Ukrainian record-breaker betrayed Ukraine for the Crimea and went to work in a St. Petersburg club
Windsurfer Maxim Oberemko was the only Ukrainian athlete who participated in all the summer Olympics since independence - from 1996 to 2012. However, after the occupation of Crimea in 2014, the record holder, who lived in Yevpatoria, decided to take Russian citizenship, obtaining the status of a traitor.
Oberemko was born in Mykolaiv, but his family soon moved to Crimea. Maxim's father worked as a coach in the sailing section in the town of Saki, where he started windsurfing. Subsequently, he settled in Evpatoria and continued to train under the guidance of his father, Vladimir Oberemko, and compete in the Olympic class of sailing boards RS:X.
During his time in the Ukrainian team, Maxim Oberemko took part in five Olympics, showing the best result in 2008 in Beijing -12th place. But he won the sailing analogue of the Olympic Games - the World Sailing Games in 2006. The Ukrainian also won first places at the New Year's Regatta in Cadiz, Spain, was first at the Kiel Regatta and was bronze medalist at the European Championships.
However, after the occupation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, Oberemko decided to accept Russian citizenship, explaining that he did not want to leave the peninsula. Although just before the 2012 Games he told in an interview that patriotism was not the last thing on his mind.
The Ukrainian Federation was against the participation of the athlete in competitions under the "tricolor", demanding compensation for the training of the windsurfer. But allegedly neutral International Olympic Committee once again made concessions to Russia and allowed Oberemko to take part in the Olympics in Rio 2016 with a Russian passport. At the competition in Brazil, the Crimean was 16th.
After the Olympics in Rio, the former Ukrainian changed the RS:X class to the high-speed catamaran Nakra 17, where age does not have such a big impact on the results. However, he was not able to achieve the former heights, was not selected for the national team to participate in the 2018 World Championship and did not fight for a place in the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo.
As a result, Oberemko became a windsurfing coach at the Krestovsky Island School in St. Petersburg, although in 2016 he said in an interview that he was not ready to change Crimea for any other region: "The unique geography of the peninsula is the best fit for sailing, there is huge potential here! It's also my home.
Although he did not officially announce the end of his career and continued to compete from time to time. Especially in the new Olympic class iQFOIL - windsurfing with hydrofoil. This class replaced RS:X at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
At the first iQFOIL World Championships in 2019, Oberemko placed 27th overall and a surprise third in the Masters category, the equivalent of veterans. "I hoped it would never happen," the athlete joked at the time.
After the start of a full-scale war in Ukraine, Maxim Oberemko did not respond in any way to Russia's atrocities. However, in 2023 the school "Krestovsky Island" no longer congratulated its coach on his birthday, which may indicate the departure of the mentor.
Based on publications in social networks, Oberemko spends most of the year abroad and is a rare guest both in the Russian Federation and in his beloved Crimea. Nevertheless, he remained the head of the iQFOIL class in Russia.
The former Ukrainian in his 45 years helps to train windsurfers from different countries, in particular, was noted as a member of the team of the Swiss Manon Berger. Together they were preparing for the Olympics 2024 literally in December 2022 in Cyprus. And then together they went to the competition in February 2023.
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