translated by Zoe Wan based on my Chinese version.
Sorry for my poor English, it’s a bad translation, and this article is toooo long and tooo detailed…anyway I tried, maybe I will replace a better version with my friend’s help few days later…
(check Russian translation here, from a RUS RG forum, big thanks Ev2000!!!
Before this trip, I had been worried, I worried Zhenya’s situation, if she doesn’t perform well I will be very very sad…and besides concerning her competition, I also have expectation in my mind, I hope I can have the chance to meet her in person, can talk with her for few words, and get her autograph, in this case, even Zhenya sent her autographs to me before, but because I prepared a very beautiful mosaic poster, thus I hope eagerly she can sign her name on this poster which I and my friends put many effort on it.
1st day, it’s really tired after sooo long distance flight, two hours Taiwan to HK, then 12 hours+ HK to Zurich, my impression about this voyage (HK to Zurich) is why Russia is sooo big!!! Every time I open my eyes and watch the little LCD screen for the flight information, it always shows we are still in the area of Russia, OMSK, Samara, Nizhny Novogorod, Kazan etc some very familiar names of RG competitions places…and then one hour Zurich to Paris. When I arrived in Paris, I went to Lyon station to take TGV immediately with two heavy bags on my shoulder, dragged a big suitcase, plus took 2 plastic Cylinders in my hands (these are the container of the two mosaic posters). I waited for a while in Lyon station, at first I thought to call home telling my parents I arrived safely, but I couldn’t buy a telephone card in anywhere and with coins always failed (my cell phone can’t make international call)…I didn’t have a lunch only drunk water. Finally my TGV train was coming, it spent around 4 hours arrived Montpellier, I went to my hotel to check in right away. Then, again with two heavy bags on my shoulder, one is full with the gifts that I want to present to Zhenya’s family members and her coach Vera Shtelbaums, took the two plastic Cylinders in my hands, I took taxi to go to the competition arena for the hoop and ball finals. Because I didn’t know when I will meet Zhenya and her mom Svetlana, that’s why I tool all the stuffs. The competition arena is not in the center of the city, it’s one the suburb, about 10 kms from the Montpellier. I didn’t have any rest, I was extremely exhausted, and the little frustration in the beginning made me missed Taiwan just @ 1st day.
When I arrived, the finals didn’t start yet, I went to a building that’s for gymnasts rest by accident. When I went inside, I saw Vera Sesina was there talking with another lady, then I took out that Japanese RG photos album book and asked her an autograph. She is very nice, very tall and sooo beautiful. And I think her English is not bad, her pronunciation sounds good. Then I looked around that place, didn’t see Zhenya, so I went out to wait to go into the competition. When I went inside to the seats, so coincidence, I was just in the area of Russian cheering group. I didn’t see Svetlana at the first, but after for a while I saw her coming, we waved hand to each other, I was happy Svetlana recognized me right away, this is the 1st time we met each other. I was a bit nervous I gave her all the gifts right away, explained to her this is for you, this is for Zhenya’s grandmother and this is for her elder brother Yegor, and all with a card. Then Svetlana gave me a very lovely Matreshka, it’s not like that kind one with different size dolls inside, it’s a tumbler, when it wagged, it will make ding ding dong dong beautiful sound. Afterward, when I arrived in a hotel, I always putted this lovely Matreshka on the table. When I was typing with my notebook, she is like watching me, I felt like she was company with me. She is my mascot.
Then, I took out the gift for Vera Shtelbaums, Svetlana asked me to go up with her, then she introduced me to Shtelbaum’s daughter-Elena, so I gave that gift to Elena. Zhenya’s choreographer Irina Zenovka was there too, Svetlana introduced her for me. I know her very well by reputation. I am in her friends list in fb and vk too. I was very happy I can meet her this time. She seems like a very interesting, lively and outgoing person. Then I sat down with them After a short talking, I asked to take a photo with Svetlana, and then took another one with all the three of them. Then I opened one plastic Cylinder, took out the mosaic poster. Svetlana said this is amazing, this is art! Many Russian girls in the cheering group all came over to look this beautiful poster. Elena and Irina both loved this poster very much too, anyway this mosaic poster amazed everybody. I explained to everyone, this poster were made with some friends, the main image of the mosaic included around 10,000+ Zhenya’s photos, from 2003 till now, you can say this mosaic poster is the epitome of Zhenya’s RG career. Svetlana asked me, is it your idea? I said yes. Elena and Irina really love this poster, they asked Svetlana to ask me if I could give them this poster. I said this one is mine, but I prepared another one, it’s the same, but without any signatures, copyright and slogan. Just I hope to give it to Zhenya by myself. Then I said I putted the mosaic poster original images files in a USB flash drive and had given to Svetlana already. Because besides the gifts I also saved many competitions videos and Zhenya’s HQ photos in the USB flash drives as the gifts for Svetlana and of course also for Zhenya.
The finals started, Zhenya performed well and won two gold medals. Every time she came out I raised the big mosaic poster and screamed with the Russia cheering group Zhenya Zhenya Zhenya, Russia Russia Russia. Davai Davai Davai. Her ball is very very beautiful, very fluid. It’s a pity due to the position of Russia cheering group is a bit high and far away, thus I can’t see her beautiful leotards very clearly. Everybody congratulations Svetlana, I also hugged Svetlana very tightly! I was sooo happy, I felt so close with Svetlana at that meoment. Maybe because it was so hard for me to be here, this hug not only means my happiness for Zhenya and Svetlana, it also comforted my homesickness. And I also could feel Svetlana was really nervous, so when I hugged with her I can feel her pressure was released fully. When we were waiting the award ceremony, Svetlana asked me, do you like Zhenya’s new hoop leotard. I said yes I like it very much. I don’t like the black one so I am very happy Zhenya has a new hoop leo in worlds. And I said I also like the blue one that she wore in the early season. I asked Svetlana, which one is Zhenya’s favorite. Svetlana said basically Zhenya loves them all Then, suddenly Svetlana said, the pink leo in Beijing, they (RUS RG federation) gave to Zhenya, it belongs to Zhenya forever! I am sooo happy to learn this news!!! And said that’s greeeaaat!!! I and some friends always afraid one day that beautiful and meaningful pink leo will be given to another gymnast or sell to other countries. Now I can relieve. Svetlana seems can read my mind hahaha what a coincidence she mentioned this thing forwardly. Another funny thing is the background music of slow motion reply is really weird. I and Svetlana said at the same time with the same words: the music, so strange. We do have the tacit understanding XD.
