Russia native and AGH nurse picked as medical volunteer for Sochi Olympics
When Sochi, Russia, was selected as the site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Andrew Kuznetsoz was overwhelmed with emotion.
“I had tears in my eyes,” said Kuznetsoz, 38, a cardiology nurse at Allegheny General Hospital. “I am Russian, and Sochi is one of the most popular resorts in Russia. I just could not believe it.”
As excited as he then was about the venue, Kuznetsoz never imagined he would attend the Games.
On Monday, he heads to Sochi, a city he has never visited, as one of 600 medical volunteers for the Games. His selection as a volunteer follows months of rigorous study, testing and interviews — and strong competition.
“This is like a dream come true for me,” he said. “It's also a big honor.”
The Sochi Games mark the second time Russia has hosted the Olympics. Kuznetsoz remembers watching on TV the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, which the United States boycotted. He was 5 years old.
“Those games were so exciting,” said Kuznetsoz, a native of Penza, Russia. “I remember everything about them. A lot of people were very disappointed that American athletes were not in them.”
More than 180,000 people applied to serve as volunteers in Sochi; 25,000 were selected. Kuznetsoz's duties will include assisting athletes and visitors with emergency medical care, and translating. He will be stationed in one of the mountain units.
Kuznetsoz will spend 40 days in Sochi — the Games last about two weeks. He spent months taking online classes.
Kuznetsoz took a leave of absence from work and is paying for his airfare. The Olympics provides accommodations and food for volunteers.
He is particularly excited about visiting the Black Sea city: “It is one of the most recognized resorts in Russia, with miles and miles of nice beaches and lots of entertainment sites.”
Kuznetsoz, who lives in Crafton, has worked at Allegheny General since 2005. He came to Pittsburgh in 2002, encouraged by his brother-in-law, Igor Novodran, a former Ukranian national figure skating champion who coaches.
“I came here as a student,” he said. “There was a great demand for nurses, so that's what I studied.”
He's not the only medical professional with ties to Pittsburgh at the Olympics.
Dr. Gloria Beim, an orthopedic surgeon who trained at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will be chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic team. She will oversee three clinics and 77 health care practitioners caring for 235 American athletes.
As a sports medicine fellow at Pitt, Beim was team physician for the school's football, wrestling and gymnastics teams. She comple-ted her sports medicine knee and shoulder fellowship training at UPMC Center for Sports Medicine.
She runs an orthopedic practice in Crested Butte, Colo.
“This is the biggest honor of my life,” said Beim, who has been studying Russian for eight months. She cannot imagine achieving success without her time in Pittsburgh.
“It's the best sports medicine program in the country,” she said. “I saw thousands of patients there. I can't imagine going into private practice without that experience.”
Rick Wills is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police break up customer fights over Air Jordan 11 shoes
- Pittsburgh adjusting to new bicycle lane, ‘stop boxes’
- Environmental teachers glean new ideas from networking
- Icy roads, cold causing school delays, wrecks in Western Pa.
- Second African penguin chick hatches at National Aviary
- Brashear High ‘little libraries’ program rolls out
- Newsmaker: Cindy Marzock
- Pittsburgh fraud case, Uganda-based counterfeiting racket linked
- German firm Nextbike to provide first 500 bikes for Pittsburgh sharing program
- The Exchange offers reward for information that leads to the arrest of person who shot Ross clerk
- Motivation in slaying of Penn Hills couple remains unclear