Ivan Skobrev was ready to hear the Russian anthem after winning the men's world all-around speed skating championship Sunday at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, but what he heard instead was something completely foreign.
Music started, then stopped. Then another song played. Skobrev's coach Kosta Poltavets identified them as the Bulgarian and Belarusian anthems.
"Two times, no Russian anthem. I don't know that music," Skobrev said. "Maybe Canadians don't like Russians. I don't know for what reason. Because we beat them in hockey, maybe that's why."
Competition press officer Antonio Faiola said organizers had the Russian anthem, but the wrong music was mistakenly played. He said the Russian anthem would be played at a banquet for the athletes later Sunday.
Skobrev, 28, was smiling after the medal ceremony, but was disappointed not to hear his anthem played.
"I'm happy that I'm a world champion and I don't think it's just right, but maybe tonight at the banquet they'll try to play it again and maybe it will be right," he said.
"There was not too many people at the top. Americans, Russian, Norwegian, the Dutch, (the anthem) is not to hard to find on the Internet and prepare it. I don't think it's right, but I'm not going to say anything bad."
Skobrev won a silver medal in the 10,000 metres and bronze in the 5,000 at last year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.