Russia’s top basketballer, Andrey Kirilenko, has called the London Olympics his most memorable event of 2012 because of the bronze medal he won with Russia and the many interesting people he met in the British capital.
“Prince Albert of Monaco, Maria Sharapova, Usain Bolt and Novak Djokovic, with whom we got acquainted at the Opening Ceremony,” Kirilenko told Sport-Express newspaper. recalled. “I often dropped upon Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as well.”
The 31-year-old said the atmosphere at the Games was “very warm” and none of the stars acted as if they were special, even the world’s fastest man, Bolt.
“Everyone wanted to make a photo with him. But I’m no fan of collecting such pictures. For me, it’s enough that we’ve met. And we even outraced him together with [Russian team partner] Viktor Khryapa! We were returning from the Opening Ceremony together with Bolt and Viktor and I decided: ‘no matter how fast he runs the 100 meters – we’ll be first to get to the canteen.’ And we succeeded,” he laughed.
The Timberwolf hasn’t yet decided whether London 2012 will be his last Olympics or if he’ll stay in the national team for another four years.
“First, I want to know what my family, relatives and friends – the people whose opinion I value – think about this,” AK-47 stressed. “I always wanted to play for the national team. This is special for me as I love to get together and spend time with the guys. It’s a hard choice – either spending time with family or defending the honor of your country. I feel great doing both. But, regretfully, there’s no solution that would satisfy me 100 per cent.”
Since Sydney 2000, Kirilenko has been the leader of the Russian basketball team, which he led to the European Champions’ title in 2007 and the first Olympic medals in the country’s modern history in London.