Savinova awarded R1m by Moscow region | 16.09.2012
Representing more than one region is a hangover from the old Soviet era and Savinova was claimed by three: Moscow, Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk. Shortly after her win over 800m in London, Chelyabinsk claimed her as one of their own and plastered hoardings about their main square with her outsize picture on it. But then Chelyabinski reneged on the offer of prize money provoking Savinova's ire.
Chelyabinsk then partially relented and offered Savinova R500,000 (€12,500) or the same as they were offering anyone who represented the region even if they had won nothing. "If they had said from the beginning that anyone representing three regions would not receive anything there would be no hard feelings," Savinova said at the time.
"But the way it has turned out it is disrespectful."
The Moscow region awarded all 27 medallists and 11 Paralympians prize money ranging from R1m for gold, R700,000 (€17,500) for silver and 500,000 (€12,500) for bronze. "We will support sports schools, sports centres, coaches and teachers of athletes of the Moscow region, regardless of whether they are winter or summer athletes," promised the Moscow regional governor, Sergei Shoigu at the presentation ceremony.
In an earlier interview Savinova explained the background to the payments debacle: "I was born in Chelyabinsk and achieved my initial successes there. I received a salary of 15,000 roubles (€380) and when I won the European indoor title in 2009 I received prize money of 50,000 roubles (€1265). But when I got married I moved to Moscow.
"Most of my support comes from the Sverdlovsk region where I am registered in Nizhny Tagil, not Podolsk. I run for the Sputnik club there. Last year [when she won the world title in Daegu] I was given a flat in Ekaterinburg, the first place I have ever earned with my feet."
According to Savinova the only way she could have qualified for the R1m is if she lived and paid taxes in Chelyabinsk, but she was categorical that had she remained in the region she would never have become Olympic champion.