(1974 - )
Michael Kalganov is an Israeli professional kayaker who has competed in the Olympic games.
Kalganov was born on October 24, 1974, in Tashkent, Uzhekistan. One of the top kayakers in the world, Kalganov began
to compete in kayaking because he wanted to follow in his brother Andrey's
footsteps. Andrey Kalganov was a youth champion in the Soviet Union,
and is also an international kayaker. In 1995, UJA brought Kalganov
to Israel. Michael said, "I have friends who went to America and
Germany. But as a Jew, I believe that my place is here. I feel very
much at home in Israel."
In both 1998 and 1999 Kalganov won the gold medal in
the K1 200-meter (not an Olympic event) at the World Championships,
and added a silver and bronze respectively in the K1 500-meter race
at the last two World Championships. Kalganov also won the gold medal
in the K1 1000-meter and took the silver in the K1 500 meter at the
2000 European Championship.
A member of the Israeli kayaking team at the 2000 Sydney
Olympics, Kalganov won the fourth medal in Israeli Olympic history when
he captured the bronze in the K1 500-meter (1:59.563). The K1 500-meter
final took place on the final day of competition and was Israel's last
chance at a medal. Kalganov began the race aggressively, setting a furious
pace against a very strong wind, which slowed him down towards the end
of the race. His main competitors had the advantage of being shielded
from the wind by the grandstand whereas Kalganov, racing in lane 8,
lacked the same protection. He finished in third place, only 1.716 seconds
behind the gold medalist. Kalganov also finished in fourth place in
the K1 1000-meter with a time of 3:35.099; he missed the bronze medal
by .042 seconds.
After winning the bronze medal (the only medal for
Israel at the Games), Kalganov said: "I dreamed of winning. No
sportsman thinks of finishing in third position, he dreams of first
place. I cannot yet take it all in. I haven't had time to think and
I'm not even happy yet. It could have been better." He later said,
though: "I am happy now. I'm getting used to the idea. It's the
first time here that a competitor from an outside lane has finished
in the top three." Kalganov, who emigrated to Israel in the mid-1990s,
dedicated his medal to the citizens of the Jordan Valley; he trains
on the Kinneret.
In 2001, Kalganov won the World Cup in the K1 500-meter
in 1:39.43 (five seconds ahead of the silver medalist), and finished
second in the 500-meter at the European Championships. At the World
Championships in 2002, he finished in fifth place in the 500-meter.
In 2003 Michael placed at the relatively low 9th place
in the World Championships. In 2004 he made the Olympic squad in the
European Championships with a 7th place performance in Poznan, Poland
but looked far from his best. His 1:43.744 performance was enough in
Kalganov was a member of the Israeli Olympic kayaking
team in Athens 2004, but was not in the best form of his career. He
refused to take part in the Israeli National Championships in June 2004
since he was unimpressed with the level of organization and had trouble
making the Olympic criteria for Athens in the 500-meter event.
Kalganov raced in heat 1 of the K1 500-meter event
in the 2004 Athens Games on August 24. Michael placed fourth in the
race (1:39.745), thus achieving the 10th best time of the 28 contestants.
Kalganov suffered a disappointing performance in the semifinals, held
on August 26. He competed in the second semifinal, placing 8th in the
race (1:43.411). His time was the 24th best overall and therefore not
enough to qualify for the final.
Sources: Jews In