During a meeting of the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee’s (LTOK) executive committee on 23 January 2014, the Lithuanian delegation to the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia was approved. It will be the largest the country has ever sent to the winter games, writes Marytė Marcinkevičiūtė of www.sportas.info.
At the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, which will be held on 7-23 February 2014, nine Lithuanian athletes will participate: Biathletes Diana Rasimovičiūtė and Tomas Kaukėnas, cross-country skiers Ingrida Ardišauskaitė and Vytautas Strolia, alpine skiers Ieva Januškevičiūtė and Rokas Zaveckas, ice dancers Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniūnas, and short track speed skater Agnė Sereikaitė.
This will be the largest Lithuanian Olympic winter team in the country’s independent history. Six athletes represented Lithuania at the Vancouver games. For biathlete Diana Rasimovičiūtė, Sochi will be her fourth Olympics, and for all of the others it will be their first.
The rest of the Lithuanian Olympic delegation will consist of: Leader – LTOK president Daina Gudzinevičiūtė; her deputy – LTOK general secretary Valentinas Paketūras; the Head of Mission – Vida Vencienė, accreditation and Olympic Committee links – Lina Vaisietaitė, Olympic attaché – Antanas Muraška; doctor – Dalius Barkauskas; and masseur – Marius Matulionis.
Coaches of individual sports: Biathlon – Latvian Ilmārs Bricis; cross-country skiing and biathlon technical staff – Aurimas Bučelis of Ignalina and Estonian Meelis Aasmae; alpine skiing coach – Giedrius Zaveckas and coach’s representative Paulius Augūnas; speed skating – Czech Jarmil Hruza; ice dancing – Lilija Vanagienė.
In line with the tradition, the LTOK has the opportunity to allow a group of experts to attend, of which there will be nine in Sochi: Bronislovas Vasiliauskas (LTOK vice president); Arūnas Daugirdas (president of the Lithuanian Biathlon Federation); Gintautas Černiauskas (executive of the Lithuanian National Ski Association); Antanas Vilčinskas (president of the Lithuanian Speed Skating Federation); Linas Karlavičius (sponsor of the Olympic alpine ski team); Igor Shpilband (ice dancing coach), Laimutė Krauzienė (ice dancing judge); Ieva Lukošiūtė-Stanikūnienė (Anti-Doping Agency); and Diana Baubinienė (Anti-Doping Agency).
The Sochi Olympic Winter Games will be attended by Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius and his wife Janina, Sigitas Jokubka and Vytautas Janušaitis, General Director of the Physical Education and Sport Department Klemensas Rimšelis and his wife Jolanta, and Lithuanian ambassador to Russia Renatas Norkus.
“The Prime Minister’s arrival in Sochi should contribute to the promotion of winter sports,” said LTOK president Gudzinevičiūtė. Incidentally, Algirdas Butkevičius requested increased security in Sochi. Meanwhile, Lithuanian Figure Skating Federation President Lilia Vanagienė said that she spoke with American figure skating representatives who are convinced that the Sochi Olympics will be the safest in the history of the games.
During the meeting of the executive committee, LTOK Vice President Vasiliauskas said that all athletes are healthy, strong, and meet 100 per cent satisfied with the funds provided to prepare for the games. Currently, all members of the Olympic team train abroad. The biathletes will return for a short visit on February to attend the Olympic send-off party with President Dalia Grybauskaitė.
Any athlete who wins a medal at the Sochi Olympic Games will receive a cash prize of 200,000 litas. “Who knows, maybe there is an athlete who can earn that,” said Gudzinevičiūtė.