Please select your home edition
Edition
Pinnell & Bax 201709 728x90

Victor Kovalenko to be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame

by Megan McKay, Australian Sailing on 3 Nov 3 November 2017

Renowned sailing coach, Victor 'the medal maker' Kovalenko OAM, will be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame this week at a ceremony in Sydney.

"Victor Kovalenko has altered the course of Australia's achievement at the Olympic Games since coming to this country 20 years ago. The impact he has had on our Olympic sailing program will be forever admired," said the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame Selection Panel on the announcement of Kovalenko's induction.

Since arriving in Australia from the Ukraine in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Games, Kovalenko (born 1950) has coached Australia's 470 athletes to five gold and one silver Olympic medal.

Over the course of his career, Victor's athletes have won ten Olympic medals (six gold, one silver and three bronze) over eight Olympic Games. His charges have also won more than 18 world championship titles, in addition to dominating European and other international regattas.

Growing up in the former Soviet Union, Victor began sailing at a young age and enjoyed success competing at a high level. The renowned coach didn't ever compete at the Olympics himself due to several factors, including his university studies and the boycott of the 1984 Olympic Games. However, he turned his attention to coaching and found success quickly, coaching the Soviet Union's 470 women's team of Larisa Moskalenko and Iryna Chunikhovskaya to an Olympic Bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Games. He then went on to coach the Ukraine's 470 men's and women's teams to gold and bronze medals at the 1996 Olympic Games – the country's first ever sailing medals.

With the political landscape in the Ukraine not offering Victor the opportunities and resources he needed, he made the difficult decision to leave his family in the Ukraine and come to Australia in 1997 to coach the Australian 470 sailors.

Many deemed his mission in Australia impossible – with just three years to prepare a competitive men's and women's 470 team for the home Games of 2000. However, Kovalenko proved his pundits wrong, with his women's team of Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell winning Australia's first ever Olympic sailing medal (a gold) in female classes, only an hour before his men's team of Tom King and Mark Turnbull also took gold in the men's 470 event.

The Aussies dubbed him the 'medal maker' following this success. Now an Australian citizen, his family joined him from the Ukraine and a long and successful coaching career in his adopted country followed. At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, both his men's and women's 470 teams won Gold again. Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson were victorious in the women's 470, and Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page won gold in the Men's 470.

Page continued under Victor's tutelage, teaming up with Mat Belcher for the London 2012 Games. The pair won gold in London, making Page the first Australian Olympic sailor to defend gold. Following Page's retirement, Belcher teamed up with Will Ryan, and Victor coached the pair to a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

In addition to Olympic medals and world titles, Victor has also been named as Australia's coach of the year in both 2008 and 2012, and received an OAM in 2012 for his services to sailing.

Seven Hall of Famers will be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame this Friday, 3 November 2017 at the Hyatt Regency, Sydney.

sailinghalloffame.org.au

Land Rover BAR Cap
REPORT OF THE MONTH SPONSORED BY Report of the Month sponsored by Henri Lloyd Nominate this article for report of the month for your chance to WIN a Land Rover BAR Cap for yourself and the author of the report that receives the most votes. Just fill in the form below!
Your name

Your email address

Why do you like this report?



Related Articles

Sail Sydney presents brothers new challenges
New classes for Jack and Ryan Littlechild Glamour sailing comes to Sydney Harbour next month when some of the best Olympic and Invited Class sailors in the southern hemisphere get off the mark in the next edition of Sail Sydney. Posted on 19 Nov
'The Bay' to offer up a range of conditions
At the 2018 Australian Yachting Championships Sandringham Yacht Club stalwart Daniel Edwards is urging sailors from around the country to be part of the 2018 Australian Yachting Championships and experience what he believes is an under-utilised wonderland on Melbourne's doorstep. Posted on 11 Nov
RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking series
2017 series finishes with a bang in Weymouth The final weekend of racing at the 2017 RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking Series saw Weymouth and Portland put on a show with sunny and blustery conditions challenging competitors (4-5 November). Posted on 7 Nov
Zhik to partner with Sail Melbourne
As Official Apparel Partner and Event Supplier Australia's technical sailing apparel producer Zhik has come on board as Official Apparel Partner and Event Supplier of the 2017 Sail Melbourne International regatta (29 November - 3 December 2017). Posted on 3 Nov
Australian Sailing Awards
Showing diverse Strengths America's Cup-winning skipper Glenn Ashby and rising stars Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot were named the nation's top sailors for 2017 at the Australian Sailing Awards in Sydney on Friday night. Posted on 3 Nov
Sailing icon, Rolly Tasker, to be inducted
Into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame Australia's first Olympic Sailing medallist and the first Australian to win a Sailing World Championship, Rolly Tasker AM (1926 – 2012) will be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame on Friday. Posted on 2 Nov
More Australian Sailing Hall of Fame inductees
First Australian Olympic sailing gold medallists Australia's first Olympic sailing gold medallists, Sir William (Bill) Northam CBE (1905-1988), Peter (Pod) O'Donnell (1939-2008) and James (Dick) Sargeant (born 1936) will be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame this week. Posted on 2 Nov
Australia II entire team to be inducted
Into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame One of Australia's most iconic sporting moments, the victory of Australia II in the 1983 America's Cup, will be honoured in the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame this week. The team of Australia II, including the sailing, design and executive teams. Posted on 1 Nov
Daniel Fitzgibbon & Liesl Tesch to be inducted
Into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame Australia's back to back Paralympic sailing gold medallists, Daniel Fitzgibbon OAM and Liesl Tesch AM will be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame this week at a ceremony in Sydney. Posted on 1 Nov
Enoshima Olympic Week
Views from USA and AUS teams US Sailing Team Laser Radial athlete Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) won gold at the conclusion of a stormy Enoshima Olympic Week, the first large multi-class regatta to be held at the site of the Tokyo 2020 sailing competition. Posted on 30 Oct