‘Our Starfish’ Will Leave The World Behind

The Royal Janitor

Chapter New Cold War Heros

by

John Presco

Putin’ s men took Starfish and Victoria to a special prison, where a hologram of the Russian leader introduced our BAD agents to foreign prisoners. One was a giant of a woman that played basketball. Miriam told this forlorn woman that she was an athlete, an amazing hurdler – who has never competed!

“We ran in a grove of trees felled in a windstorm. Ivan competed at Hayward field in Eugene Oregon.”

One of the men behind the mirror got on Google and brought up Victoria Thachuk, a Ukrainian hurdler that will compete at Hayward field, while Russia is banned. Putin’s hologram was fed this information, and his image pointed to a screen. When a video of Viktoriya in a race was played, both our spies gasped.

“They are like sisters – twins! “

“I want a pair of sunglasses – just like that! I must have! I can beat her! She is so beautiful! I must have her! She is my double!”

“The Men Behind The Mirror – and Putin’s Hologram-Double – were shocked. All eyes fell on ‘Her Original Victoria’. to see her reaction. Having concluded a week earlier that Starfish was a Toxic Narcissist, she took it on the chin, with much aplomb. Smiling. our agent said;

“I must have her too. She reminds me of someone!”

Starfish gave her wife the most heart melting smile, and she came and put her arm around her waist. Putin’s hologram already confronted the happy couple with the videos taken in their hotel room.

“It is true. We are Lesbians!”

“But, we are married!”

“Don’t worry. Most of our spies are LGBTQ people. It comes with the territory. We can not be good family folks for the reason we travel allot, and, we have to keep many secrets from our Loved One. We have watched you two closely to see how you lie to one another. So far, one of you told a little white lie, while the other -TOLD A GIANT LIE!

Victoria had to do allot of quick assessing. She was grateful for the Wizard’s Crazy Test, that asks if she and Miriam peed on the stuffed Unicorn, and, wiped their ass on Babe Ruth’s baseball? She understood life was full of Guilt and Shame hurdles. She was not going to take her husband’s inventory – just because she was prompted to. Coming down on the right side of, things, was the international game. Everything else – was pretty obvious. The rules were very pedestrian. Analyzing The Guilt Trip people were on – was the real Job. The Bible has proven this is how – we really are!

“I can take her!”

Team Putin worked the deal where Starfish was the only entry from an Island off Siberia in the Pacific. On the plane for Oregon, Starfish blurted out.

“I’m going to smoke allot of pot at the Country Fair. Will you buy me a new set of drums?”

Victoria was studying the Russian community in Eugene. Her wife wondered if this was the community her parents established on Mount Shasta.

“I want to take some shrooms. I want to try Psilocybin!”

Starfishes wish list took up the whole flight. Viktoriya Tkachuk had activated her mates parallel universe, jag. The movie PI came up mid-Atlantic. Bored with the recitation of her wish-list for the other life, Victoria called her bluff. She was bored.

‘Enough! Let’s hear it. Recite the movie PI backwards!

The plane was full of spies and mikes that listened, in, to what sounded like a Christian talking in tongues.

“I have no way of telling if you are….doing a great and fantastic job! Stop, I want to nap!”

When they went to Hayward Field, our heroes looked down on the practice field. Looking up, our twins beheld each other for the first time.

to be continued

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psilocybin#:~:text=Psilocybin%20is%20a%20tryptamine%20compound,similar%20to%20the%20neurotransmitter%20serotonin.

Viktoriya Tkachuk of Team Ukraine competes in the Women’s 400m… News Photo – Getty Images

Ukrainian athletes savor track and field world championships – The Washington Post

(1) Viktoriya Tkachuk | Facebook

Viktoriya Tkachuk is at Hayward Field.

