‘Smirre’s’ olympic gold at Holmenkollen exhibition
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM Three sports legendries - Sten Stensen, Vegard Ulvang and Vladimir Smirnov - delivered emotional remarks at the «Kazakhstan – Norway: Sports Diplomacy» exhibition in Holmenkollen Ski Museum, the press service of the Kazakh MFA informs.
«For me, all the time, Medeo, Almaty, was the best in my career,» said Norwegian long-distance ice skater, Sten Stensen, who broke several world records at the high mountain ice rink Medeo in Almaty during the 1970s.
Two friends and Olympic rivals at long-distance cross-country skiing, Vegard Ulvang (Norway) and Vladimir Smirnov (Kazakhstan), also shared their views on sports, friendship, and intercultural exchange.
«Even though we have many hard fights and competitions as athletes, our friendship got very stronger and it is still there,» said Ulvang.
«I am proud to be at this exhibition on sports because most of the youth probably don't know well about Kazakhstan. This is one of the ways to get knowledge about other country and other cultures,» said Vladimir Smirnov «Smirre».
On 16 December Kazakhstan marked the 28th Anniversary of its Independence and Vladimir Smirnov was the first to bring Kazakhstan Olympic gold medal at 1994 Lillehammer games. On Saturday, «Smirre» brought his gold medal for the exposition at Holmenkollen.
«Kazakhstan – Norway: Sports Diplomacy» exhibition is organized by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Norway, the Association of Sports Press of Kazakhstan, and the Holmenkollen Ski Museum in Oslo. The Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry and the QazSport National TV Channel supported the event. The exhibition will last for the next two weeks until 28 December.
«Sporting connections between Kazakhstan and Norway extend far beyond conventional diplomacy. These ties began long before the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries,» said the Kazakh Ambassador Yerkin Akhinzhanov.
The photo exhibition tells the story of great achievements of Kazakh and Norwegian athletes, including their joint participation in competitions at the highest level, such as the Olympic Games and world championships. The exhibition displays photographs of bilateral matches between the national teams of Kazakhstan and Norway in hockey, bandy, football, and wrestling, and appearances of both Kazakh athletes in Norway and Norwegian athletes in Kazakhstan.
Several examples of sports diplomacy phenomena are also represented - «Jersey - diplomacy» and «Chapan - diplomacy», when sports apparel is presented as gifts to politicians, and a national gown is presented to prominent sportsmen.
The exhibition also includes a collection of paraphernalia from professional Kazakh sports clubs in hockey («Barys», «Torpedo», and «Sary-Arka»), cycling («Astana»), athletics («Altai Athletics»), and football («Kairat» and «Astana»).