Archive

No. 3, 2004

Alexander Seleznyov

IN THE LIGHT OF THE OLYMPIC FLAME


LUKOIL helps promote the Olympic movement

Support for national Olympic teams and individual athletes figures prominently among LUKOIL's many sponsorship activities.

A bit of Olympic history

Invariably, the Olympic Games are a momentous event not only for the sports community but also for all humanity.

The first Olympic Games date back to hoary antiquity: they were held in 776 B.C. in a small Greek town called Olympia. The ancient Greeks attached so much importance to their Olympic tournaments that they based their system of chronology on Olympiads. Furthermore, they ceased all hostilities for the period of Olympic competitions. Yesterday's enemies vied peacefully for the laurels of an Olympic champion. Winners became national heroes: statues were hewn and poems were written in their honor. The Olympic Games included not only sports competitions, but also art contests in which famous poets and orators took part and winning which was just as honorable as victory in sports competitions. The Olympics signified a harmony of the soul and body. Among the great Olympians were Pythagoras (fist-fighting champion) and Aristotle (wrestling champion), as well as many other celebrities of antiquity.

For over a thousand years, Olympic tournaments were held regularly in Olympia once every four years. In 394 A.D., however, they were banned by Theodosius, a Roman emperor who regarded them as a pagan custom. Thereupon, the Olympic Games disappeared for 1500 years.

In 1892, speaking at the Sorbonne in Paris, Baron Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937), a prominent public figure in France, called for a revival of the Olympic Games. His appeal was supported by his friends and followers in many countries of the world.

In June 1894, an international congress in Paris decided to revive the Olympic tournaments and to hold the first renewed Games in 1896 in Athens. This was how the Olympic Games were reborn.

The Russian team, numbering five athletes, took part in the Olympics for the first time in 1908 and won two silver medals in wrestling (N. Orlov and A. Petrov) and one gold medal in figure skating (N. Panin-Kolomenkin).

Today, nearly one hundred years later, the Russian Olympic team is one of the world's best. But to succeed even the strongest athletes need support. In Russia, such support is rendered by JSC LUKOIL, an official partner of the Olympic Committee of Russia (OCR).

LUKOIL sponsors Russian Olympians

Support rendered by LUKOIL, one of Russia's largest oil companies, to various sports teams and its active popularization of physical culture and sports among its own personnel have long become one of the Company's hallmarks. Today, it supports the LUKOIL Racing Team (automobile racing), the LUKOIL-Bashkortostan cinder-track motorcycle racing team, the LUKOIL-Spartak water polo team, and the LUKOIL-Dynamo handball club. In 2000, the Company became the general sponsor of the Spartak soccer club (Moscow), and in 2001, it signed an agreement on partnership with a regional public organization called Children's Soccer League, for the purpose of reviving and promoting soccer among children and youth.

The Company's activities aimed at promoting Russian sports are highly appreciated by the country's various sports organizations, in particular the OCR. Speaking at a press conference, Vladimir Vasin, OCR First Vice-President, said: "In its attitude to sports LUKOIL sets an example to others. I would like to express to the Company's management my appreciation of their efforts to support Russian sports." Its stated intentions the Company supports by deeds: on January 12, 2004, in its central office LUKOIL signed a license agreement with the Olympic Committee of Russia. OCR First Vice-President Vladimir Vasin and LUKOIL Vice-President Anatoly Barkov attached their signatures to the document. Commenting on the signing of the agreement, Anatoly Barkov said: "For a number of years LUKOIL has actively supported many Russian sports teams, and I'm convinced that the continued mutually advantageous cooperation between LUKOIL and the OCR will make a significant contribution toward strengthening the positions and prestige of Russian sports in the international arena." For his part, Vladimir Vasin stressed that cooperation with LUKOIL made one hopeful that the tremendous number of tasks associated with the preparation of the Russian Olympic team would be fulfilled.

It should be noted that the very first license agreement between the OCR and LUKOIL was signed at the end of 2002. Under that agreement the Company was granted the status of the OCR's official partner and the exclusive right to use the Olympic emblem on its products. In its turn, LUKOIL allocated funds to be used for the preparation of Russian athletes for the Olympic Games in Athens.

The previous Olympic Games have testified to the weighty contribution made by the Company toward Russia's Olympic achievements. In 2000, for instance, at the Sydney Olympics, eight of the athletes competing under the LUKOIL flag on the handball and water polo Olympic teams won gold and silver medals. The gold was won by the handballers Vasily Kudinov and Lev Voronin of the Astrakhan LUKOIL-Dynamo team, and the silver - by the water polo players of the Volgograd LUKOIL-Spartak team Dmitry Stratan, Irek Zinnurov, Nikolay Kozlov and Andrey Rekechinsky. Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that for ten years already LUKOIL has sponsored the women's ski-racing team of Russia - the world leader in cross-country skiing.

Olympic glory

On August 13, 2004, having made a round of the world, the Olympic torch returned to the main Olympic Stadium in Athens, and the 28th Olympic Games were declared open. The torch had been lighted in Athens 36 days previously, and, being passed carefully from hand to hand, it had been carried across 33 cities of 27 countries on all continents (including, for the first time, Africa and Latin America). It was carried by a total of 11,300 torch-bearers, and the cities to which they called included the capitals of all the previous Olympics as well as the capital of the next Olympic Games.

For their scale, the Athens Olympics of 2004 have proved to be the greatest event in the history of the modern Olympic movement: taking part in the Games were about 10500 athletes and 5500 officials from 204 countries; contested were 301 sets of medals in 33 kinds of sport. The Russian team included 454 athletes who competed in all Olympic disciplines and won a great deal of golden, silver and bronze medals. They were most successful in gymnastics, free-style and Greco-Roman wrestling, fencing, modern rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, diving, bouncing, handball, modern pentathlon, and tennis.

Excellent results were scored by the Olympic teams in bouncing, cycling (road races), boxing, tennis and several track-and-field events; very impressive was the showing put in by the men's and women's volleyball teams, as well as by the water polo and thaekwondo teams.

Many a time Russian athletes mounted the Olympic honors podium, upholding once again their high prestige in the world sports community.

All that gives grounds to assert that the Russian sports movement is being revived, and this is largely the result of the activities of companies which promote the development of sports in the country. LUKOIL, one of the chief sponsors of the Russian Olympic movement, is determined to continue to help athletes score new victories in the international arena.

On August 11, 2004, in Moscow, the awarding ceremony of Fill up in Olympic Style competition took place. The ceremony was symbolically held at a brand-new filling station of LUKOIL situated on Olympiysky Prospect. Five lucky winners of the main prizes were gifted special certificates of tourist trips to the Olympic Games in Athens. Both the Olympic team of Russia and LUKOIL benefit a lot from the large-scale promotion action like Fill up in Olympic Style.




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Oil of Russia, No. 3, 2004
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