Namesake Russia coaches groom synchro stars for more gold

Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:37am EDT
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By Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) - Two namesake coaches who have propelled Russian synchronized swimming to one medal after another hope to blow rivals out of the water once again at the Rio Olympic Games.

Head team coach Tatyana Pokrovskaya and duets coach Tatiana Danchenko have crafted creative and explosive routines ranging from a jaunty Marilyn Monroe-inspired performance to a Metallica-themed one.

Russia finished with eight of a possible nine golds at the World Aquatic Championships the country hosted last year, having dominated with seven golds from seven disciplines in the 2013 championships in Barcelona.

"They have a beautiful routine, with a high level of difficulty and a good execution," Brazilian team member Maria Eduarda Miccuci told Reuters.

"The Russian coach is very detail-orientated and very demanding. It will be difficult, but we'll fight for a medal," she added as the host team hope for a strong performance to help raise the discipline's profile in the soccer-crazed South American country.

Russia's dazzling synchro stars should provide a bright contrast to a doping scandal that has triggered a suspension of the country's track and field team.

They would, however, have been sweating on the International Olympic Committee's decision over whether the rest of Russia's team will be allowed to compete in Rio in the wake of the McLaren report into doping.

That decision, barring for those athletes who had served a ban, was passed on to the sports federations on Sunday and FINA issued a statement saying there was no indication in the report that Russia's synchronized swimmers "would be implicated".   Continued...

Russia's synchronised swimming Olympic team members attend a farewell ceremony before the national team's departure to Rio 2016 Olympics at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia, July 28, 2016.  REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin