“My alter ego is now handling administrative offence cases while I am practicing my favourite khuryo chagi in the gym,” Vladislav Larin, Olympic Champion, student of the RUDN University Law Institute

“My alter ego is now handling administrative offence cases while I am practicing my favourite khuryo chagi in the gym,” Vladislav Larin, Olympic Champion, student of the RUDN University Law Institute

He copes (i.e. contends) with two roles: an Olympic champion and a successful lawyer. The former uses a gold medal as an argument, the latter — a brilliant career. How to switch? How to combine sport and study? Vladislav Larin, a student of the RUDN University Institute of Law, 2020 Olympic champion in taekwondo, European champion, world champion, told the Thousands of Stories — One University media project commemorating the RUDN University birthday in an interview.

Why taekwondo?

My parents saw an announcement at school about enrolment in the taekwondo class for children. The decisive factor in favor of the classes, but not in favour of me, as I thought then, was the fact that the son of my mother’s friend also attended them. I went to the first training session reluctantly: I resisted, clung to the door jambs along the way. My parents said: “Go once, if you don’t like it, you’ll quit.” And I liked it. Who knows who would have won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but for that announcement?

How do you manage to combine sport and studies?

It’s hard, very hard. Sport takes up most of the time. I do sport professionally and there is more than one training session a day. It seems that it’s possible to combine sport and studies: you can train for half a day and then study for the other half. But when it comes to practice it’s not that easy. After working at the first training session, you need some time to recover to have enough energy for another one. And if you focus all your energy left on studies you won’t be able to recover and won’t succeed in doing your home assignment in a proper way either. That’s why I leave all the tasks concerning studies for the end of the day. When my physical activity is over, it’s time for the mental one. I come home, get down to projects and written assignments, I study until it’s time to go to bed. It’s much harder to bounce between the two roles — of an athlete and a lawyer when you are to go to a training camp or elsewhere.

Why have you decided to become a lawyer after 19 years in professional sport?

At first, I wanted to get a degree right after school. I decided between international relations and law. I turned my attention to international relations as I am good at learning foreign languages, I have no problems with pronunciation, and I enjoy learning them. As for law, if you know laws of your country in every detail it allows manoevring freely in life. Various offences against citizens often occur because they do not know the laws and their rights. I want to be savvy and build a life knowing that I can stand up for myself and my interests. The balance tilted in the favour of this.

What topic are you going to choose for your master’s thesis? Why is it important?

Now we are deciding on the final theme. We are thinking about what difficulties may arise in the study of a particular issue. It’s important that it should be interesting and useful for me. I want to dive into a topic that has not yet been covered up and down in dozens of other works.

What are your plans for a sports and legal career in the future?

My alter ego is currently handling administrative offence cases while I am practicing my favourite huryo chagi in the gym. It would be interesting to engage, for example, in sports law. Now there are many contradictions regarding both athletes and coaches in the sports field in terms of law. We know examples of anti-doping scandals, including in our country. I want to fight for justice in this matter. But it is still difficult to talk about the future — I don’t know what will happen in a few years and whether I will still be keen on it. It is interesting for me to develop in this area, but I am an active athlete, so I am making plans of new sports victories. There are no two-time world champions and two-time Olympic champions in taekwondo in Russia, so the scope of work until the end of 2024 is planned to be very serious.

How do you see a real lawyer?

Each person should be a professional in their field and love what they do. This is the only way to reach heights. The task of a good lawyer is not to be biased, to protect the rights of people and seek justice. It doesn’t matter which side a lawyer works for everyone is equal before justice. Therefore, you need to be fair and honest in your work, to your colleagues, rivals and yourself.

RUDN University is 62 this year. If RUDN University were a person, what would you give him/her as a present?

Not so long ago, I understood the true meaning of the phrase ‘the best gift is a book.’ As a child, I really did not like to read, but when I developed this skill and fell in love with reading, I realized how good a book is as a gift. That’s why, I would give a book RUDN University would read with pleasure and get a lot of emotions. When a book evokes emotions, even if they’re negative, it’s a good book.

Which ‘quality’ do you appreciate most in RUDN University?

Everything around is changing so rapidly — you only need to have time to learn new things. The knowledge in demand now is changing at the speed of light, not all areas which were relevant 5-10 years ago are of interest to people today. In my opinion, RUDN University is one of those universities which keep up with the times. It provides knowledge that will help graduates make responsible decisions for themselves, their clients, employees, mentees, and maybe for the whole country. These are the things I appreciate and respect RUDN University for!

For reference

In 2021, Vladislav enrolled in the master’s programme in Administrative Law, Administrative Procedure at the RUDN University Institute of Law.

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