After today’s finals, Svetlana invited me to have a tea time with them she said maybe we can meet Zhenya. Then of course I was willing to go with them. When we went out, I saw there is a Russian gymnasts’ photos exhibition in the corridor, that’s the photos session of Top Beauty this season. Svetlana said they brought the photos here for exhibition. Russian photographer Oleg Naumov was there too to shoot photos for everybody. And the designer of the project of Top Beauty, a lady, I don’t know her name, she was there too. I touched Oleg’s super big lens and said wow sooo heavy!!! He laughed and said few Russian to me.
Then I with theRussia group went out the arena, I chatted with them, said I come fromTaiwan. Svetlana introduced me to them. Walked for a while, suddenly we went the bus parking area Svetlana said they had to go, what’s my plan. I reply what about the tea time? Svetlana said, because they could not contact with Zhenya. I said then I have to call taxi, because there is no bus after 8 pm, and I can’t use my cell phone. I have the taxi company name card that was given from the staff of my hotel. Fortunately, Svetlana asked her friend to help me, that girl can speak French, and she asked the bus driver to call taxi for me. Therefore I returned to my hotel safely.
Next day, because Zhenya competed on 5pm for qualification, so I didn’t go to watch the 10 am group in a hurry. When I arrived at the entrance, I saw Barny, I said hello to him. He is very nice. I asked him your certificate is no problem? You can take photos now in worlds? He replied he can not, he was just here as an audience. When we went into the lobby of the arena, I asked to take a photo with him. He also took photos for me with Zhenya’s Longines poster. Then I went into the arena, I saw Svetlana and their company were there. Of course I still sat with them. I asked Svetlana, do you open the gift? Do you like it? Svetlana said she likes it very much. And then she asked me there is a wood thing, what’s that. I said that’s a stand. The gift I gave her is a beautiful Chinese fan, and there is a wood stand attached, you can put the fan on it when you don’t use the fan. Later, Svetlana said after competition will try to let me meet with Zhenya, so I don’t need to take the two big posters everyday to be here. I said means Friday? After the AA final? She said yes.
Then the 12 pm group qualification started, I just noticed some fans will wait in the side of kiss and cry area, when gymnasts’ score showed out, then they can asked the autographs. Therefore, after Alina Maksymento finished her routine, I went to kiss and cry area, I was not in the front position. But Alina saw the photo of the Japanese RG photos book, she went to me, kneel down and signed for me first She is very nice. After she signed for me, other people asked autograph but at that moment, it’s her teammate doing routine, so she said moment. Every gymnast always like that they will concern their teammates’ performance. UKR made mistake in arranged the order. Basically the no. 1 in a team will be the last one to compete, like Zhenya, she is always the last one to perform in RUS team. But Alina is the 1st one to compete in URK, because they messed up the order.
In break on noon, I and Svetlana broke up temporary, when I wanted to go out I saw Tom passed by, I was happy to see him, I said hi to him, he kissed me on my cheeks twice. He said he shot very good Zhenya’s chopin fantastic ribbon. Then he said he saw I was with Zhenya’s mom it’s incredible. It’s his 1st time to see Zhenya’s mom. I showed the mosaic poster to him, cause most of the small photos were his photos, he saw it and said: this is art! then he asked me do you see the photos exhibition in the corridor. I said yes, but I don’t like it, I don’t like this kind photos. too much photoshop. He said those are fashion, I said I prefer competitions and training photos taken by him. Then I asked where is your position? He showed me it’s on the opposite side of me, then I asked what about the Japanese female photographer of the RG photos book? He showed me her position too. Then we said good bye. Afterward, I took two photos of those photographers working. In the break time I went out, I met Miteva, her mother and her teammates, they also probably was going out for lunch. I wanted to take out that RG photos book to ask an autograph, but they walked too fast so I could not catch them. Svetlana said to me before, there is a Chinese restaurant, they went to eat yesterday, she said those food all were very spicy. She asked me, Taiwanese food is very spicy too? I said no…and I joked with her Zongzi (Chinese rice dumping) is not spicy XD. Because I sent the photos of Zongzi that my mother cooked before she likes those Zongzi photos very much.
When I was waiting for the 5pm group qualification, I saw Svetlana and her friends came back. They are sitting in a chair for the rest. I asked Irina, Zhenya’s choreographer, what’s Zhenya’s music for her ribbon last year? She answered: tango. I said what’s the music title? She said she doesn’t know. I said is it the movie music. She said it’s not. I guess maybe they just found a melody and think it is good for a routine then used it. Svetlana explained to me normally Irina knows what the music is, but this one they really don’t know. When we went inside, we found the position of RUS cheering group was occupied by others people. At the end they moved down to a better position, more close to the carpet. When we were waiting the competition starts, I showed the wallpaper of my cell phone to Svetlana, Elena and Irina, it’s the photo of Zhenya when she was just 13 years old in Calais, a competition in France. Then Elena started to talk a story, Svetlana translated for me, Elena said Zhenya was sooo small back then, her height was only on her shoulder, went abroad with her for a competition, but the competition is not Calais, it’s CariPrato in Italy. It’s Zhenya’s Chopin Fantastic Ribbon now, every time before Zhenya came out, I always was very nervous, so I always can’t focus on the performance of the previous gymnast of Zhenya. I always watched Zhenya’s preparing. A little mistake in the beginning, she didn’t catch the ribbon stick well, but rest of the routine is very good. I didn’t notice Kondakova’s score, so after Zhenya’s score showed, I asked Svetlana right away Zhenya ranked 1st or 2nd? Svetlana said 1st, I said what’s Kondakova’s score? Svetlana said same, but Zhenya’s execution score is higher, so she ranked 1st. I said congratulations to Svetlana. Today, the mosaic poster still caught many people’s eyes, every time I waved the poster, many people will look at it.
