Inspired by the musical theme called “Parade of Planets”, the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee got its second gold medal in the Artistic Swimming competition of these Olympic Games in Tokyo, this time in the Team final. Among the victorious group, Svetlana Romashina improved her already impressive roll of honour
After becoming, following the Duet competition, the first swimmer with six gold medals ever, she upgraded that status, with seven Olympic titles since the Games of Beijing 2008: Team on four successive occasions, and Duet in 2012, 2016 and 2020.
Already first after the Technical Routine, the Russians displayed an impressive routine, mixing complicated elements, energy and flawless movements. In the end, the judges gave an accumulated total (the score of the free routine final is added to the one obtained in the technical programme) of 196.0979 to a nation that has now collected an unprecedented 12 titles in this discipline, winning both the Duet and Team finals without interruption since the Sydney 2000 Games. At almost 32, Romashina has also an outstanding series of victories at the FINA World Championships’ level: 26 gold medals (23 effectively swimming the routine, plus three as a reserve).
Also a dominant force in Artistic Swimming since the organisation of the Olympics at home, in Beijing 2008, Team China got the silver in 193.5310. Performing under the theme “Ode to the Heroines”, the Asian powerhouse collected her seventh medal (five silver and two bronze) at Olympic level. The Chinese swimmers were also the runner-up of the Duet competition.
The podium was completed by Ukraine, third in 190.3018 Before Tokyo, the European team had no medals at this level (despite several podium presences at the World Championships, since 2013), but they now leave the Japanese capital with two bronze around the neck, after the third position also in the Duet final. The theme of the Ukrainians (who excelled in spectacular lifts and throws) included various bits of music, such as “Force of Nature”, “Mission of Bravery”, “First Triumph” or “Legend of the Shadows”, all contributing to a successful “Team of the Brave” (the name of their programme).
With a competition limited to nine teams (the Hellenic squad had to withdraw after some positive COVID-19 among members of the group), host Japan was naturally hoping to get a medal in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Despite a joyful routine – “The Festive Spirit in Japan for Tomorrow” – the Asian could not do better than fourth, amassing 188.3106 from the judges.
The top-6 was completed by Italy (fifth in 184.1372) and by Canada (sixth in 184.0325).
Svetlana Romashina (ROC):
On what her seventh Olympic gold medal means:
"I can't say that they're different, but I can say that the sixth and the seventh medal were the most difficult in my life. I became a mother and it was very difficult to be a mother and athlete at one moment."
On her future:
"I'm very, very happy about this medal. I understand that it will be my last Olympic Games as an athlete. Maybe later you will see me like a coach…
"At the end of the programme, at the end of the routine, I just wanted to say, 'that's all'. And it's the end. I understand that maybe it's my last competition. I don't know yet, but maybe. I just want to have a rest now. It was a crazy two years, and I just want to be with my family now.
"As a woman I just want to have my second baby. Maybe later I will return."
Vlada Chigireva (ROC):
On their emotions:
"That was a really hard year, two years, and too much crying, too much working. We are really happy that we are here, and that the Olympic Games is ending for us. Every day we are smiling when we understand that we are here in the aquatics centre, in the Olympic Village, and we want to say to all Japanese people that we love you.
"You are so kind. Arigato. Every time when we're going to the bus, to the swimming pool, we see you smile, we heard you screaming and we understand how all of you are so kind for all of us and everybody."
On teammate Romashina:
"Svetlana, she's a legend. A legend of sport, a legend of synchronised swimming, artistic swimming, and I think no one will beat her.
"Seven Olympic medals, it's too much, we have just two. And that was a really hard way for us, and how it was for her, we don't know.
"She's a legend, and we're really happy that we are standing in one team with her."
On the sport's change of name from synchronised to artistic swimming:
"We are the first Olympic medallists in artistic swimming, and we are the last Olympic medallists in synchronised swimming, that's really interesting. Not too much changed with this changing of name, but we're happy that in artistic swimming we have 10 for artistic emotion from judges.
"It's really cool that our sport, not only sport 'citius, altius, fortius', this is like cool art, like theatre, like ballet.
"Right now I think every team tried to do more in this way. We saw in other teams every time we watch them and understand that, 'oh, Spain is so expressive, that's really cool. Oh, Ukraine, so high lifts. China, so technical'.
"They are really cool and we're happy that all of these teams - all, not only these three, everyone, and Greece, who is not here with us - we love to see how they are changing to the best."
Maria Shurochkina (ROC):
On what has given ROC 12 Olympic gold medals in a row in artistic swimming:
"Hard work every day. Tears, blood, sweat. Every day we do the same things, but it's not ... I'm so happy, I don't have words."
On teammate Romashina (ROC):
"Do you know Frida Kahlo? She's a painter. So, lately she was my inspiration for all my life, but now this lady is the strongest woman I have ever seen. She's a legend. She's a perfect woman."
"When I jump into the water I lose myself, I lose my mind. I just focused on the lifts, because I do lifts, and tried to focus on this. I think everything was fine. Our coach said that we did the best."
Huang Xuechen (CHN):
On her performances:
"We believe that we performed well throughout the whole competition. When I competed in the duet I received a lot of help from my other teammates who are in the group with us. The coaches, the leaders and people in the team helped us to achieve the medal."
On what China could do to beat ROC:
"It is about looking at the tapes of the ROC team, analysing what moves they've done well, and compare that to what we do well and see what our advantage is. Obviously they're a very strong team, and we hope to use them as the benchmark for future success."
On her future:
"I believe I won't participate in the 2024 Olympics. I'm a mother, I have some family responsibilities that I believe I have to attend to."
Maryna Aleksiiva (UKR):
On taking bronze:
"It's our main goal for like five years and we're so excited. If we can see a score, it's our highest score ever we've had."
On the theme of their performance:
"A story about brave people, especially us women. It's how people can be responsible for their goals, what they want to achieve."
On Ukraine's improvement in artistic swimming since the Olympic Games Rio 2016:
"More than half the group changed. We are young girls, and I think with our coach, we created something new. Now our team works way, way hard. This medal is a dream come true.“