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Movie covering the remarkable lives of Victor Kovalenko, Lijia Xu and Mat Belcher needs your support

by Storm School 18 Apr 19:28 PDT 19 April 2022
470M AUS Mat Belcher AUSMB11 Will Ryan AUSWR2 With `Medalmaker` coach Victor Kovalenko. 2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro © Daniel Forster

Most will be familiar with the success of Ukrainian-born sailing coach Victor Kovalenko, the most successful Olympic sailing coach in Olympic history - known as the "Medal Maker"

And too with double Olympic Gold medalist Mat Belcher (AUS), one of several Kovalenko's protégés, and Lijia Xu, China's first Olympic sailing gold medallist.

Swiss based media production company,, currently has a full length movie (not a documentary) in production, based on the lives of these three outstanding people, and their incredible struggles against adversity to pursue their dreams, overcome multiple obstacles and to become the very best in their chosen disciplines. The company consists of several well-known identies in the sport, including top photographer Daniel Forster.

More than a movie about sport, Storm School is lesson that life is what you make of it and to pass through the storms and challenges encountered on the way to succeed requires passion, determination and vision.

Storm Media is working on a film production about Kovalenko's, and the lives of two other famous Olympic sailors. It is not a documentary, but a full feature movie!

Following the loss of a $2.5million funding line from China, they are sending a donation request to friends, family, all other sailors and people of interest:

We need your help.

As many of you know, I have been working on a sailing movie project for almost 10 years. This is the result so far:

We had hoped to make this movie shooting in Ukraine, China, Australia and the UK, but then we had to cope with the impact of Covid and the current impossibility of working in China. And, now, just as we were preparing to shoot the parts in Ukraine this summer, we have the Russian invasion.

We now have the great opportunity to shoot all the sailing scenes in Weymouth between mid-May and mid-June 2022. The next step will be filming the missing part about Lijia's youth in Greece, where we are able to build-up an additional co-production.

The loss of China as a partner has led to a funding shortfall of US$ 2.5 million and we urgently need to secure more funds to be sure to complete the project.

If you could support us by posting or distributing this request for donation on your social media platforms, sailing platform or personal contacts,

we would be very grateful

Thank you.

Anna Maria and the Storm School production team

About the three movie subjects

Victor Kovalenko - Ukraine/Australia

The "Medal Maker". Born in the Ukraine in 1950. Multiple USSR sailing champion before becoming a coach in 1984. His achievements as a coach include 11 Olympic medals, 7 of them gold, coaching 19 world champions, 13 European champions and winners of numerous regattas worldwide. Australian Head Coach and Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Head Coach in Sailing since 2000. AIS Coach of the Year 2009, 2010. Awarded Order of Australian Medal in 2012. Ambassador of Australian Day in 2013. Member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Inaugural member of the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame in 2017.

Lijia Xu (China)

Born in Shanghai, China in 1987. Laser Radial gold medallist at London 2012, bronze in 2008. Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012. She was born nearly deaf in one ear and nearly blind in one eye. Starting as a swimmer she changed to sailing 1997, with immediate international success in the Optimist. During a routine physical examination before the 2004 Summer Olympics doctors found a giant-cell tumour of the bone near her left knee. They warned that the tumour could spread within months which would necessitate amputation of her leg. She missed the 2004 Olympic before proving her doubters emphatically wrong.

Mathew Belcher (Australia)

Born on the Gold Coast, Australia in 1982. 470 gold medallist at the 2012 Olympics with his former crew Malcom Page having missed out on selection for the previous two Olympics. The latter setback led him to temporarily give up on the sport. Convinced to come back for one more Olympic campaign, the Australian never looked back delivering 17 consecutive knockout victories from November 2011 until January 2014. Won a record five successive World Championships from 2010-2015. Olympic silver medallist in Rio 2016 and gold medallist in Tokyo 2021 (OG 2020). Rolex World Sailor of the Year in 2013.

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