Svetlana Romashina, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, became today the most successful athlete in the history of artistic swimming, by winning her sixth Olympic gold medal in the Duet competition at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
At almost 32 (to be completed on September 21), Romashina is an unprecedented case of success in Aquatics: since 2005, at Olympic and world level, she amassed exclusively gold, with 23 titles in the FINA showcase (plus three as reserve) and six titles at the Games. Today’s achievement (which may be completed with the Team’s final this Saturday) completes a series that includes gold in Team in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and wins in the Duet in 2012, 2016 and now in Tokyo.
👑 6x🥇 THE BEST EVER IN OLYMPIC HISTORY! #Tokyo2020— FINA (@fina1908) August 4, 2021
Svetlana Romashina today became the most successful athlete in the history of #artisticswimming, by winning her sixth @Olympics gold medal!
Congratulations 👏😭 pic.twitter.com/wK19n9D9nO
Before the Japanese rendezvous, Romashina was tied with teammates Natalia Ishchenko and Anastasia Davydova at the top of the Olympic ranking – all with five gold medals -, but the victory in the Duet event definitively moved up Romashina to the level above. It was a natural win: pairing with another Svetlana (Kolesnishenko), the Russian pair led operations in both the Duet Technical routine (97.1079) and Free Routine preliminary (97.9000), and concluded the final in a total of 195.9079. For Kolesnichenko (28 years old next September 20), this is her second Olympic gold, after the Team victory in 2016. Additionally, she has 19 gold medals at FINA World Championships.
Finally, with this achievement, Russia remains the only nation with gold at the Olympics in the 21st Century, with an impressive series of 11 titles so far – Duet and Team - since Sydney 2000!
Swimming inspired by the “Spiders”, the Russian Olympic Committee representatives were followed by China (silver) and by Ukraine (third). For the Asian powerhouse, this is its sixth medal in Olympic history, after collecting three silver and two bronze since 2008. Huang Xuechen and Sun Wenyan performed a routine under the theme of “Snakes”, cumulating a total of 192.4499. They were also second after the two preliminary swims.
For Ukraine, this is the first artistic swimming medal at the Games. Until Tokyo 2020, the “club” of countries on the Olympic podium was composed by seven nations: Canada, China, France, Japan, Russia, Spain and USA. Ukraine is therefore the eighth nation to enter in this privileged group. At the FINA World Championships’ level, two additional National Federations had so far medalled: Italy and precisely Ukraine (nine medals since 2013, including two silver and seven bronze). The Olympic consecration today in Tokyo is a fair reward for this effort.
The Ukrainian presentation was successfully performed by Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk, who totalled 189.4620 at the end of the Duet event. They were also third after the technical and free duet preliminaries.
Other nations with podium aspirations could not reach the medals – in this group, we find Japan, fourth in 187.8166. Curiously the nation with the highest number (14) of Olympic medals since the inception of the discipline in the Games in 1984, Japan’s Yukiko Inui and Megumu Yoshida hoped to repeat at home the third place from Rio 2016. Unfortunately, and swimming to the sound of “Evolution”, they confirmed their fourth position of the preliminaries, failing this first opportunity to get a medal (before the Team’s final).
Canada, swimming with Jacqueline Simoneau and Claudia Holzner couldn’t also achieve the medal objective, concluding in fifth (184.4798). Canada’s last artistic swimming medal at the Games dates back from 2000, with a bronze in the Team event. The Italian team completed the top-6 of the Duet’s final today, collecting a combined score of 183.5702 from the judges.
The team of Spain, quite successful in 2008-2012, with four Olympic medals, is far from the podium area at this stage, concluding in 10th (175.5948). Full Results
The Olympic competition was marked by the unfortunate withdrawal of the entire Greek delegation, after some athletes and technical staff members were tested positive to COVID-19.
Svetlana Romashina (ROC):
On winning her sixth Olympic gold medal:
"I don't think about the sixth medal, I just think about our work which we have done. We are very happy. I think we are happy of our work, of our team. I don't count the medals, I just want to feel this moment."
On her partner Kolesnichenko:
"For me it was a great pleasure to work with Svetlana. Sometimes you feel that she's like a sister. Svetlana, and one more Svetlana. As you know, two Olympics before we had another duet, Anastasia and Anastasia. Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova. I think it's like the same one."
On the sport's change of name from synchronised to artistic swimming:
"The best thing which we can do is to love synchro, to love artistic swimming, and try to show people that it's beautiful."
On the difficulty of their routine:
"I think that you can see that this routine is very difficult. We had a first line without breath at all, and I think that if normal person will try to do it just sitting on the sofa, it will be very difficult. Of course it's more difficult to do it in the water."
Sun Wenyan (CHN):
On why they chose a snake theme for their routine. The ROC pair who won gold had chosen the theme of 'spider':
"We had another theme in the World Championships, but our coach said we needed a theme that is more obvious. When you have a more obvious theme, it's easier to get into the concept. Also, we were hoping the snake would beat the spider."
On both women being 31 years old, considered old for an athlete in China:
"Age-wise, there are other athletes of the same age in artistic swimming. But this is my fourth Olympics and her third Olympics, so I think we're breaking some records for the number of times we have been in the Olympics, rather than our ages."
On what artistic swimming means to her:
"It's a combination of power and beauty. Beauty is the easier side to manage, compared to the power part. To obtain power we really have to challenge ourselves, especially when we're training with 17 and 18-year-olds who can recover so quickly. We really have to push ourselves with the training."
Huang Xuechen (CHN):
On advice for the younger generation of artistic swimmers in China:
"One is to be careful of injuries in your events, so you don't suffer from injuries like we do at our age. And the second is to develop your potential. Look for that potential and develop it."
On whether they think they will be able to beat the ROC team, which has typically been a rival for China in artistic swimming:
"We need to be ourselves. It's hard to achieve in this generation because they're really strong, but we have to overcome little by little."
Marta Fiedina (UKR):
On winning a medal:
"This is the first time Ukraine has won a medal. Of course, we're so happy and we don't have words. What can we say about this?"
On their training for the event:
"We work so many years, so many hours spent in the water, and this was not a surprise. We've been working so hard and doing all that we can."