Four-time Olympic gymnastics champion Alexei Nemov, Saransk’s Ambassador at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in RussiaTM, , shared his vision of the planetary football pageant with Welcome2018.com, stressing the championship’s message to future generations.
"The greatest thing about the upcoming World Cup is the legacy it’s going to leave behind: better metropolitan infrastructure, new stadiums, roads, exits, hotels, and so on,” Nemov said. “Those cities which assumed responsibility of hosting World Cup matches will get the most improvements. Future generations will be proud of what we leave behind. Our mission is to bring the kids on to healthy living and sports. It’s important.”
The 2018 World Cup is guaranteed to make sports history, the Olympic champion believes. "What’s really going to add flavour to this tournament is the hospitality of Russian people, their kindness, their welcoming, understanding nature,” the gymnast continued. “Most foreigners, once they’ve visited Russia, they feel good about this country, and their impressions of Russia are all positive. That’s how it was after the Olympic Games in Sochi. To understand Russia, you have to know it from inside. I’m sure every foreign guest who visits us in 2018 will be happy to be here and pleasantly surprised. I know this championship will make history.”
Nemov believes Russia will organize the tournament to the best international standards. "We must take a few steps forward and prove to all our guests that Russia deserves to host international tournaments of this magnitude,” he said. “It’s well within our power to do this. And Saransk will do its bit, too, as our local people fully realize the responsibility involved. We welcome all those who will be here to root for their favourite teams, and we’ll do our best to make them feel comfortable in our cute little town.”
Russia marked the symbolic start of the 1000 days countdown for the 2018 World Cup on 18 September. Saransk saw a three-day itinerary of events, targeting the broadest audience: school kids, students, pro athletes, young footballers and fans. Overall, it was a great family holiday, filled with sports and fun.
Alexei Nemov was the star of the festivities. Those were four very busy days in Saransk for the four-time Olympic champ. When the first postage stamp, issued for the 2018 World Cup philatelic programme, was cancelled, Nemov was there to take part. He taught a Health Lesson for his hometown, and a Football Lesson for schoolchildren. He cooked a spread of traditional Mordovian specialties, and attended a Russian Cup football game.
"I’m happy I was in Saransk to celebrate the 1000 days countdown for the championship together with the townsfolk,” Nemov said. “The celebration was fun, heating up the anticipation of the upcoming football fest among the locals. We don’t have much longer to wait!”