In the bottom half of this group, there are BLR team’s turn. I also concern Staniouta’s situation, I planed to ask an autograph from her after her finished her ribbon. But she dropped at the beginning, I hold my head and made a big sigh, Svetlana asked me immediately did she drop? She didn’t notice it because someone was talking to her, I said yes, then many mistakes continually…Svetlana said poor girl, we both feel sorry for her bad luck this year, injured, had a operation, late start, etc… But Svetlana said she will be fine next year. Because Melitina is so poor, so I didn’t go to ask autograph, I was afraid she was in a bad mood. This group competition ended, I and Svetlana, Elena, Irina said see you tomorrow then left.
When I was in the lobby, I saw Caroline Weber, again I took out that RG photos book and asked an autograph, when she saw her photo she was like wow~~ Then I went to the gymnast rest building, I saw Merkulova was there, outside the building, standing by a shuttle bus. I waited outside to see if I can meet Zhenya or not. Then I saw Alyabyeva. Then Maksymenko and Mazur came out, I wanted to ask an autograph for my friend Hershey, so I went into the building, took out a Alina’s photo that’s I printed before I came here. I said, Alina can you sign for my friend, my friend loves you very much. She said yes, and asked me on front or back of the photo. Because the background of that photo is almost black, and at the first I gave her a black mark pen…I replied front. She was a bit confused didn’t know to sign her name in which position…so I took out anther golden painting pen, that’s I prepared for Zhenya to let her using it to sign on my mosaic poster. Alina saw the pen then said wow gold Then she signed her name seriously. I felt she likes me because when other fans asked her for autograph afterward she said she needs to catch the bus. I kept waiting outside the building then I saw there is someone wearing a blue Russian national uniform going out…I thought vaguely that’s Zhenya…yes! Yes! That’s HER!!! A Russian gentleman stand by me, I knew him last night, he is like Kondakova’s trainer…he also screamed Evgenia!!! I went inside right away, called her name Zhenya! Zhenya saw me and smiled, this is my first time to see her such close, she is sooo pretty, very tall (I can say her height in FIG profile is correct! 170cm ) her face is very small!!! I was very surprised her face is sooo small. I gave the mosaic poster to her, she said thank you with smile. And I asked do you want me to open then you can take a look? At first she said OK, I was very nervous then I said can you sign for me on another poster, she said but Bus is waiting, after competition OK? I asked means Friday? She said yes. So I said good bye to her and then I stepped out and HUGGED her. I am very small, so it’s not easy for me to hug her hahaha. I noticed the team doctor was laughing, Zhenya probably is laughing too…I think she maybe feel a bit shy, embarrassed. Because we knew each other, she knew those things I did for her. But this is the 1st time we met each other. I was very glad she spoke English to me, none a word is Russian. Her English is not that bad (yourself is not good OK…), because some people always said her English is very poor before.
I jumped with joy and walked out of that building. Don’t know why when I saw her not like those little girls or other fans, they will take out camera and shoot her, I didn’t. When I saw other gymnasts my behavior is the same. I can’t explain the reason clearly…maybe I don’t want to in the deep side of my hear, I hope to treat her like a friend. Also there are many photographers there they can make much much better photos than me.
The 4th days’ competition, Zhenya was in 12pm group, and in the very beginning order. So I went to take bus early. Svetlana and her friends still not came, I went to find RUS cheering group and found a seat. There is an old lady in the cheering group, it’s always her to arrange the seat, the position…I knew her yesterday, she had good impression on me. When she asked my name, I didn’t say I am Zoe, I told her my Chinese name. Then she always called my Chinese name. When I just settled down my Italian friend Anita came here, finally I met a friend I knew on internet after these days. I asked her to hold the mosaic poster with me then she asked her French friend sitting on the opposite side to take a photo for us. Since Svetlana still not came, so I went to find another two French friends with Anita. I knew them also because of RG and on internet, Marie and Aude. We met each other finally and had a fun there. Then after a while, a Spanish girl came, there are some friends with her and asked me are you WanWan? I said yes, I asked her why do you know my name. She said she knew me from a Spanish RG forum. I wore ZKG T, I think when she saw it she can recognize me easily. I shared that Japanese RG photos book with those friends, they all love that book, and we talked with delight. Then competition starts, the 10 am group. I sat with Anita, Marie and Aude to cheer for other countries gymnasts. At the end of this group, it’s Chinese team. I screamed loudly with Chinese “加油！！加油！！” (means go go ) my friends followed me to screamed “加油！！加油！！” When the last gymnast Chinese girl Deng Senyue came out, we four girls screamed “加油！！加油！！” very loudly~~~ Every time I screamed with Chinese 加油！many audience will look at me
After this group finished, Svetlana and her friends came in, Svetlana, Elena and Irina waved to me on the opposite side. Then I said to my friends I need to go back to RUS group. When I returned, Svetlana asked me you met with your friends, I said yes, all the friends I knew from internet. Then I tell her, I met Zhenya yesterday and gave the mosaic poster to her already. Svetlana said with surprised you saw her?! I said yes in another building. And I said Zhenya promised she will sign for me after competition. Svetlana said Zhenya will sign for you for sure.! Intense competition started, it’s my most worried routine-clubs, Zhenya is more unstable on clubs this year, and the chorography is very good, very delicate. But she made many mistakes in early season, Even though she is much much better actually she did very well on half of this year, but I was still worried. Zhenya did every element carefully, her routine goes well, and when she finished her clubs almost flawless I jumped out from my seat, waved the poster. When I was with RUS cheering group, it’s interesting they like to scream very loudly when there is catch, toss, jump…etc…in some key points…they are very excited. I thought don’t these voice affect their gymnasts’ concentration? Then I thought a professional gymnast will only focus on her routines. After Zhenya finished her routine there are many fans waiting in the kiss and cry area, I didn’t go there, I thought just wait till the whole individual competitions ended.