July 23 at 11:56 PM  · Eugene, OR  · 

Relay 4 to 400 m is when before the start you worry not only for yourself, but also for the team! And that’s adding strength! 🇺🇦

It’s very unfortunate to stay in ninth place, but for today this is our result and we gave our best at this world championship! And every participant didn’t take an easy path to this competition!

And when during the presentation of Ukraine today the whole stadium us loudly supported… this moment gave me goosebumps…

We will be sure to come back stronger and very soon we will go out on the tracks already with new experience and new motivation!

Thank you all for your support and faith in our team! 🇺🇦❤️  · 

May be an image of 1 person

Viktoriya Tkachuk is at Hayward Field.July 21 at 12:34 AM  · Eugene, OR  · I was hoping to write such a post two days later when the finals would take place, but it will be without me! Of course I’m upset not to get the main run of my distance in this championship but I did my best today and it wasn’t good enough!With a time of 54.24 I came in 9th today but according to competition rules I am 10th! The semifinals really turned out to be interesting and difficult!… See more  · 

Viktoriya Tkachuk – Wikipedia

Viktoriya Viktorivna Tkachuk (Ukrainian: Вікторія Вікторівна Ткачук; born 8 November 1994) is a Ukrainian athlete specialising in the 400 metres hurdles.[1] She represented her country at the 2015 World Championships in Athletics in Beijing without advancing from the first round, and at the 2016 Olympics, where she qualified to the semifinals on 15 August 2016. Her personal best in the event is 53.76 seconds set in 2021 in Zürich.

Viktoriya Tkachuk – Photos (facebook.com)

Russians officially out of World Athletics Championships

  • Published: Jul. 08, 2022, 4:33 p.m.
Maria Lasitskene
FILE- In this Aug. 12, 2017 file photo, Russia’s Maria Lasitskene celebrates without a flag after winning the gold medal in the women’s high jump final during the World Athletics Championships in London. Lasitskene, likely to be banned from defending her three straight world titles next month, lashed out at the leaders of the IOC and World Athletics, and expressed sympathy for her Ukrainian competitors in a heartfelt open letter distributed Thursday, June 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)AP

Track and field officials confirmed Friday that Russians will not be allowed to compete at this month’s World Athletics Championships Oregon22 due to the war in Ukraine.

The federation banned Russians from major international events shortly after the country invaded Ukraine in February. At the time, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the unprecedented move appeared “to be the only peaceful way to disrupt and disable Russia’s current intentions and restore peace.”

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The world championships begin next Friday and run through July 24.

World Athletics confirmed the ban in a news release announcing it had cleared an additional 18 Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in international competition, but that the approvals would not apply to worlds.

Those athletes were cleared as part of a protocol in the wake of a doping scandal that has left Russia’s athletics federation under suspension since 2015. At last year’s Olympics, 10 Russians were allowed in the track meet; at the world championships in 2019, 29 Russians competed.

There are now 73 Russian athletes who can compete as neutrals, though their status at major international events is in limbo due to the war.

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Among those athletes is reigning Olympic and world champion high jumper Maria Lasitskene, who has never lost in an international competition. Last month, she blasted the decision in an open letter to Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, which has recommended the Russian ban.

Lasitskene’s top rivals are from Ukraine and she said “I still don’t know what to say to them or how to look into their eyes.”

“They and their friends and relatives are experiencing what no one human being should ever have to feel,” she said.

— The Associated Press

Ukrainians Granted Exemptions To Compete In World Athletics Championships

Viktoriya Tkachuk of Ukraine poses for a teammate with a flag signed by the Ukrainian rock band The Hardkiss as she trains before the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, on July 14.
Viktoriya Tkachuk of Ukraine poses for a teammate with a flag signed by the Ukrainian rock band The Hardkiss as she trains before the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, on July 14.

International anti-doping authorities have granted special exemptions for seven Ukrainians to allow them to compete in the 2022 World Athletics Championships (WCH 22) now under way in the U.S. state of Oregon.

The decision acknowledges complications stemming from Russia’s invasion of their homeland.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced on July 15 that none of the athletes from Ukraine or five of the other six countries deemed high-risk for doping is being excluded.

Belarus is the exception, as its athletes are ineligible due to that country’s involvement and support for Russian forces that invaded neighbor Ukraine in February.

“Thanks to significant improvements in most of their domestic testing programs, those countries categorized as being the highest doping risk to the sport do not have any athletes declared not eligible for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 for failing to meet minimum testing requirements as set out under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules,” the AIU, a governance body, said in a statement.

It contrasted that with the 20 athletes from so-called “Category A” national federations officials consider at highest risk for doping in 2022 who were prevented from competing at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year.

The Category A countries are: Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine, the latter over difficulties stemming from the conflict.

Many Ukrainian athletes who compete on an international level have been training abroad for months.

A main requirement for the current athletics championships involved at least three surprise, out-of-competition doping tests.

The AIU said the Ukrainians couldn’t meet that standard but an exception was appropriate because of the war and “extraordinary efforts from the Ukrainian NADO and federation to arrange testing.”

Russian Community Grows in Eugene

Russian Community Grows in Eugene

Russian Community Grows in Eugene

Story by Emily Wilson

Photos by Luke Hausman

A sudden influx of both native and non-native Russian students is ushering in an all-time high of interest in Russian culture and language at the University of Oregon. The number of students enrolled in Russian and Eastern European (REES) classes, as well as the number offered, has almost doubled since the 1990s. The change may reflect the pride native Russians hold in their culture as well as the larger scale of Russian relations with the rest of the world. Either way, the popularity of Russian is growing, and the University’s REES department is taking advantage of the change.

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“When I first started studying the language in the 1980s, it was extremely popular,” explains Jenifer Presto, REES and Comparative Literature associate professor. “It was sort of like studying the ‘forbidden fruit’ of communism. But after the Soviet Union fell, so did interest in learning Russian.” Now, Presto says, Russian studies are on an upswing as people grow more interested in the former Soviet countries.

Katya Hokanson, REES associate professor and director of the REES Center, says that undoubtedly the University’s REES department reflects this new surge in Russian interest. The number of study abroad options has increased exponentially giving students more changes to study as far away as Irkutsk, Siberia, and Odessa, Ukraine. More and more high-level classes have been added to the REES course listing and, according to REES professor Julia Nemirovskaya, there’s an upsurge of interest and participation in the University’s Russian theater department.

“We get a bigger turn-out each year for the play,” says Nemirovskaya of the bilingual English-Russian play she directs and that the REES department produces each year. “It draws together the local Russian community and it has been a great opportunity for non-native speakers to familiarize themselves with the Russian arts. With each year, I feel more optimistic that we can expand the program and reach out to more people.”

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Hokanson attributes this overall growth in the REES department in large part to the current events of the world. Russian is an in-demand language for government, business, and other professions, and its role as an international player in the world market is growing, even more so with the upcoming Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Native Russians that retain strong links to their roots and community and then come to the University tend to stay involved, Presto adds. Within the REES department, more upper division and native speaker courses are offered each year to accommodate those who are already familiar with the language and culture. In 2009, Russian studies hit an all-time peak with over 2,500 credit hours logged. Comparatively, in 2000 the program recorded just over 1,500 credit hours. Hokanson says there’s also been a steep rise in the number of declared Russian majors, both for non-native and native speakers.

“We continually try and strengthen our program in response to increased enrollment,” she says. “Those who have never taken Russian before have the ability to interact with native speakers in the department and there are so many more opportunities than before to utilize Russian language skills. There are more job demands, more internship abroad options, more everything.”

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Simply put, studying Russia has become a red-hot trend. Native speakers can more easily earn a job with their Russian expertise while other non-Russian speakers simply take up the language wanting in on the global demand.

