The Match of the Giants resumes - Russia versus USA

Reminds me of the dual meetings Charlie describes in the Speed Trap - a tradition which almost ended. Sorry the US did not send a lot of their best athletes…

The Match of the Giants resumes - Russia versus USA
Monday 6 September 2004
Moscow, Russia – The tradition of the great dual meetings between Russia and the USA was resumed in a reduced format yesterday (Sunday 5 Sep) in the Russian capital.

In the northern arena of Luzhniki - the athletes competed in 15 events under the banner of the “Russian Challenge” International Athletics Meeting Russia vs USA” but it has been promised that next year the meeting will be held with a full competitive programme.

The tradition goes back to 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm where the two countries – Russia and the USA participated in the Games together for the first time in the history of modern athletics. Then the Americans were the overall winners as always (42 gold medals), and the Russians didn’t manage even to get the single one but the two nations were among the 17 countries that founded IAAF several days after the Olympics were over.

The next time the athletes of these two countries was in 1952 at the Helsinki Olympics where the champions of Russian Federation were very well represented in the composition of the Soviet team.

The tradition of dual team matches goes back to 1958 and since that time there have been 18 team matches between the two countries. They were called “The Matches of the Giants” or even “The Matches of the Century”. The Soviet team won 14 times, the USA team gained 3 victories. And one match ended in a draw.

Minute’s silence

Yesterday’s Moscow tournament was opened by the Mayor of the City Yuriy Luzhkov and the US Ambassador for Russia, Mr. Alexander Vershbow, and given recent tragic events a minute of silence was announced and meticulously observed in the cherished memory of those who have been killed by terrorists.

Normally the first Sunday of September is officially celebrated in the Russian capital as the Day of Moscow. But this time all the festivities were cancelled due to the tragedy of the school siege. And so the American and Russian participants of the track and field match paid tribute to the victims of the ugly and inhumane attacks against a peaceful population. “Russia was with us after the tragic events of the 11th of September. Now we are with Russia at this tragic moment” – said the USA Ambassador in his opening speech.

Cold weather also dampens results

The weather was windy. It was rather cold so the results left much to be desired. In some events the American side was represented only by one athlete. But still the meeting was worth staging- the athletes were struggling to the very end trying to do their best in order not to disappoint the spectators.

Slesarenko aims high

In Athens, one of the Russian journalists asked the new Olympic champion Elena Slesarenko, if she was going for a new world record in high jump. And she promised, “I’ll try to clear the bar at 2.10 any time I win a competition and it doesn’t depend on what mark the bar was at the moment of my victory.

And Slesarenko kept her word yesterday. She tried again at 2.10 and after the failure we asked her again – “Do you remember your promise to attack the old World record of Stefka Kostadinova every time even if you’ve already won the competition?”

“I’ll do it for sure,” Slesarenko confirmed, “but be so kind to give me some time to do it. This season was extremely difficult. So, may be I’ll do it in 2005.”

Only wind defeats Feofanova

Svetlana Feofanova also tried her best in Pole Vault but stopped at 4.65 explaining that she failed to defeat one opponent… the wind.

USA’s Monique Hennagan was at her best defeating all the Russians easily at her favourite distance of 400m in 50.63. Joanna Hayes was second to none at her glorious 100m hurdles. Yulia Pechonkina tried to prove that her 8th place in the Olympic final was just an accidental mistake by winning the 400m Hurdles in 54.50. USA’s Sandra Glover finished second – 54.52.

The public was very much disappointed in the Long Jump as Olympic champion Dwight Phillips leapt only 7.81 and settled for second place behind the Russian triple jumper Danil Burkenya. Phillips explained his failure was die to the windy weather.

Irina Simagina still managed to win the women’s Long Jump with 6.83, in a close battle ahead of the Olympic champion Tatyana Lebedeva, who was second – 6.82.

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF

Selected results



  1. Julia Tabakova (RUS) – 11.29
    2.Olga Fyodorova (RUS) – 11.35
    3.Wyllesheia Myrick (USA) –11.45
    4.Irina Khabarova (RUS) – 11.47

1.Monique Hennagan (USA) –50.63
2. Natalya Antyukh (RUS) – 51.57
3. Natalya Nazarova (RUS) –51.80
4.Irina Rossikhina (RUS) – 51.86

1500 m
1.Tatyana Tomashova (RUS) – 4.06.40
2. Natalya Evdokimova (RUS) – 4.07.01
3. Elena Evdokimova (RUS) – 4.07.10
4. Sarah Schwald (USA) – 4.15.71

100 m hurdles

  1. Joanna Hayes (USA) – 12.78
  2. Mariya Koroteeva (RUS) – 12.86
  3. Jenny Adams (USA) – 13.08
  4. Natalya Kresova (RUS) – 13.19

400 m hurdles
1.Julia Pechonkina (RUS) – 54.50
2. Sandra Glover (USA) – 54.52
3.Ekaterina Bikert (RUS) – 54.72
4.Brenda Taylor (USA) – 55.33

High jump
1.Yelena Slesarenko (RUS) – 2.00
2.Anna Chicherova (RUS) – 1.92
3.Amy Acuff (USA) – 1.89
4. Ifoma Jones (USA) – 1.85

Long jump
1.Irina Simagina (RUS) – 6.83
2.Tatyana Lebedeva (RUS) – 6.82
3.Shakeema Walker (USA) – 6.15
4. Jenny Adams (USA) – 5.85

Pole vault

  1. Svetlana Feofanova (RUS) – 4.65
  2. Tatyana Polnova (RUS) - 4.55
  3. Mary Sauer (USA) – 4.20
  4. Lindsay Taylor (USA) – 4.20

4x100 m relay

  1. Russia - Julia Tabakova, Larisa Kruglova, Irina Khabarova, Olga Fyodorova (RUS) – 42.78
  2. USA - Nadine Faustin, Moushaumi Robinson, Wyllesheia Myrick, Joanna Hayes (USA) – 44.14



  1. Marcus Brunson (USA) – 10.15
  2. Kareem Streete-Thompson – 10.33
  3. Scales Mardy (USA) – 10.40
  4. Andrey Epishin (RUS) – 10.45


  1. Yuriy Borzakovskiy (RUS) – 1.47.72
  2. Dmitriy Bogdanov (RUS) – 1.48.35
  3. Stanislav Khukharkin (RUS) – 1.50.70
  4. Luke Watson (USA) –1.54.33

110 m hurdles

  1. Ron Bramlett (USA) – 13.55
  2. Igor Peremota (RUS) – 13.59
  3. Dudley Dorival – 13.62
  4. Aubrey Herring (USA) – 13.84

Long Jump

  1. Danila Burkenya (RUS) – 7.84
  2. Dwight Philips (USA) – 7.81
  3. Vitaliy Shkurlatov (RUS) – 7.69
  4. Kenta Bell (USA) – 7.37

High Jump

  1. Yaroslav Rybakov (RUS) – 2.28
  2. Vyacheslav Voronin (RUS) – 2.24
  3. Jamie Nieto (USA) - 2.21
  4. Henry Patterson (USA) – 2.15

4x100 m

  1. Russia - Aleksander Ryabov, Oleg Sergeev, Sergey Bychkov, Andrey Epishin – 39.37
  2. USA - Mardy Scales, Marcus Brunson, Kareem Streete-Thompson, Brian Lewis – 39,38