Of the three Russian Capitals at World Championships, Dmitry Orlov is certainly the least well known. Evgeny Kuznetsov was a media magnet during his brief KHL career and is on his way to becoming a household name here in the states. Alex Ovechkin’s is one of the most recognized faces among athletes on both sides of the Atlantic. Orlov is not on the same level yet.
But even considering Dima’s relative obscure celebrity status in comparison to his teammates, you would think that a reporter for the largest TV network in Russia, working at a top-level international hockey tournament, would be capable of identifying Orlov, who is, after all, one of only three defensemen already named to Team Russia’s roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.
You would think so, but you would be wrong.
Alexander Lidogoster, a journalist from Pervy Kanal (Channel One Russia) – the network dominating Russian and Soviet airwaves for almost 80 years – was on a rink-side assignment for the Russia vs Sweden matchup in the preliminary round. During the second intermission, Lidogoster wanted to speak to Roman Lyubimov, who just scored the fourth goal for Team Russia to pretty much ice the game.
Unfortunately for Alexander, and to the delight of the rest of the hockey world, he unknowingly grabbed Dmitry Orlov.
“Roman Lyubimov has agreed to share his impressions…” Lidogoster says as he begins the interview.
Not missing a beat and clearly sensing a chance to get away from the clueless guy holding a microphone, Dima deadpans, “I am not Roman Lyubimov,” and tries to walk off.
Lidogoster, however, is not ready to give up, attempting to compensate for his lack of basic competency with a large dose of chutzpah.
“The fourth goal that you scored, it was so much like the Soviet team used to score!”
At this point it becomes clear that the reporter is not going to give up on his target. He is asking Orlov to talk about the goal he scored… even though the goal was definitely scored by Lyubimov.
This is Roman Lyubimov.
Being a nice guy, Dima plays along and produces a couple of canned sentences about the goal ‘he scored,’ and answers a few followup questions.
The case of mistaken identity quickly goes viral in Russia, as the blogging community and the social media explodes with unflattering opinions on Lidogoster’s professionalism.
Even Dima’s teammates jump on the teasing bandwagon, and the next day they repeatedly refer to Orlov as “Roman Lyubimov” during media availability.
When asked about the incident, Dima gave the reporter a pass. “I understand,” Orlov said graciously. “We got mixed up.”
As to why he accepted the role of Lyubimov, Orly said, “because I knew it was live TV, the whole country is watching, I didn’t want to make it any worse. What for? It was obvious the guy made a mistake.”
The story didn’t end well for the unfortunate TV guy, as he was reportedly dropped from the Channel One’s tournament team as well the network’s Euro 2016 coverage.
(Hey, remember that time, when Pierre thought he was talking to Jeff Blashill?)
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