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Russian Language Skills Competition

Every spring for the past several years, Binghamton’s Russian language students have taken part in an annual competition held among six upstate New York colleges and universities. Officially, it's the New York Russian Language Skills Competition but we think of it affectionately as our Olympiadochka. Students at the elementary and intermediate levels compete in four events: poetry recitation, speaking about family and plans, reading and writing/grammar. Our students have gained great pleasure from preparing and performing, from traveling or hosting, from mingling with other students of Russian and from taking home participation and award prizes. The excitement of preparation is shared by all of our students, as the entire first-year class works to memorize the poem and hone personal stories along with the contestants.

2015 Olympiada team

2015 Olympiada teamOn Saturday, April 18, the 2015 New York State Undergraduate Spoken Russian Competition was held at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N. Y. Four upstate colleges and universities attended: BU, Vassar College, US Military Academy and Hobart & William Smith. Don Loewen, Marina Zalesski, and Nancy Tittler joined their colleagues as judges, and the following BU students competed: first year – Tatyana Carrillo and Ilana Lipowicz; second year – Hannah Lundeen and Emma Micare. Students competed in poetry recitation, spoken monologue, reading and grammar. First place at the second-year level was awarded to Hannah Lundeen.


2011 Olympiada Team

2011 Olympiada

On Saturday, April 9, 2011, four BU students attended the tenth annual New York Undergraduate Spoken Russian Competition at Union College in Schenectady, accompanied by Profs. Loewen and Tittler. Students from six upstate colleges and universities competed in poetry recitation, speaking, reading and grammar. Binghamton was victorious, claiming:

First-year, First place: Kylie Malyszek and Brian Davis (tie)

First-year, Second place: Claire Lavina

Second-year, First place: Nina DePalma

Congratulations to all! Molodtsy!


 2009 Olympiada Team

2009 Russian Olympiada Team

"The Olympiada provided me with a great opportunity to visit other colleges and meet some really nice people with a common interest. It helped me improve my confidence when it came to speaking Russian to people outside of my classes. There really is nothing else like it out there and I'm really grateful that I had the chance to participate."

-Danielle Hamilton, Russian major, '09


"When the opportunity came up to participate in the Olympiada this year, I was eager to do it. I really enjoyed it last year and it did great things for my Russian communication skills. Being able to practice one on one with your language professor is always a huge privilege; in this case Professor Tittler and Professor Zalesski devote a lot of their time in order to practice with you. I found myself to be a lot more comfortable speaking Russian after the preparation process because I was putting to use what I had learned throughout the year. As for the actual event, it's fun, easy-going, and a great way to meet other students with a passion for Russian! "

- Gabriella Gallus


Zack Praskin and Professor Tittler, 2009

Zack Praskin"During one of the interviews I have been on as a recent college graduate, I was asked, "Please describe one of the happiest days of your life." I sat silently for a moment, rewinding the tape in my head to when I returned to my student apartment with the first-place prize after last spring's New York Russian Language Skills Competition. I remembered putting my music on full volume and dancing around my apartment alone for a full fifteen minutes, reveling in the most meaningful accomplishment of my entire scholastic career."

-Zack Praskin, '09


2004 Olympiada Team

2004 Russian Olympiada

"My experience in participating in Olympiada was a very positive one. Weeks leading up to the event, I was nervous anticipating what kinds of questions I would be asked or how well I would read the passage. However, the day of the event my anxiety subsided and I found all of my preparation paid off. Many of the questions that were asked were things that I knew from Russian class or that I learned in the weeks leading up to Olympiada. I thoroughly enjoyed the competition and it was a nice way to culminate the end my Russian studies."

 - Laura Chaath '12

Last Updated: 1/30/19