Ovechkin was named third Russian athlete of the year 2008 in Sport-Express voting.
1. Andrei Arshavin, football
2. Elena Isinbaeva, track and field
3. Alexander Ovechkin, hockey
The votes were submitted by Sport-Express writers, one of them was Slava Malamud. Imagine that, he voted for some footballer named Dmitry Torbinski! Way to go, Slava!
Sport-Express, Dec. 29, 2008 "Who vote for whom":
Slava Malamud. 1, Torbinski 2. Ovechkin 3. Malkin 4. Nabokov 5. Kovalchuk
Here is some insight why he Slava voted for a footballer by Slava himself...
Slava Malamud on Capitals Insider (Guest Blogger: Things Ovechkin Hates):
...PS: This interview was a part of Sport-Express' New Year edition, in which we traditionally pick the Russian Athlete of the Year. Basically, it's Russia's version of the SI Sportsman of the Year award.
At the time of writing I didn't know whether it was Ovechkin who won it... or Andrei Arshavin, a footballer. You are probably wondering how it could happen that the best player in the world's best league who has helped Russia win the World Championships for the first time in 15 years (and at a sport which we are actually good at!) and was a finalist for SI's Sportsman of the Year even gets mentioned in the same sentence with a footballer.
I was wondering, but now I know why... bhahaha
Update: no bhahaha, please read the comment by Slava...
By the way, Arshavin gave an interview to Sport-Express, and here what he said:
Any poll is the subjective opinion of a group of people, therefore, one should relate to such things accordingly. If I could make a choice I'd name Alexander Ovechkin as the best athlete of the year. It was he who was the leader of team Russia spiritually and on ice at the world championship.
The full interview with Ovechkin by Slava Malamud in Russian has some more details about this episode: "They had written that in Beijing (at the Olympics) I got drunk and totally destroyed a hotel room..."
Ovechkin confronted the journalists who wrote that:
"I told them, "Prove that it really happened or write a refutation." A month later they wrote that all that was not true."