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Siberian wrestler Roman Vlasov once more world champion - despite shock over wrong anthem

By The Siberian Times reporter
10 September 2015

Roman Vlasov protests over podium mistake after he won the Greco-Roman 75kg gold.

'When you always win that taste can be dulled. A failure returns motivation.' Picture: AFP

The 24 year old fighter from Novosibirsk defeated Denmark's Mark Overgaard Madsen in the World Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas. He had previously won the Olympic Gold in London in 2012, a year after his previous success at the World Championships in Istanbul, but since then he lost two consecutive Russian National Championships and did not participate this year, although he triumphed in back to back European titles in 2012 and 2013.

But the victory re-installing him as World Champion was marred by a faux pas when a discarded version of the Russian national anthem was played as he received his medal.

Instead of the Russian national anthem, organisers played Mikhail Glinka's Patrioticheskaya Pesnya (A Patriotic Song), last used as the country's anthem from 1990-2000, before President Vladimir Putin replaced it with the State Anthem of the Russian Federation. 

The victorious wrestler shook his hand showing that the wrong anthem is playing and protested by standing his ground waiting for the correct music to be played. He didn't recognise the anthem which had been ditched by Russia when he was nine years old. 

'I was shocked,' he told Wrestrus. 'I realised that this was not our anthem.' He explained: 'When the music stopped, I told the organisers I wouldn't budge from the spot until I heard the real Russian anthem.

Roman Vlasov

The victory re-installing him as World Champion was marred by a faux pas when a discarded version of the Russian national anthem was played as he received his medal. Picture: Youtube

For the sake of this moment on the podium and we work hard all year round - and they put the wrong anthem at the award ceremony. It's not good. I guarantee, I would not leave the pedestal until our favourite Russian national anthem would play. I would stand there until my legs gave out.'

Despite the podium blunder, he said that victory was sweeter than his 2011 triumph and the Olympic success. 

'I had to overcome a whole series of losses. It is very hard physically and psychologically when you constantly feel that there are people who are pushing you from all sides,' he told Sport-Express. 'But I always believed that the high in my life would come.'

He went on: 'Last year, I already over these failures, winning all the tournaments in which I participated, except the World Cup when I was second. I believe that all of these losses had some reason. 

'I had to go through them, to pass this test. Perhaps, in order to become stronger again, feel the taste of victory and thirst for victory. When you always win that taste can be dulled. A failure returns motivation.'

Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), said he did not believe the mix-up was deliberate, despite the wrong anthem also being played at the 2015 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. 'On the whole, we believe that these were unintentional mistakes,' he said. 

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