On Monday, Alex Ovechkin‘s parents spoke to SovSport’s Pavel Lysenkov about their son’s latest donation to charity: 70 bags of hockey equipment to a Moscow Region orphanage.
The conversation was not limited to the donation. Olympic champion Tatyana Ovechkina revealed to Lysenkov that her son was finished a graduate program and will defend a dissertation either “this year or next.”
Um, excuse me? Ovechkin’s getting his PhD in Russia? This is news.
In the above video translated by Igor Kleyner, Ovechkin’s mom says her son “finished a graduate program two years ago. I can’t recall exactly what the name of his thesis is, but the fact is, right now he is preparing to defend his dissertation. He will be defending either this year or next.”
There is absolutely no other information. Tatyana mentions “a university” but does not give a name.
We did some digging to try and understand this news more.
Apparently, the three-time Hart trophy winner graduated from the Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sports, Youth, and Tourism in 2008. In September of that year, the Russian site Newsland says Ovechkin graduated (presumably a bachelor’s or equivalent) and was “thinking” about graduate school at the time.
More from Newsland, translated by Kleyner:
For his thesis, Ovechkin chose the subject “Speed training for high level hockey players at CSKA, Dinamo, and Spartak.” He was noticeably nervous prior to his presentation and even yielded his turn to a few of his peers. But Team Russia’s forward, known for his good sense of humor, remained true to himself even during his defense, as outbursts of laughter could be heard from the presentation room to those waiting for him.
According to the university’s website, graduates include “over 140 Olympic, European and World champions, e.g. Lev Yashin, Irina Rodnina, Valeriy Kharlamov, Svetlana Zhurova, Pavel Bure, Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Dmitry Bulykin, Dmitry Sychev, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Dmitry Nosov and many others.”
Via kp.ru, here’s Ovi holding up his Zachetnaya Knizhka or Book of Credits.
We did some more research. If Ovechkin successfully defends his upcoming dissertation, in Russia he’d be considered a Kandidat — or in English a Candidate of Sciences.
According to Fedor Fedin, this title in Russia is a step right below the highest education title you can receive, Doktor nauk, or translated to English, Doctor. To be a Candidate, Ovechkin would have also done the equivalent of six-plus years of studying at a university.
According to Wikipedia and UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), a Candidate of Sciences “is informally regarded in Russia and many other post-Soviet states as equivalent to PhD obtained in countries in which a PhD is not the highest academic degree.”
So the future Candidate Ovechkin would have an education that would be equivalent in North America to between a Master’s Degree and a PhD. We wouldn’t call Ovechkin a doctor here, but there are some countries where that would be the right title. You can’t make this stuff up.
Regardless, Ovi has always been an honorary doctor of sick goals and big hits in my book so really this is not big news.
Additional reporting by Igor Kleyner and Fedor Fedin.
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