Three-Time World Silver Medallist Sergei Smiryagin Dies Aged 56, Russian Federation Announce

Sergei Smiryagin
Sergei Smiryagin (centre) with Rowdy Gaines (left): Picture Courtesy: Dutch National Archives

Three-time world silver relay medallist Sergei Mikhailovich Smiryagin died on 11 July aged 56, the Russian Federation have announced.

Smiryagin was 16 when he competed at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow where he finished 11th in the 100m freestyle.

He was crowned European champion a year later as part of the victorious Soviet Union 4x100m freestyle relay in Split, in then Yugoslavia.

sergey smiryagin russian federation

Photo Courtesy: Russian Federation

In 1982 Smiryagin claimed two silver medals at the World Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in the 4×100 freestyle and 4x100m medley relay.

There were multiple trips to the podium in 1983, including a visit to the top step at the Universiade in Edmonton, Canada, in July that year following victory in the 100 free ahead of five-time Olympic relay champion Tom Jager of the United States and Andreas Schmidt of West Germany who won five world medals.

He followed that up the next month at the European Championships at the Foro Italico, Rome, where individual 100 free bronze was accompanied by gold in the 4×100 free relay and 4x100m medley relay, the former in European record time.

It all indicated a successful Olympic campaign in 1984 but the Soviet Union led a boycott of the Games in Los Angeles, United States.

Instead Smiryagin took part in the Friendship Games in Moscow – a multi-sport event involving countries that boycotted LA – where he won the 100 free in 50.26, which would have been good enough for bronze at the Olympics behind US swimmer Rowdy Gaines and Mark Stockwell of Australia. There were also two relay golds.

Smiryagin’s final international medal came in 1986 when he claimed his third World Championship silver medal in Madrid, Spain, as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay.

A statement from read:

“On July 11, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, participant of the Olympic Games in Moscow Sergei Mikhailovich Smiryagin passed away.

“Sergey Mikhailovich is a three-time silver medalist of the World Championships, which were held in Guayaquil (Ecuador) in 1982 and Madrid (Spain) in 1986. Three-time European champion (1981,1983). In 1983 he won bronze at the European Championships in Rome.

“Sergei Mikhailovich Smiryagin trained under the guidance of the Honored Coach of the USSR Vladimir Kuplyakov, and competed for Spartak. He climbed to the highest step of the podium four times, won silver medals five times and bronze medals four times at the USSR championships. On short course Sergey Smiryagin was also a multiple winner and medalist of the USSR championships.

“In 1983, Sergei Mikhailovich Smiryagin became the champion of the Universiade, in 1984 – a three-time winner of the international competition “Friendship-84”. In 1987 he completed his sports career.

“Sergei Mikhailovich Smiryagin was buried at the Domodedovo cemetery.

“The All-Russian Swimming Federation expresses its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Sergei Smiryagin.”

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1 comment

  1. avatar

    heartbreaking when athletes from your past leave this world. I hope you are doing great on the other side, Sergei. We will miss you.

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