Sergey Makarenko - the first champion
Before the Olympic Games in Athens we had a talk with the first Olympic champion Sergey Makarenko. In
Rome Sergey together with Leonid Gejshtor won competitions in rowing on a canoe on
Sergey Lavrentjevich why did you chose a canoe?
"In childhood I read books about Indians on a canoe. And once on a small river I saw little crafts, therefore I wanted to try. Every year my results turned out better and better. And I got an invitation to the combined team of the republic."
When did you get acquainted with your partner Leonid Gejshtor?
"We trained together. Shortly before the Olympic games of 60th we were put in one boat. Soon we gained very convincing victory on the Moscow rowing channel."
Your unexpected success was like a bolt from the blue.
"Very skilled and famous rowers resisted us. For example, the citizens of Leningrad Botev and Kharin, who on the Olympic Games in Melbourne became Olympic champions in the distance of ten thousand meters. And Yakunin with Oshchepkov from Vladivostok had loud victories as well. In such situation the main thing is not to pay attention into titles of rivals, but to work on a distance without panic and failures. We managed to do it. From start and up to finish we were going confidently."
The selection for the Olympic Games was difficult, wasn’t it?
"Very difficult. Our trainers constantly changed the structures of crews, tried to find an optimal variant of a duet which could win belarusians. Nevertheless, we won both international and home competitions."
However it was highly probable that you wouldn’t get to the Roman Olympiad …
"We were young rowers; therefore we did not think that some careless words could harm us. Somewhere I told something careless, somewhere - Gejshtor. And guys from the committee presented our words in the light necessary to them. As a result, the combined team of Soviet Union went to Rome, and we remained in Moscow. To tell the truth, soon the leaders allowed us to go to Rome. We appeared in the Olympic Village when in the coin box of our combined team there was no any gold medal. In a couple of days - the same result. Chiefs began to be nervous. Sports functionaries begged: "Make something!" And next were rowers.
And who won the first gold medal?
"Gejshtor and I. The matter is that, according to the Olympic calendar, we were the first to act. Despite of emotions, which overflowed us, we supported our guys as well. We worried about Oleg Karavaev very much. We became friends with him before the Olympiad. That he demonstrated on the wrestling carpet in Rome – the fantastic! Fans in a hall applauded him upright. Karavaev was a real virtuoso."
What is about your sports career after this victory?
"We didn’t stop on achieved. We became winners and prize-winners of the world and Europe championships and other international competitions. I finished sports career in 1969.I arrived on the training to prepare for new competitions, and the main trainer of the combined team of the USSR Alexander Silaev, who won a silver medal in Rome, suddenly says: "That’s all for you. Enough. I need you as a trainer. Put your oars to a corner and take a group... " Now I did not separate from sport. I am engaged in the production of boats."