Heavyweight Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov competed at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China and despite an injury that prevented him from competing in the finals he won the Bronze medal.
Currently in training camp for his March 15th battle on NBCSN Fight Night against Tomasz Adamek, Czar watched last night's closing ceremonies in Sochi (which is not far from his native Ukraine). He reminisced about his own Olympic experiences in 2008.
Q: How did it feel to proudly represent your country at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China and earn yourself the Bronze medal?
VG: It was a huge win for me and the transition to professional boxing. It was a great motivational moment in my career. It was my dream to represent my country in the Olympics and now I have a dream to take the championship belt.
Q: How does it feel to stand on the podium?
VG: I had a feeling of great happiness but I was also saddened by the injury to my hand that stopped me from going further.
Q: What is it like to represent your country?
VG: I had a deep feeling of patriotism. It was an honor and I feel great pride to wear our nation's colors.
Q: How much pressure did you feel? Did that make it easier or harder for you
VG: I felt a lot of pressure but I learned how to stabilize and balance the pressure to ensure best results.
What is it like to live in Olympic Village?
VG: It was a great experience. Everything was at the top level. Inside the village everything is set up to provide athletes with the best accommodations for them to succeed. The best thing about the village is that it is an opportunity to meet athletes from all over the world and sports starts such as Kobe Bryant and many others.
Q: Did you meet anyone there with whom you have remained friends?
VG: Yes of course. I met Andrei Kirilenko the basketball player and Elena Esonbayeva. Also Sergey Bubko and other legends of the sport.
Q: How did it feel to participate in the opening and closing ceremonies?
VG: It was over the top emotions a great and amazing feeling. It was the greatest spectacle I have ever seen.
Q: As you know the closing ceremonies for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics was last night, did you follow the Olympics this year and if so, how do you feel about your native country of the Ukraine's performance.
VG: I am very happy for my country especially in such hard times.
Q: You earned a gold medal in 2004 at the first ever World University Boxing Championships, held in Antalya, Turkey. Over 120 boxers from 27 different countries participated in this tournament, how does this accomplishment compare to being awarded the Bronze medal just 4 years later at the 2008 Olympic Games?
VG: In 2004, the win was my first great accomplishment and it was the first step in the final push to the bigger fights, a higher level of competition and a step closer to my 2008 Olympic medal.
Q: At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, you were forced to pull out your semi-finals match-up with Zhang Zhilei due to a shoulder injury. You were awarded the Bronze medal and Zhilei would be awarded the Silver medal, do you ever think about how that match-up would have played out if you were not forced to withdraw from the bout?
VG: I beat him twice already before the Olympics. If not for the injury I strongly believe that I would have beat him again.
Q: What was your favorite thing and least favorite thing about the Olympics?
VG: My most favorite thing about the Olympics was winning my medal and the organization of this mega-sporting event. My least favorite thing about the Olympics was the huge pressure and responsibility and of course the injury to my hand.
Q: Did you have a lot of friends/family that travelled with you to the Games to support you? What was that like for you?
VG: My father came to support me as well as the president of the boxing federation and of course my dear wife. It made me feel good and warm to have someone in the stands to root for me.
Q: How did your Olympic experience prepare you for professional boxing?
VG: At the Olympics I got a lot of experience and knowledge: I learned how to handle pressure and responsibility, how to train tough and boxing skills from other great boxers.