Created 27 July 2012
Andrey KRIVOV, Russia (20km Race Walk)
Born: 14 November 1985, Komsomolsky
(Chamzinsky district, Republic of Mordovia)
1.85m / 72kg
Coaches: Viktor Chegin, Aleksandr Yerastov
During the last three years, Andrey Krivov has represented his country at numerous international events: World and European Championships, World and European Race Walking Cups, Universiade and had several top-3 finishes, but London 2012 will be his first Olympic experience, so desired and longed-for.
Krivov started doing athletics as a runner. “I needed something to do in my free time, I decided to do sports, but there were not many sports as attractive as athletics, and running is the simplest thing to do,” Andrey explained. Once at the regional competition race walking coach Aleksandr Yerastov noticed Krivov and suggested that he should give race walking a go. After a few sessions, coach Yerastov offered him to stay in his training group. And at one of the junior regional race walking races Krivov was sighted by Viktor Chegin. An invitation to the Saransk Training Center was soon to come.
Andrey Krivov is just ten months older than the World and Olympic champion Valery Borchin. And given that they both represent the Saransk Olympic Training Center from their early years, Krivov always had the toughest competition on the national level and a strong teammate to look up to.
First significant success came to Krivov in 2007. He was fourth overall and third in the U23 age category at the National Championships and earned a team spot for the European U23 Championships in Debrecen. His teammates for this event were Borchin and Sergey Bakulin, who is now well-known for his 50km achievements. In Hungary the Russians were unstoppable: Borchin won the gold, Krivov grabbed the silver and Bakulin got the bronze. “I remember how after the finish me and Valery, we were very concerned about our friend and teammate. He really struggled in the end, but managed to grab the bronze. To occupy all the podium and to see three Russian flags at the medal ceremony – this was amazing,” Sergey recalled.
In 2008 Krivov experienced his most bitter disappointment so far: at the World Cup held in Russia (Cheboksary) he missed out on the Olympic team spot by just 0.06 sec, losing to Borchin and Ilya Markov. But Andrey didn’t have too much time to be upset, as back at home he had a newborn son Yaroslav and a loving wife Tatyana Matyushkina. Andrey and retired race walker-turned-coach Tatyana met at one of the competitions and married in 2008.
In 2009 Krivov won the Russian Championships and qualified for his first senior major championships – the IAAF World Championships held in Berlin. But there he couldn’t get higher than the 17th place. “Surely I was upset. I had a slow race, even slower than the previous year at the World Cup. But it was the first experience of this kind of Championships to learn from,” Krivov said.
The first senior success came to Krivov in 2010, when he won the bronze of the World Race Walking Cup held in Mexico. Only two Chinese walkers, Wang Hao and Zhu Yafei, were better at coping with the difficult weather conditions of Chihuahua. “I made a mistake trying to walk away from the pack on the 14th kilometer; I think my nerves took over. But luckily coach Chegin corrected me and told me to follow the Chinese guys instead of pacing them. Anyway, the last lap was extremely hard, but I told myself that I couldn’t miss the podium. Of course, I wanted the gold, but lacked in experience,” Krivov said.
At the Barcelona European Championships Krivov finished sixth, but the first thing he heard after crossing the line was the praise of his coach. The thing was that after coming home from Chihuahua Krivov caught a cold and missed three weeks of training. This break affected him in the race. He had stomach problems and had to battle sickness all the way.
In 2011 Krivov was eighth at the European Cup, and he was disappointed. Not even by the eighth place, but by the fact that he was the third among Russian, while the first and the second got the team spots for the World Championships. He tried to qualify at the Russian Championships, but finished second, once again one position lower than needed. Instead of Korea he headed for China where the Universiade was held. In Shenzhen Krivov was brilliant, winning the gold in 1:24:15. “The conditions were very difficult, it was extremely hot, but after Chihuahua I was well prepared. Today I wanted to prove everyone that I’m strong and that I can perform in any kind of race. I can and I hope I will make a great performance at the Olympics. And I wanted to take a revenge for the World Cup, by the way, but China didn’t send there the best athletes, who were then getting ready for the Worlds,” Krivov smiled.
The Olympic year stared for Krivov with a personal best of 1:18:24, set at the Russian Winter Race Walking Championships in Sochi. But it was too early to relax as he was only third. He knew that with Borchin already on the team there were only two Olympic team spots available. The first opportunity to qualify was the World Cup, held in Krivov’s hometown, Saransk. Andrey set himself a goal not to take second chances at the Summer Nationals and to accomplish his task for the first try. And Krivov succeeded. He was the only Russian who could accompany Chinese Wang Zhen in his spurt after the tenth kilometre. Even though Krivov lost to Wang on the last lap, he was perfectly happy with his second place finish. “This silver was like platinum for me. My goal was to get the Olympic spot and I did it. I used my best strategy: to watch the favourites and not let them create a gap as long as I have the power,” Krivov explained.
And it was the first time when his wife and son got a chance to watch Andrey racing from the side of the course. “They don’t travel with me, but they always watch my races on TV or listen to the radio broadcast if the race is not televised. Two hours before every race I call my wife or message her, that’s our tradition. She was an athlete herself, so she understands me very well and always has the right words. I can feel her support even if I’m far away. And my son, who is now 4 years old, understands everything. He was at the course in Saransk and he was shouting so intensely! He was so worried about his dad!” Krivov smiled.
Although Krivov’s race strategy is no secret for his opponents, they will have to be at their best shape ever to confront Andrey and his teammates Borchin and Kanaykin in London.
10 Kilometres Race Walk: 42:30 (2004)
20 Kilometres Race Walk: 1:18:24 (2012)
20 Kilometres Race Walk: 2005: 1:22:21; 2006:- ; 2007: 1:20:12; 2008: 1:19:06; 2009: 1:19:55; 2010: 1:22:20; 2011: 1:20:16; 2012: 1:18:24
2007 4th Russian Championships (Cheboksary) 1:20:12
2007 2nd European Junior Championships (Debrecen) 1:21:51
2008 3rd Russian Winter Championships (Adler) 1:19:06
2008 5th World Race Walking Cup (Cheboksary) 1:19:10
2009 3rd Russian Winter Championships (Adler) 1:19:55
2009 27th European Cup Race Walking (Metz) 1:38:18
2009 1st Russian Championships (Cheboksary) 1:23:24
2009 17th World Championships (Berlin) 1:22:19
2010 3rd World Race Walking Cup (Chihuahua) 1:22:54
2010 6th European Championships (Barcelona) 1:22:20
2011 3rd Russian Winter Championships (Sochi) 1:20:16
2011 8th European Cup Race Walking (Olhao) 1:25:14
2011 2nd Russian Championships (Saransk) 1:20:47
2011 1st Universiade (Shenzhen) 1:24:15
2012 3rd Russian Winter Championships (Sochi) 1:18:25
2012 2nd World Race Walking Cup (Saransk) 1:19:27
Prepared by Elena Dyachkova for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2012