Sergei arrived in Riga in 1980 from Temirtau (Kazakhstan; although he was born in Russia – in a small village near the town of Viks in the then Gorky region, but at the age of 4 he moved with his family to Temirtau). The talented and attractive match manager (later called “Soviet handball D’Artanian”) from Almaty “Dinamo” wanted to be deceived by several top league clubs, including the Moscow MAI – once the first Soviet team to win the EHF Champions Cup (with Jānis Vilsons gate!), Which was one of the strongest in the USSR even then.
However, Sergei and his wife decided to go to Riga. It was decided that the management of “Builder” had not been lazy and had met with Sergei several times, moreover, he already had a family and Riga, where, as in Moscow, he promised an apartment, seemed more sympathetic to Moscow. Then we got to know each other and many years later – already after the end of the player’s career and moving to Norway – Sergei admitted that he would have made the same decision again – he did not regret for a moment that he went to Riga. Sergejs learned quite quickly to understand and then to speak Latvian – nothing complicated, but to understand elementary Latvian he had no problems.
Very soon Sergey became the leader of the “Builder”. He was like that by nature – sometimes maybe even too athletically brazen, but at the same time an attractive player with unusual throws. The audience liked him. Or did not like. But he was certainly not indifferent. Last year, in his last big interview, Sergei admitted that there were only two coaches who allowed him to express himself freely – Andris Gulbis in Riga’s “Builder” and then Yuri Klimov in Moscow MAI. Yes, he joined the MAI team, but before that he had taken the highest place in the history of the team in the USSR championship with “Celtnieks” (6th place in 1982, moreover, after the first round, the Rigans were even second!). He left, after a serious ankle injury, from which MAI helped to recover.
“I am very grateful to the people of Riga who did not hinder my transition to MAI, they acted very human and understanding in that situation, although they themselves fell to the 1st league,” Sergejs once again remembered Riga and Latvia with a good name in the above-mentioned interview. It was with us that he became one of the best players in the USSR Championship.
Sergei Demidov was also a player of the USSR national team, due to illness he dropped out of the national team preparing for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, but in general – Sergei was a freethinker somewhere and the coaches of the national team did not like it. “I did not fit for the USSR team – I did not like to be in the overall rank,” Sergei once admitted. He returned to Riga and helped the “Builder” to return convincingly to the top league, but at that time the outside line with Sergei Demidov as the leader of the match, Arvid Tjarvi (also unfortunately already in his sun) to the left of him and Sergei Stupka – to the right, was one of the most impressive masters history.
Sergei Demidov was one of the first Soviet handball players to go abroad in 1989 – to the “Sandefjord” team in Norway. There he won sympathy and recognition in the first season, became one of the best players, but later was also recognized as the best player. At the end of his career, Sergey was active in the Norwegian handball club with young players – Sergey was a specialist in the Norwegian handball federation in working with young handball players, then he ran the best sports gymnasium in Norway. The Norwegian handball company was shocked to learn of Sergei’s sudden death …
Almost every year Sergejs also came to Riga and a couple of years ago we both found time to meet for a longer conversation (memories). Sergei’s son Vadim played football for the Norwegian national team and the most famous Norwegian club “Rosenborg”, was “Real Sociedad”, Frankfurt “Eintracht” …
Last summer Sergei did not come to Riga. Alarm Covid-19. He was about to come again next summer. Now he will never come again.