“In general, I think that because Russia is beginning to open itself up so much more to the West, its culture is beginning to translate over here,” Hokanson says. “All the Soviet countries previously shut off from the rest of the world are more accessible and their cultures are now attracting a wider audience.”

REES graduate student Yulia Kulikova agrees. Now in her second year at the UO, the native Muscovite explains that the globalization of the world attributes to the rising cultural significance of her home. Westerners can now buy luxury property in Moscow, handle business in St. Petersburg, and tour the land as far north as Siberia. And even all the post-Soviet era “stans” (i.e. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, etc) have slowly but surely begun to take note of the West.

“Travel has become so much easier,” Kulikova says. “It used to be so hard to get into the country and getting work visas were impossible to obtain. But now, that’s all changed. People can go back and forth between countries, and this culture exchange has opened up Russia to more opportunities to share our culture to the rest of the world.”

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But beyond the economics of business opportunities and world politics, Nemirovskaya says that the overall Russian mystique adds to the allure of studying Russian. The nineteenth century brought in an unprecedented wave of pride in Russian culture with a surge in writers (think the great Pushkin, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc); composers (Tchaikovsky); ballerinas (Pavlova); and more. This was followed by the twentieth century’s great scientific advances. Nobel Prize winners in medicine, chemistry, and physics, and the great cosmonaut missions into space helped propel Russia to international recognition.

“We have an extremely rich, unparalleled culture,” explains Nemirovskaya of her native homeland. “Even throughout communism and totalitarian regimes, we’ve maintained a culture the whole world has benefited from. Russian scholars are considered some of the finest in the world and our influence in the arts continues to this day.”

Moving from Moscow in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Nemirovskaya explains that although Russian history has been plagued with corruption, communism, and totalitarian regimes, it’s impossible to not have pride for their homeland.

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“We all know the bad history,” she says, waving her hand dismissively. “But we still love our Russia. It’s about having a national pride, a national heritage. We still talk fondly of our home country, even if we have immigrated elsewhere.”

This certain Russian pride has led the local immigrant populations to form strong ties with their heritage. It’s not unusual for children of Russian immigrants to grow up bilingual, seamlessly blending into American life while retaining a very culturally Russian lifestyle at home. According to Nemirovskaya, it’s the norm to make sure that all children can at least read and write with the Cyrillic alphabet (usually local churches offer classes) and speak in Russian with family members.

Within Eugene, the Russian community seems to congregate in the largest numbers at the local Russian-speaking church: St. John Wonderworker Serbian Orthodox Church. The church caters to members of Slavic ancestry by leading annual traditional Russian celebrations and routinely accommodating Russian speakers with different services and activities for those who aren’t fluent in English. And according to Reverend Father David Dubliner, there are about fifty or so families of Eastern European descent involved in his parish.

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And while Dubliner says he doesn’t have exact figures for any rise of Russian speakers coming to Sunday services, he has noted an increased presence of Russians overall involved with the church. He estimates that their attendance has grown to about one-third of the total congregation. It doesn’t hurt that the gospel choir director speaks Russian and that the Russian community itself is a tight-knit one that gathers in large numbers during major religious holidays. Additionally, Nemirovskaya and Kulikova are both active within the church (Nemirovskaya regularly does Russian literature and theater presentations).

“From what I’ve noticed, Oregon has one of the best Russian communities in the states,” Kulikova says. “The church has been great in that it draws together a large number of native speakers and in general, it’s nice to go where there are others who understand your language, your culture.”

Through such ways, the Russian community has assimilated itself into American life while retaining cultural values. However, Presto notes that Westerners  have a muted idea of what Russian culture is, but that the country has more than good vodka, Olympic medals, and cold weather.

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“The culture is so vibrant and interesting that, ultimately, it goes beyond the political and economic fluctuations in the world,” she says. “Everyone’s heard of the great Tolstoy or the great Baryshnikov. There’s this Russian intrigue that compels so many people.”

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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