Then it’s BLR team’s turn. After Staniouta finished her routine, I went to kiss and cry area, when she saw that RG photos book, again she went to me and signed for me first . Actually, I also wanted Narkevich’s autograph, but I don’t have her photo, and I don’t like asked gymnasts to sign on a ticket, or a paper or a note. Then it’s Charkashyna, there is no her photo in that RG photos book, fortunately in the magazine of Montpellier there is her photo, so I got her autograph too. After this group competition is over, Svetnala and her friends left, they didn’t come back till the finals at night. And in 3 pm group competition, I got Miteva’s autograph too, also the magic book; her reaction just liked other gymnasts, signed for me first. XD
In the night, I still sat with Svetlana, Elena and Irina. I stared the start list, waiting the finals with nervous. Zhenya performed her clubs perfectly, better than qualification. She won another gold medal undoubtedly. I jumped out from my seat again excitedly. This clubs is really great. I prefer this clubs routine more than 2008 ones. The chorography is really delicate, smart and ingenuity. It matches the music better and more fluid. Then it’s ribbon final, I expected my favorite Chopin fantastic ribbon. Such beautiful routine was done by Zhenya perfectly. Now when I listen to the Chopin Fantasie impromptu I will thought Zhenya’s ribbon right away, the music and her ribbon is combined to become one. I thanks Zhenya and her team to create such wonderful ribbon routine. It’s a routine which can stay in your memory forever. <3 I hugged with Svetlana again, and we kissed each other. Svetlana said thanks for my dedication. I was too emotional I could not remember well what else Svetlana talked to me; anyway it’s very sincere words.
After award ceremony, Zhenya and Shtelbaums came up to the auditorium. Svetlana, Elena and Irina all came to meet with them. The photographers were shooting for them. I stand beside and watched them, same I didn’t take photo. Then Svetlana turned around and waved her hand to call me to come over there. I saw Zhenya again very closely. She looked at me with smile we hold each other’s hand and shake. The media was waiting, she had to leave. Then I went to congratulated Shtelbaums, Elena introduced me, we hugged and kissed, she said something to me, I think it’s to thank me. I can feel Vera Efrmovna is a very nice person even we met just in a very short time. I said see you tomorrow with Svetlana, Elena and Irina again, and then I went out and asked a security to call taxi for me. That security is very nice; he called for me then told me to wait the taxi outside of the gate. When I waited there, those Spanish friends saw me and said are you waiting the taxi, I said yes, they said then we can take the taxi together. So we took the taxi together. When we were on the way to the city center, a boy asked me you prefer FC Barcelona or Real Madrid? I said I don’t watch football. They seem a bit disappointed, then I said I love Zidane, so maybe I prefer Real Madrid. They felt disappointed again. Hahaha only a little girl she was very happy. Then the boy asked me do you know Irina Viner? When we were watching competition in the morning, a black short hair girl also asked me this question, her name is Nicole. They wanted Viner’s autograph badly, Nicole said for her Viner is the super star. I guess maybe they thought I have good relationships with RUS team, because they saw I was always with RUS group. I said I don’t know Viner, she was always in the gymnasts’ area, and we can’t approach that area. Taxi arrived my hotel first, Nicole said just go don’t worry about the fee, I THANKS her very MUCH, she warmed my heart again.!!! Today is a perfect day.
The fifth day, Individual AA final, the most important competition of individual. Zhenya had won all apparatus titles, but if she lost AA champion, I will be very sad. She has the chance to repeats her Mie record, and tie with Maria Petrova’s record, won world championships AA title for three consecutive years. After I woke up for a while, I started to feel nervous…the competition starts on 4:30 pm, it’s for group B (ranked 13-24 on qualification), and group A (ranked 1-12 on qualification) starts on 8:00 pm. It’s hard to pass the time, at first I thought since it’s still a long time before the competition, then I can look around the city Montpellier, because all these days I didn’t walk around in this city, I was always in the competition. I can’t calm down I didn’t have the mood for tourism. So I went to the arena just on the noon. When I went into from the gate, I saw my two French friends Marie and Aude were there. They were enjoying their lunch. I said hi to them. Then they asked me is Zhenya friendly, they knew I had met Zhenya. I said yes she is friendly. They said because Zhenya doesn’t speak English at all. I said but Zhenya spoke English to me when we met, none a word is Russian Even we didn’t talk too much, because our mother tongue is different and we are not a close friend in real life. It’s not easy to chat. But anyway, she didn’t speak Russian to me at all. Then I added I can understand maybe she is serious in competition, because she needs to concentrate, and her pressure is heavier than other gymnasts. Then Marie said, Zhenya is learning English right now (This I also read in some interviews) Marie said Zhenya doesn’t speak English in interview is because her English is not good enough, she doesn’t want to make mistakes, occur misunderstanding, and let people thought she is stupid. So Zhenya always speak Russian in interview. I said this is good! Clever girl!!!
