Olympic Champion Evgenia Kanaeva: There are still goals for me to achieve in gymnastics

Originally written in Russian by OKSANA TONKACHEEVA, English text translated and edited by catts
Released on 5 August 2009, at

Since the beginning of this season, the Olympic RG champion Evgenia Kanaeva has been one of the most successful Russian sportswomen. In July, at the University game in Belgrade, she single-handedly won five gold medals – which put our (Russian Federation) national team at the top of the gold medals list. Then, Kanaeva continued to shine at the World Games – which finished not long ago in Taiwan. During her 3-day short break in Moscow, «New News (Íîâûå Èçâåñòèÿ)» talked with the best "artist" in the world.

Q. Zhenya, honestly speaking, I did not expect to meet you in the gymnasium. Is it really impossible even to rest a couple of days?
A. It is true that it is impossible. It has never happened to me that I could lay aside everything else and be disconnected with training, even after the OG. In June there was a break in our season. I went home to Omsk, and had my second-year examinations at the physical culture institute. It might appear to be a different life, but nevertheless it is impossible to be without training. And I, frankly speaking, am not in my best condition yet. I know that if I skip training for a day or two, I will suffer and regret. On the other hand, probably, it is not too bad. It seems to me that hard work does not only apply to sport. If you engage yourselves seriously in any kind of business, it also means that it is necessary to be fully engaged.

Q. Is it nice to be famous?
A. I do not consider myself famous. What am I famous for? On the street I walk around comfortably, as nobody recognize me. It is the same when I am taking the underground train (metro). The only difference is that nowadays there are more interviews.

Q. But you don’t tell everything about yourself in these interviews …
A. I am not capable of explaining myself, which I think is not right. I know exactly this is what I need to learn to do so. Perhaps as time goes by, I will then think differently.

Q. Well, nevertheless, let’s try. In your opinion, what is your strongest quality?
A. Perhaps, purposefulness. I can endure a lot for the sake of what delights me. Many were surprised that I won the OG in my first attempt but, after all, it was due to a lot of hard work we did with Vera Efremovna. At 7.30 am we were already at the gymnasium before the carpet was even laid. Then it was time for the session on choreography, afterward – a light breakfast, a short break, then the second training, lunch, rest, the third training … And this has been the pattern of life for me, even now. However, I consider that it is better to suffer now while there are strength and enthusiasm. Then, for the rest of my life, I will have plenty of other moments to "rest" …

Q. From one prospective, you seem to be a person who does not know tiredness. Tournament after tournament, you won on each occasion …
A. This is an incorrect conception. I can get tired, too – sometimes very much. But I am glad that my life is like this – which I will not exchange it for anything else.

Q. How about as the person with the will of steel? Aren’t you like this?
A. No, certainly not. As any athlete, there are moments I feel like being shattered, crying, wanting to give up … I try not to think that I am the OG champion. There are still goals for me to achieve in gymnastics. For example, I need to work hard to become the absolute World Champion. And in each season there is always something new that happens. Under the new COP it is necessary to do new routines, and the WC now takes place every year. It is not a surprise that hard work is always required.

Q. As a matter of fact, thanks to you the Russian Federation national team has won the University Game and the World Games…
A. Frankly speaking, we together with the trainers did not expect such number of gold medals (nine in two events). It is not because of poor preparation or any hidden concern. It is simply that in our kind of sport the result is always unpredictable. The apparatus can jump out of the hands in any second, and we cannot be sure of any victory. At the University game, for example, my endurance was poor and my physical condition was not at its peak. I did not perform well. I made mistakes, and the judges noticed them. However, the other gymnasts made even more mistakes. July is not the peak of the season, and before the WC in September, there is still time. By the way, I was not aware that my medals had helped the national team to go top at the University game. When I was told about it, of course I was filled with strong emotions.

Q. To some people, victories increase confidence, while for some lay heavy psychological burden …
A. They give me strength. After each success when I come to the gymnasium, I feel that I need to improve more and to train better. I have also gained experience through each tournament and victory. But, sport – including RG, is more than this. When I feel how the spectators react to my performances, the satisfactions remain in me long after I leave the carpet. To some extent, for me having this title ‘OG champion’, helps to motivate me further. After all, the judging authority takes the role of giving the final scores. In this sense I present myself before the judges in a very serious manner by not giving them the slightest opportunity to doubt my ability. The title ‘champion’ drives me to go forward. A year ago, when nobody paid much attention on me, it was easier to step off the carpet.

