World Champion breaststroker Anton Chupkov has been named Russia’s top athlete for 2019 at the annual Pride of Russia awards held on Thursday in Moscow.
Chupkov was nominated as one of 3 finalists for the award, beating out snowboarder Dimitry Loginov and freestyle skiier Maxim Burov. Loginov was a double World Champion in 2019 in the parallel grand slalom and parallel slalom events, while Burov won a World Championship in aerials and a bronze medal in mixed aerials.
Chupkov won a World Championship in the 200 breaststroke this summer in a new World Record time of 2:06.12. That is a second-straight World Championship for him in long course, which is sandwiched around a European Championship in 2018.
Also in 2019, Chupkov won 3 gold medals representing Russia at the World Military Games – topping the podium in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, and 400 medley relay.
Chupkov didn’t race at the European Championships in short course – he’s never won a major medal in short course and hasn’t raced at the European Championships in SCM since 2015 – his stroke doesn’t necessarily lend itself to short course swimming as well as it does to long course swimming.
The head of the federation, Vladimir Salnikov, was nominated for the Legend of Domestic Sport award, honoring champions of the past. Salnikov, now a member of the FINA Bureau and a leader of domestic and global swimming and Olympic sports, is a 4-time World Champion. He won 3 gold medals at the 1980 Olympics, where much of the world boycotted, and a 4th at the 1988 Games when he was 28 years old – in a period when most athletes were retiring by then. He may have won more were it not for the Russian boycott of the 1984 Olympics.
Figure skating coach Tamara Moskvina won that award.
The National Sports Awards were established by the Russian Federation in 2010 in order to stimulate the professional activities of athletes, coaches, and physical education specialists. The winners are determined by a combination of an expert council and a public vote. The expert council includes athletes, leaders of national sports, government officials, and popular cultural figures in Russia.