Then we went to the entrance to wait, Italian friend Anita arrived too, and those Spanish friends that I met yesterday. A Spanish friend asked me who will be AA champion this year. I said: don’t ask me this question!!! XD. Then she asked do you think Zhenya will retire after London 2012? I said I hope so, because it’s good for her to retire at peak time. That Spanish friend said she doesn’t want Zhenya retires so early, she hope to watch her more years. Finally the entrance opened as usual I went to the RUS cheering group position. Svetlana was not there. I think they won’t come until group A competition starts. I waved a Russian flag for them, it’s to let Russian group members know the position. That Russian old lady appreciated my behavior
Competition started, I was really very nervous, I can’t concentrate on the group B. But when Chinese gymnast Deng Senyue came out I always screamed 加油 for her very loudly. She just had a little drop in clubs, the rest three routine she performed very well. She qualified to the OG 2012, many many congratulatons. Another gymnast that amazed audience is Korean gymnast Son Yeon Jae, she is the most popular gymnast in group B, RUS group love her too, and she didn’t make any mistakes, performed very well.
Then it’s A group time…Svetlana came in, her friends always let her sat next to me, I really appreciated. I talked to her I was very nervous since in the morning, I think she was very nervous too. The competition didn’t start yet she asked me will you come tomorrow? I said I really want to, but the last two days tickets were sold out, I am dying to watch gala, but I don’t have ticket. Later, a friend I met in facebook Catherine came to see me. She is a very good photographer and very good in drawing. This is also the 1st time we met. I showed the mosaic poster to her, because there are also her photos in the poster. She likes it very much. I said I gave Zhenya another piece already. Catherine asked is Zhenya happy? Svetlana replied yes Zhenya’s very happy. I didn’t have the opportunity to let Zhenya see the poster when I gave it to her, but after that day, I sent a message to her in vk. I said I wrote a card and there is a USB flash drive I putted the original mosaic images files in it. I gave the card and the USB flash drive to her mom. Zhenya replied me, thank you very much!!! I am very happy !!!))) Then Catherine took out a drawing, it’s a drawing of Zhenya’s ball 2009, her continued movements. Then Catherine said to Zoe or Svetlana. Svetlana is very kind, she said to Zoe. So I got a gift from Catherine. Then Catherine showed her art works to us, all are gymnasts’ continued movements. It’s very beautiful and amazing. Then another Spanish friend Vane came here to meet me, I also knew her in facebook. I met many friends this time I was very very happy.
Group A competition started, Zhenya is 3rd in the start list. I watched her preparing nervously. Her order is clubs-ribbon-hoop and ball. So her last routine again is ball for three consecutive years in worlds AA final. This order seems like to do more difficult routines first. I didn’t think it’s disadvantage for Zhenya, on the contrary. I thought it’s good to do more difficult routines first when your energy is still invigorating. Zhenya stepped out; I waved the mosaic poster cheering for her very loudly!!! Zhenya finished her clubs perfectly, I jumped out from my seat again and cheering for her!!! Her score is 29.400. Then Kondakova finished her hoop, score 29.450, after 1st rotation Zhenya fall behind to Kondakova a little, I was more nervous…2nd rotation Zhenya’s Chopin fantastic ribbon is sooo good!!! THE BEST Routine in this world championships, such wonderful, beautiful and breathtaking routine!!! I lost my voice already but still screamed loudly to cheer for Zhenya!!! Then I saw my mosaic poster and myself on the big screen . 29.500 very high mark!!! The first two rotations things went well for Zhenya, and Kondakova made serious mistakes on her 2nd routine ball so the gap between them is almost 1.00 But in the last two rotations, the competition started to happen some accidents. Zhenya’s hoop is fine, with a little mistake, her score is 29.200 she still leads but not in a very big gap. Then at the last rotation, performed very well in her first three routines the BUL gymnast Miteva occurred big mistakes, her hoop dropped and when she wanted to catch it, but she almost slipped, then her hoop went out of the carpet she couldn’t help but use the spare hoop. Then as a result, it’s very pity she was out of podium. (I thought Chinese gymnast Deng Sen yue’s words at that moment Deng ever mentioned in the podium training day, the carpet is very slippery, you can skate on it…) Then it’s Zhenya’s last routine ball, I was a bit surprised she wore the black leo. But I didn’t think this black leo didn’t match the music. Maybe she is really tired, she competed for 5 days, Zhenya made a bigger mistake, she didn’t do well in one of her balance. And her chest spin in the end her ball almost to drop, but she think very fast, she just lay down, bend her body to hold the ball and finish the routine beautifully. It’s not a original ending pose, but still very beautiful.!!! Her score showed out, 28.550, it’s the only one routine she didn’t get 29+ . I started to worry; Kondakova has the chance to surpass Zhenya. I thought soon everything will be ended, will it be a happy or sad ending for me. Svetlana stood up and said she needs to leave for a while but she will come back. Then she left with Elena and Irina.
