“Russian son of the Armenian people” or the phenomenality of the Great Igor Novikov

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This article is dedicated to the greatest pentathlete of his time, the man who managed to elevate Soviet pentathlon to the highest world level. Many have probably guessed that we are talking about Igor Novikov.

Volumes of books can be written about Novikov’s achievements. He is a two-time Olympic champion, nine-time world champion, four-time USSR champion in individual events, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, and Honored Coach of the USSR. And this is just the beginning of his impressive list of accomplishments.

Following the example of such outstanding athletes as Shaginyan, Azaryan, and Yengibaryan, Igor Novikov created his own sports school in Armenia. Novikov’s pentathlon school became the best school in the entire Union. He trained athletes who were the best in all respects.

Igor Novikov became the first citizen of the Armenian SSR to head an international sports union. He led the International Union of Modern Pentathlon and Biathlon (UIPMB). Novikov also headed the USSR Pentathlon Federation. This man demonstrated his talents in all areas. For more than ten years, he held the position of Deputy Chairman of the Armenian Sports Committee.

In a private conversation between Igor Novikov and Anastas Mikoyan (Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR), Alexei Kosygin approached them. Mikoyan ironically said, “Here is Novikov – Russian, but speaks Armenian better than I do.” Alexei Nikolaevich then asked the champion whether he is considered Russian or Armenian in Armenia. Novikov replied, “A Russian son of the Armenian people!”

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Updated: July 10, 2024, 1:18 a.m.

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