At least 32 to compete for Latvia

The Latvian contingent in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, is expected to include at least 32 athletes in 14 disciplines, the Latvian Olympic Committee announced July 15.

The games open Aug. 13 with the opening ceremony and conclude Aug. 29. In all, 37 athletic disciplines will be represented in the 28 sports of the Summer Olympics, according to the official Web site of the games.

First up for Latvia on Aug. 14 will be Guntars Deičmans in the 400-meter medley swimming event, Jevgeņijs Saproņenko and Igors Vihrovs in the qualifier for the all-around in gymnastics, and Andris Naudužs and Romāns Vainšteins in the cycling road race.

Here’s a rundown of Latvian athletes, sorted by sport.


Guntars Deičmans, in his first time in the Olympics, competes in the 200- and 400-meter medley. Andrejs Dūda, another first-timer, will be in the 100-meter butterfly.

Valērijs Kalmikovs, a veteran of the 1996 and 2000 games and a star while at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, may compete in the 200-meter breaststroke. He earned 13th place in the event in 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. But at last report, he still had not decided if he will start in Athens.

Romans Miloslavskis, an Olympic first-timer, will race in the 400-meter freestyle and the 200-meter breaststroke. Pāvels Murāns, another first-timer, will be in the 100-meter breaststroke.

The only woman swimmer on the team is Agnese Ozoliņa, a veteran of the last two summer games. She will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Swimming competition will take place Aug. 14-21 in the Olympic Aquatic Centre, part of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex. A total of 800 athletes are competing in swimming.


The greatest number of Latvian athletes—14—are competing in various athletics events. They include a number of first-timers, as well as returning Olympics veterans.

Aigars Fadejevs competes in the 20-kilometer race walk, while Modris Liepiņš will join Fadejevs in the 50-kilometer event. Fadejevs took home the silver medal in the 50-kilometer race in 2000 in Sydney, while Liepiņš came in ninth.

First-timer Dace Ruskule competes in the women’s discus event.

Ineta Radēviča, who is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has competed successfully in National Collegiate Athletic Association events on behalf of the Huskers, will participate in the triple jump. She and Olympics veteran Valentīna Gotovska also will compete in the long jump. Both are natives of Krāslava.

Ieva Zunda, in her first time in the Olympics, will be in the 400-meter hurdles event.

Dmitrijs Miļkevičs, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate, competes in the 800-meter race. It is his first time in the Olympics.

Jeļena Čelnova-Prokopčuka, a veteran of the 1996 and 2000 games, returns to compete in the 10,000-meter race.

Staņislavs Olijars, who participated in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, competes in the 110-meter hurdles.

Decathalonist Jānis Karlivāns also is a first-timer.

Three men and one woman will compete in the javelin event. The men are Voldemārs Lūsis, Ēriks Rags and Vadims Vasiļevskis. Lūsis earned 18th place and Rags got 26th in the Sydney Olympics. Vasiļevskis is in the Olympics for the first time. The woman apparently will be Inga Kožarenoka, who earned 30th place in 2000.

Most athletics events will take place in the Olympic Stadium, part of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex, and will run from Aug. 20-29.


It is his first time ever in the Olympics for Dagnis Vinogradovs, and he is the only Latvian paddler who made it this time.

Vinogradovs, racing in the 500- and 1,000-meter events, is scheduled to compete Aug. 23-28 at the Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre east of Athens and near Marathon.


The relatively unknown Andris Naudužs joins veteran Romāns Vainšteins to represent Latvia in cycling.

Naudužs did participate in the 2000 games, but did not finish. Vainšteins, who for several years has been a regular on the European cycling circuit, appeared in the 1996 in Atlanta. Both will compete Aug. 14 in the cycling road race through the historic center of Athens.


Two men, veteran Igors Vihrovs and first-timer Jevgeņijs Saproņenko, will represent Latvia in gymnastics events. Vihrovs was the surprise gold medalist in floor exercise during the 2000 games in Sydney.

Artistic gymnastics events take place Aug. 14-23 in the Olympic Indoor Hall, part of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex. Vihrovs and Saproņenko join 96 other men in competition.


Vsevolods Zeļonijs is Latvia’s only entry in the judo competition. In the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, he brought home a bronze medal.

Judo competition will be held Aug. 14-20 in Ano Liossia Olympic Hall in northwest Athens. A total of 386 athletes are expected in the competition.

Modern pentathalon

Deniss Čerkovskis earned 18th place in Sydney and returns as Latvia’s only male competitor in the event. The only woman, Jeļena Rubļevska, earned eighth place in the women’s competition in Sydney and returns now to see if she can do better.

The modern pentathalon involves five different activities—shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and cross-country running—all in the course of a day.

The event will take place Aug. 26-27 in the Goudi Olympic Complex in Athens. Just 64 athletes are competing in the sport.


Vita Matīse, who earned 22nd place in the 2000 games in Sydney, returns to the Olympics to sail in the Mistral class.

Sailing events are scheduled Aug. 14-28 at the Agios Kosmas Olympic Sailing Centre in Attica. Matīse is one of 400 athletes competing.


Fifty-six-year-old Afanasijs Kuzmins is Latvia’s lone gunman in Athens. Among all the Latvian athletes, he has the most Olympic experience, having participated in the Summer Games as far back as 1976. He holds a gold medal from the 1988 games in Seoul and a silver medal from the 1992 games in Barcelona. In the six Olympics in which he has competed, he has never taken less than 10th place.

Shooting competition takes place from Aug. 14-22 in the Markopoulo Olympic Shooting Centre in Athens. A total of 390 men and women will compete in the various shooting events.


Another returning Latvian Olympian is Viktors Ščerbatihs. He earned 10th place in Atlanta and sixth place in Sydney, lifting 452 kilograms in the latter.

Weightlifting competition takes place from Aug. 14-25 in the Nikaia Olympic Weightlifting Hall in the Attica region. Ščerbatihs will be one of 260 athletes competing in the sport.


Greco-roman wrestler Igors Kostins is in the Olympics for the first time.

Wrestling competition will be held Aug. 22-29 in Ano Liossia Olympic Hall in northwest Athens. A total of 344 athletes are expected in the greco-roman and freestyle competitions.

(Editor’s note: Information for this compilation is based on a number of media sources, including the LETA news agency, the newspaper Diena and the Web site of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.)

Ineta Radēviča

Ineta Radēviča, who studied and competed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is among the 32 athletes representing Latvia in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Scott Bruhn, University of Nebraska)

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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