Suddenly, Zhenya came here, She was sooo disappointed when she saw Svetlana was not there, even I didn’t understand Russian at all, I also knew she was asking where is mom? I was very sad to see her painful face. When she showed up of course there were many fans followed her asking for autograph…I felt great pain for her, Zhenya was almost broke down, she needs her mother badly, and there are many fans followed. Poor poor Zhenya…then she sat down on the stair beside me, once again I was very close to her, I felt so so sorry, I could not do anything for her, because the person she needs is her mother. I will never forget this moment. Then a little girl asked her for an autograph, Zhenya said after competition, but at the end she still signed her name for that little girl. Then Zhenya went out to look for her mom. Svetlana came back everybody told her Zhenya was looking for her badly. Finally they met each other, Svetlana hugged Zhenya sat in the side of the auditorium and comforted her. Fortunately the staff blocked them from the fans. Fans can’t bother Zhenya anymore. When Svetlana left I calculated myself how many points Kondakova needs then can win the title, 29.350…Kondakova came out, Her ribbon went smoothly in the beginning, but at the 2nd half of this routine I saw seems her ribbon got a knot for a while, but I am not sure (later I asked some friends they all said yes they also saw the knot). Her score showed up, 29.300 I jumped out very high from my seat. Zhenya did it!!! Zhenya defended her world champion title. Actually I myself could not calm down and still scary, but I was very happy Zhenya won the title. She won 6 gold medals again! And tied Maria Petrova’s record, won AA champion for three consecutive years. I run to watch Zhenya and Svetlana, they went down later, everybody congratulated Zhenya, I also hugged and kissed her and said congratulations to her, she said thank you to me. I can feel she still not calm down, she is a bit tight. Then I and Svetlana hugged and kissed each other. Svetlana said thanks me flying from so far away to support Zhenya, again the very sincere words but I couldn’t write down clearly, anyway I was very moved by her words. Svetlana said, what a day, Zhenya went down to wait for the award ceremony. Svetlana watched Zhenya and said she is exhausted. I said I can image, I can understand. Then Svetlana said she needs to inform Zhenya’s grandmother about the result, I said but it’s very late now in OMSK right? Svetlana said yes, but Zhenya’s grandmother concerns Zhenya very much, she couldn’t sleep. After she sent message to Zhenya’s grandmother, Svetlana said to me, she got a ticket for me for tomorrow competition. She asked me to come to meet them at the entrance around 1:00 pm I was so appreciated!!! I could not say anything!!! Actually, I thought before maybe I can ask her for help, but I couldn’t mention it, it’s too embarrassed. I didn’t expect Svetlana really did this for me in her own initiative. Later she asked a friend to lent me her ticket, it’s a package ticket for whole week competitions, that girl couldn’t come tomorrow, then Svetlana told me after tomorrow’s competition is over then I return the ticket to her. I said yes, thank you very much. Therefore I don’t need to wait them on the entrance. Later I saw a short blonde hair lady was kissing Zhenya, I asked who is that lady? Svetlana said that’s Kondakova’s mother.. After award ceremony, Zhenya and Shtelbaums, Viner, Kondakova, some other coaches were down over there for taking photos, I watched them thought it’s very late now it’s no time for her to sign for me. Svetlana said Zhenya will be here tomorrow for whole day, tomorrow will have the chance. So I said good bye to Svetlana. When I was waiting taxi outside. I saw a Spanish friend, she said she will leave tomorrow, She wated me to leave message for her to Zhenya. Spanish love her and they are happy for Zhenya’s victory. I forward her messages to Zhenya at vk, Zhenya said thanks to me. Then I saw Catherine and Vane, said good bye to them. A dramatic and intense night ended. I return to my hotel, I wait for a while then can fall to sleep.
Next day, because the competition starts on 3 pm, so I was not in a hurry to go out, around noon I went to a Mcdonald, I saw Tom Theobald was there and an Australian friend. I said hi to Tom, later, Tom showed some photos to me. Then we left severally. I went to the bus station, there are more people today. Many French people came to cheer for French group. I still wore ZKG T, with Russian national team coat, usually when people saw that coat, will ask me are you coach? I said no I am not I am just a big fan of Kanaeva. When I arrive the arena, walked into the gate outside, I saw Zhenya was coming out, she wore Russian national team uniform, put her hair down, with some friends was walking to me face to face. I was very happy but still nervous, I came to her, said Hi Zhenya, she saw me and smiled. We hugged. I can feel clearly because the competition is over, her pressure was released fully; she was so relaxed, no more stressed on her like last night. She was so nice, so friendly, seems you can do anything to her hahaha. I can definitely say Zhenya is very friendly. She didn’t make up too much. This is the Zhenya I love most <3 <3 <3 real and nature. She is sooo beautiful without much make up with hair down. I asked her where are you going, she said few Russian and looking to her friend for help, this is the only time she said Russian to me, a girl explained to me they wanted to meet some friends. I didn’t know what to say suddenly. I still took the mosaic poster with me, but since she has something to do, then I don’t want to bother her. I thought later she will sit in the auditorium in the RUS cheering group, I will have many time to be with her. So I said OK, see you later, she said OK bye bye with smile. Later, of course many fans followed her, to ask autograph or take photos with her, many people shot her…she accepted fans request nicely. I still didn’t take out my camera to shoot her. Then I saw a boy was selling tomorrow’s ticket, so I bought it.
I entered to the arena, and still sat with Svetlana. A French girl next to me asked my ZKG T, I replied you know ZKG? She said yes, she visited ZKG sometimes. We chatted happily. Her name is Anne. I showed mosaic poster and the little Zhenya cell phone wallpaper to her. She said it was 2004 the 1st time she saw Zhenya, and she said wow! She is soo good. Then I asked her about Zhenya’s retire question next year. And said I hope so. Anne was surprised my answer and said she don’t want to, she said Zhenya raised RG’s level in these years, she doesn’t want Zhenya to retire so early, she think Zhenya improved every year. I felt Anne having very good knowledge about RG. When Anne knew Zhenya’s mom Svetlana sat next to me, she ask Svetalana to take a picture of her. So luckily I got another photo with Svetlana When competition started I just realized Zhenya can’t come over here, she just can stay in gymnasts’ area, That’s right because if she sat in the auditorium, then she will be bothered by many fans, and she won’t have time to watch the competition. I was a bit regret, I should ask her autograph when I just met her…because fans can’t go to that area, I was wondering when I will have the opportunity to meet her again and ask her to sign on my poster. Tomorrow is the last day, I didn’t want to say it tomorrow, so I talked to Svetlana, I asked her to forward my message to Zhenya, thanks her for everything, for the joy and those touching moment she brings for us. Maybe I can’t see her anymore, I will support her forever. Svetlana replied me immediately why say can’t see her anymore. I answered because it’s very difficult for me to go abroad to watch RG competition. There are rarely RG competitions held in Asia. Svetlana comforted me, never say never, you never know, maybe one day there will be a RG competition held in Taiwan again…I said Taiwan, not a chance, (I thought in my mind sadly at the moment, even there is a RG competition held in Taiwan again one day, probably Zhenya has retired T-T ) Anyway, I was very thankful, Svetlana comforted me with warm words.
