A. Ovechkin and S. Varlamov outside the Lib of Congress after they visited a group of Russian diplomats w/ A. Semin.
Photo by Nate Ewell
Voice of America, Sept. 29, 2009:
James Billington, the Director of Library of Congress, thanked participants for supporting the program "Open World", "Your initiative and optimism inspire enthusiasm of ordinary Americans. It inspires a desire to know more about Russia and better understand it. Today we have invited those who wonderfully and greatly represent Russia in America: Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Semen Varlamov.
As soon as Dr Billington utter these words three hockey players and owner Washington Capitals Ted Leonsis have entered the hall.
"We are honored that we have the best hockey players in the world. These are the Russians for whom Washington has become a second home. In addition, each of them is just a symbol of exchange between the two great countries," said Ted Leonsis. "In my opinion," he said, "President Obama, when he was in Russia, sincerely believed in the fact that our peoples have much in common. We are entrepreneurial, we have the greatest respect for our history and try to find a balance between the private business and a strong government."
The owner of Washington Capitals called muskovite Alex Ovechkin, Krasnoyarsk' Alexander Semin and a native of Samara Semyon Varlamov not just the members of his hockey team, but also the envoys of Russia and at the same time the citizens of the world.
According to Alex Ovechkin, who in the past two years is the most valuable player in the NHL, it was an honor to be an ambassador twice, at present with Washington Capitals, and in 2014 at the Olympic Games in Sochi. "Now," said Alex Ovechkin we have the Olympics in Vancouver. And after that, Russia will gradually become the face of the Olympics in 2014. For us, it will be great, wonderful event. And I as a hockey player, as an athlete, represent my home country.
"We are not only represent Russia in America, but we ourselves go to the museums of Washington, learn American history, become acquainted with people. Washington is our second home, but our first home is Russia. For it we are competing in sport arenas. And we want the Russians to be healthy, but still sick for us," [tj - in Russian rooting also means be sick for the team you are rooting for] said Alex Ovechkin in an exclusive interview to Voice of America.
H/t to Emily!