Andrey Arshavin has been voted Sportsman of the Year in Russia, as revealed by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, thus in company with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who polled as the most notable in politics in 2011.
The Russian national team captain has become the most popular option among the Russians for the fourth consecutive year. However, his rating has been steadily falling, from 18 per cent in 2008 to 5 per cent in 2011.
The survey reflects popularity rather than marking the deeds of this or that sportsman. 2011 was a mediocre period in Arshavin’s career. He ceased to be Arsene Wengere’s first choice forward for Arsenal, while in international competitions he lacked stability.
Martial Arts legend Fedor Emelianenko was second in the ranking, leaving biathlete Olga Zaitseva and boxer Nikolay Valuev not far behind with around 4 per cent each.
Valuev has not stood in the ring since November 2009, but this fact did not deter the respondents, who also named former gymnast-turned MP Alina Kabaeva and two figure skaters of the past, Aleksey Yagudin and Irina Slutskaya, as their choice.