The whole group AA competition was a disaster, many many mistakes, Russia had a little drop on 5 balls, Svetlana was very sad, and she said those girls worked sooo hard. I think the cleanest team is Bulgaria. The first half of group AA was over. I asked Svetlana would you watch 2nd half, she said yes, because Italy is there. There were still many mistakes in AA competition, I said is there curse on the carpet or what? Anyway, Italy performed stably, especially their 5 balls, they won the AA title for three consecutive years too. It’s a pity Zhenya’s good friends still can’t win AA title. At that moment the camera showed Zhenya, when she saw her close-up on the screen she laughed with embarrassed, Zhenya was sooo cute.
In the award ceremony, Svetlana said she had to go, I was thinking about Zhenya’s autograph…Svetlana said she couldn’t contact with Zheyna, her cell phone was busy. But she will still be here tomorrow, tomorrow will have the chance. I said how? She only can stay in the gymnasts’ area, but I can’t go there. Svetlana said in the Bus parking area, or somewhere else…she can’t sure where I can meet Zhenya, but I will have the chance. Then suddenly, Svetlana said she won’t go now, she will stay. Then she told me there will be an autograph session later, will let Zhenya sign foe me. I was wondering what kind event of the autograph session. After the award ceremony, we walked out to the corridor. I saw Kondakova and Merkulova were there, many fans asked autographs or took pictures with them. Then Dmitreva came here too, I got 2 Daria’s autograph, of course with that RG photos book. I still didn’t take any photos or ask to take photos with them, Zhenya still didn’t show up. Then Svetlana told me they asked Zhenya to be here on 8 o’clock. Later, Viner was here too, just in front of me, many little children to take a photo with her, I didn’t do anything, because I was thinking of Zhenya. Then finally Zhenya appeared, but she was in the media room not in the corridor. I stood outside and watched Zhenya through the glasses door. Svetlana said with a sigh, I am her mom, and I am not allowed to go inside…Anita, Catherine were here too, outside the media room, and I saw Anne was here too. Longines awarded Zhenya a gift. I think it’s a watch. Then Zhenya signed her name on her top beauty photo. Then Zhenya came to the door and opened the door for me, …I was there in the media room, the only one fan was invited, but not by the organization of course, it’s by Zhenya . I called Anita to come with me. When I went inside, I was totally in a mess, I was very nervous…I asked Zhenya can you take photo with the mosaic poster and me first? She said OK. I opened the plastic Cylinder and took out the poster, asked Zhenya to hold the other side of the poster. A photographer saw the poster and asked what that is? When we get ready, suddenly all the photographers’ camera shot us, this is the first time in my life to see sooo many flash in front of me hahaha. Anita was also with us at that moment. I asked Anita to take photo for me with my own camera, many many thanks to her!!! Then finally I asked Zhenya to sign for me on the poster, she siged her name on the poster seriously and draw a heart under her name. I said can you write down my name? She was willing and wrote down “to Zoe!” then draw a heart under my name too <3. Then I asked her to sign on the cover of the Japanese RG photos album book, and then I took some photos out to ask more autographs, I was really sorry for this, but those photos almost were for my friends, not for me. I said, Zhenya so sorry sooo many…A lady stopped me and said you only could ask one autograph, I replied to her: “She will do for me!!!” with a very serious tongue hahaha I was really in a mess, even dropped some photos on the floor, Zhenya picked the photos for me… anyway she signed on all the photos for me. Then I said thank you very much for everything, and hugged her again, later she said good bye to me with smile. Then someone wanted to interview Zhenya, so Svetlana was invited to be the translator. I heard those questions were not special how do you be involved in RG something like that. Zhenya gave the flower to Svetlana, the flower was given by the organization, she is such a good girl! Then Tom Theobald asked me : “how could you do that!!!? So many girls outside wanted to come in but only you were invited” XD I said I am Svetlana’s friend with laugh. Well how could I explain it clearly just with few words? The relationships between me, Zhenya and Svetlana were build up little by little, it’s not just by accident, by luck. Then I stayed there till the end of the whole event. Zhenya kissed Svetlana and left, she didn’t appear in the corridor at the end.
When I walked out of the media room with Svetlana, Tom passed by us, then I introduced Tom for Svetlana. I said those thousands amazing HQ photos that I gave you all were taken by Tom. Svetlana said thanks to Tom, and Tom replied so you had all the HQ photos with laugh. When we went out of the building, I try to find the hotel name card to ask the security to call taxi for me but couldn’t find it anywhere. I was anxiously Svetlana asked me anything else she can help? I said I can’t find the hotel name card. Suddenly Svetlana gave me a name card, I thought she found it on the ground at the first…She said I kept it, I suddenly realized that card was I gave to her when we met on the 1st night, I gave her the card just to show her where I live. I didn’t know Svetlana kept it all these days!!! I was in a big surprised, with big shocked and with great moved, I was overwhelming by emotion. Svetlana is sooo good hearted person, I am so so happy I can know such a good person like Svetlana!!! <3 <3 <3 The security called taxi for me, and then we walked together to the waiting area, then Svetlana asked me, so are you happy, Zoe? You are famous now. I said the happiest thing for me is Zhenya won the title. Svetlana smile when she heard me said so. I truly thank Zhenya and Svetlana, thank to these two wonderful persons they gave me this honor, I will never forget this wonderful night.
