Roughly speaking, the medal is the very piece of bread thrown into the starving crowd.

And people are ready to tear each other apart in order to grab this piece.

It cannot be said that the Finn acted dishonestly.

He followed the rules, nowhere and did not break them in any way.

Yes, he played on the verge of what was permitted, did not let Bolshunov pass, but he fought for his own place in the sun.

Another thing is more interesting here.

The people were probably pleased that such a plot was unfolding before their eyes.

So are the journalists.

It could have been better for them that Bolshunov and the Finn would gnaw each other's throats on the air, ”added Grushin.

It is pointless to discuss the ethical side of what happened here.

Tactics on the verge of a foul, which most Russian fans now continue to blame Myaki, have always been in sports.

In other words, this is another point that a high-class athlete must keep in mind and be ready for it.

By the way, I would not be surprised at all if, in the next races, Bolshunov's rivals begin to openly provoke the Russian leader, since he made him feel his emotional vulnerability.

The patient is always beaten with a vengeance - this is not only the law of sport, but also of human nature in general, when it comes to a duel.

Actually, the attack on Bolshunov has already been deployed - the same Norwegians are openly mocking him. And this sarcasm is multiplied by the Internet, overgrown with a variety of comments and can turn out to be a much more powerful tool of psychological influence than the threat of a potential litigation or fine. In general, this hits not only an individual athlete, but also the entire team: Bolshunov is almost the only person in the Russian national team who is able to fight at the world championship for victories in individual races. It is simply impossible to put someone else on a par with him.