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Lackey Striking Another Blow For Glasnost
Friday, April 6, 2012 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

           
Jim LackeyNext week will find Jim “Chip” Lackey making his third trip to Russia in 10 years, as he will represent the United States in the 25th International Harness Drivers Championship in Moscow.
 
Lackey first made the trip to Russia in 2002 for the competition, and enjoyed the experience so much that he made it his 2003 vacation destination.  He is looking forward to his return trip that will find him participating in a two-day event that will also feature a special celebratory dinner for the Russian training legend Madam Polzunova.
 
“My first trip over there came strictly by chance,” Chip explained.  “The USTA ran something on the website asking who might be interested in going to Russia for an international competition, I sent in my name and a couple of weeks later I’d been chosen.
 
“It’s funny, I don’t have any Russian blood in my immediate family, but I’ve always felt some kind of a connection.  I remember watching the Winter Olympics and being struck by the level of passion I saw with the Russian skaters, and I always rooted for them.  I just had some kind of an affinity for Russia in my gut, even though I’d never been there.”
 
Lackey’s trip in 2002 only increased his fascination, so much so that he returned there on his own the following year for a week.
 
“It was fantastic vacation.  I visited the Cosmonaut Center and saw the Mir Space Station, which had just returned, and also saw a very interesting amateur competition for women.  I also made it a point to spend two days at the famous Trobois training center in Paris, which was unbelievable.  As luck would have it, on the plane over from Moscow, I met an amateur driver who knew everybody and everything at that facility and she gave me a first-class tour.”
 
No one has represented America in the Moscow competition since 2007, but when Lackey saw the posting go up again on the USTA website he was quick to respond.  It should be pointed out that it is Lackey’s responsibility to cover the expenses, but he isn’t giving that a second thought.
 
“I didn’t really think I would be chosen again, but maybe it does have something to do with availability and expenses.  I’m really excited about going back.  I leave on the 12th and return on the 17th, and I’m going to stop in Amsterdam for a day and a half on the way there.”