When I returned to my hotel, at first I saw Israel photographer Don Wikingi posted the photo, me, Zhenya and the mosaic poster in his fb. Then Russian photographer Oleg Naumov also uploaded the photos to the RUS RG federation website. Oleg even took a photo that Zhenya was signing on my mosaic poster. It’s so wonderful (L) (L) (L)
The last day, because it’s Sunday, there is much less bus, so I and three other girls we took the taxi to the arena together and shared the fee. When I went inside I still helped to wave the Russian flag. Svetlana, Elena and Irina didn’t come in. Russia won 5 balls gold medal first. Zhenya was sooo happy in the gymnasts’ area she kept waving Russian flag, sooo cute. The group member Natalia Pichuzhkina is her best friend she also is very good friend with other members. At award ceremony, Sevtlana, Elena and Irina finally came in they sang the national anthem of Russia federation and waved Russian flag happily. Then they went out again. But in 3 ribbons+2 hoops, Russia made many mistakes, tangle, dropped and out side of carpet…they seemed broke down after the 1st mistake happened. It’s impossible for them to get on the podium…Zhenya was so sad…At the end Bulgarian group did a cleanest and perfect routine to win the title. They cried in the kiss and cry area, it’s a moved moment, they deserved it! The camera showed Maria Petrova at the same time, so touching…I also hope can meet her this time and to get her autograph. Because there are some her photos in the RG photos book too. But it’s a pity I didn’t meet her. Then I saw Zhenya left with Shtelbaums, I think she was going to prepare gala. Svetlana came in again with a friend she said hi to me and but the seat next to me was taken. So she couldn’t sit with me this time. This year, the gala show was different with before, less RG and more other things…it’s more like circus…tumbling, aerobic, etc…For RG, individual only two French gymnasts and two Russian, Zhenya and Kondakova, plus RUS, BLR and ITA groups. I finally saw Zhenya’s gala live, the same gala she did in EC Minsk, you lost me, although this is not my favorite Zhenya’s gala, I still prefer autumn and the gala in Mie, do your thing. But Zhenya was still very very beautiful. I was so reluctant to see this magic week ended. T-T That Russian old lady came and said good bye with me first. We hugged and kissed, she thumbs up to me. I was very tired when I was watching finals, I dozed off, and this old lady gave me a pat on my shoulder. I was very appreciated this old lady too for her kindness to me. Then Svetlana came to say good bye to me, she wants me to keep writing letter to her and hope me have a good sleep when I return to Taiwan…because I ever told her I slept very little the whole week. I said, thank you and Zhenya very much for everything, I have a good memory. I am bad in speaking, and I am bad to cope with this kind situation. I wanted to say something, but my English is so poor, I couldn’t express my feeling properly at that moment. Afterward I wrote two long thanks letters sending to Svetlana and Zhenya when I return to hotel.
After I farewell with Svetlana, I felt empty, sad and lost…I walked outside of the arena, then I went to the Bus area, I saw Zhenya and RUS group standing by a bus. I was agitated, stepped out a little bit, I called, Zhenya and waved to her, She saw me, waved her hand to me too with simile, then she pointed me happily and said something to Natalia. I guess maybe she told Natalia who I am, I waved to Natalia, but because she doesn’t know me, so she looked a bit confused. Then Zhenya said good bye to me. I don’t know why I didn’t come close to them, I just stood from a distance to say good bye. T-T Maksymenko and her teammates were nearby too, I thought to say something to Alina, but I was wondering don’t know if she remembered me or not, so at the end, I didn’t go further. After all, I am still a shy person, when I returned to my hotel I thought if I asked Zhenya to take a photo with her and the RUS group, I think she won’t reject me. Later, my best friend catts told me in an e-mail, “I don’t think in front of Zhenya you needed to behave like those little-girl fans. Although it will be nice if you could have a picture with the whole team and talk more with Zhenya, you have already been treated very uniquely by Zhenya and Sveta. No normal fan has ever been treated like you. Just imagine: you were in the media room as Zhenya invited you in! I doubt any former champion had ever done it for any fan. Even with not many pictures taken, what is between you and Zhenya is already much deeper than mere pictures. Zhenya remembers you … because she knows you. You are her friend. You should have no regret. No one could have done it better than you.”
This is my very very long and detailed magic week in Montpellier. Not perfect is because Zhenya made mistake in her last routine, but anyway, she deserved this title. I am proud of her. 5 days competition, she had been kept in good shape, except the last routine. Among 12 routines only one didn’t do that well, this is really great. With so much pressure on her, and she still cope with it so well is incredible. I always read some people will say RUS gymnasts having less pressure than other countries, because the judges are tolerance to them. If RUS gymnasts’ pressure is really less than other countries why Kapranova always made silly mistakes, Sesina was not that stable like Zhenya too…not to mention two Daria, they both can’t compare with Zhenya on stability. Zhenya is the target, everyone wants to beat her, at the same time everybody expected her should win everything. Other gymnasts won’t have this kind pressure because they won’t be expected to have to get gold medal every time. But Zhenya is in different situation, everybody don’t want to see it’s always her wining gold, but if she failed, then seems to her is a big defeat.
Sorry, all my impression almost on Zhenya and Svetlana, it’s a very long period competition, I don’t have the habit to write diary. I wrote all these detailed by the memory in my head. Zhenya and Svetlana are my favorite, so the things that I can remember well mostly are all about them. Before this trip, I thought, when I come here I will feel my dream come true, I will be satisfied and feel enough…but through the week to be with them, I thought my feelings/ connection to them is deeper. Svetlana ever wrote to me in a letter before worlds “I hope to see you in Montpellier))) You will be our talisman there )))” I don’t know if I can meet them again in the future or not. I will cherish our relationships forever. Hopefully when they see the mosaic poster, they will remember me sometimes. From the other side of the sea there is a Taiwanese girl wishes them all the best forever. After world championships, I went to Barcelona and stay for few days, one day I had been to Montserrat Mountain. There is a very beautiful church, I lighted two candles, one for Zhenya and her family, one for my family, I hope my good will/ my blessing can cross the seas and reach to Zhenya and her family.
with Love from Taiwan