Q. Will we see you in
any tournaments before the WC?
A. Between 21 and 23 August, we will be at the World Cup competition in Minsk. In 2-weeks time we
will leave for Japan
where the WC will take place. For the rest of this summer we will spend in Croatia. There,
of course, is less exciting … but it depends on how you look at it – there we
can swim in the sea, sail on a boat …


Olympic Champion Evgenia Kanaeva: 體操(RG),還有目標讓我追求
Chinese Translation by Zoe Wan (zhenya0402)

本季一開始, 奧運冠軍Evgenia Kanaeva就一直是俄羅斯最成功的女運動員之一. 七月份, 在Belgrade舉辦的世界大學運動會, 她一人獨得5面金牌, 因為這5面金牌讓俄羅斯在世界大學運動會的金牌榜上排名第一. 之後, 在台灣, 不久前才剛結束的世運會, 她繼續表現耀眼. 趁著她在Moscow短暫的3天休息時間, «New News» 採訪了這位世界上最佳的藝術家/RG選手. (artist)

Q: Zhenya, 老實說, 我沒想到是在體操館跟你做訪談. 真的連休息幾天都不可能嗎?
Zhenya: 是的, 真的不可能. 我從來沒有試過放下所有的事情, 然後完全不訓練, 即始是奧運結束之後也是如此. 6月份是這季的歇賽期, 我回到家鄉OMSK, 準備我在體育學院第二年的考試. 那也許是另一種生活. 但無論如何, 不可能完全不訓練. 而且, 說實話, 我還不在最佳的狀態, 我知道如果我跳過一兩天不訓練, 我就會覺得痛苦跟後悔. 從另一面來說, 或許, 這樣的生活方式也不壞. 對我而言, 刻苦努力不只適用於運動方面. 如果你認真投入任何一種事情, 那也代表你勢必會完全被這事情所佔據.

Q: 成名的感覺很好?
Zhenya: 我不認為自己有名. 我是什麼地方有名? 我可以很舒適地在街上走, 沒有被認出來. 搭地鐵的時候也一樣. 唯一不同的是, 現在比較多訪問.
Q: 但你在這些訪問中都不談論你自己…
Zhenya: 我不知道該怎麼談我自己, 我認為這樣不對. 我清楚知道這是我該去學習的部分. 也許隨著時間, 我的想法會改變.
Q: 嗯, 無論如何, 嘗試看看. 你自己認為你最強的部分(素質)是什麼 (strongest quality)?
Zhenya: 可能是意志堅強(purposefulness)吧. 為了我熱愛的事情, 我可以忍受/承受很多. 很多人很訝異我第一次參加奧運就拿到冠軍. 但, 畢竟, 那是由於我跟我的教練(Shtelbaums)一起做了很多的努力. 早上7點半, 我們已經在體操館, 甚至在體操地毯還沒放上之前. 然後是編舞時間, 之後簡單的早餐, 短暫的休息, 然後第二次的訓練, 午餐, 休息, 第三次的訓練…直到現在, 這一直是我生活的模式, 然而, 我認為年輕時受點苦(經受磨練)是比較好的, 在你有力氣(能力)跟熱情的時候. 然後, 在我人生剩下的時間, 我有很多時間可以”休息”…

Q: 從某方面看, 你似乎是個不知道疲倦的人. 一個比賽接著一個比賽, 你在每個場合都贏…
Zhenya: 這是不正確的看法, 我也會累, 有時候覺得非常疲倦. 但我很高興我的生活是像這樣—我不願意拿這樣的生活跟任何事情交換.

Q: 難道你不是個有鋼鐵般意志的人嗎?
Zhenya: 不, 當然不是. 就像任何一個運動員一樣, 我也會有覺得挫折, 想哭, 想放棄的時候…我試著不去想我是奧運冠軍. RG還有目標讓我去追求, 譬如說, 為了成為世界冠軍我必須更努力 (她是指世錦賽冠軍). 而且每個賽季會有新的事情發生. 在新規則之下, 必須要做新的routines, 還有現在世錦賽是每年都舉辦. 刻苦努力總是必須的, 這不是什麼值得驚訝的事.

Q: 事實上, 感謝你, 俄羅斯國家隊贏了世界大學運動會跟世運會的金牌榜(獎牌榜).
Zhenya: 說實話, 我跟教練們沒有預期這樣的金牌數量 (記者註: 總共9面). 不是因為準備不夠或任何潛在的因素. 是因為在我們這樣的運動, 結果總是很難預料的. 器械可能在任何一刻掉出你的手中. 我們不能保證任何的勝利. 譬如, 在世界大學運動會, 我的耐力很差(俄文字義是”喘不過氣), 而且我的身體狀況不是最佳. 我沒有表現好. 發生失誤, 裁判看到了. 然而, 其他的選手發生更多的失誤. 七月不是這季的顛峰期, 然而到9月的世錦賽之前還有時間. BTW, 我不知道我的金牌幫助俄羅斯贏了世界大學運動會. 當然, 當我被告知這件事時, 我滿懷激動.

Q: 對某些人而言, 勝利可以增加信心, 有些人則會產生沈重的心裡負擔…
Zhenya: 它們會帶給我力量. 每一次的成功後, 當我走進體操館, 我覺得我必須更進步, 更多加訓練. 透過每次的比賽跟勝利, 我也獲得經驗. 但, 運動–包括RG, 不僅於此. 當我感受到觀眾對我表演的反應, 在我離開地毯後, 滿足感會留在我心中很久. 對我而言, 某種程度上, 奧運冠軍的頭銜, 激勵我更進一步. 畢竟, 裁判扮演的是給出最後分數的角色. 在這意義上, 在裁判面前, 我以認真的態度表現我自己, 盡量不給他們絲毫的機會去質疑我的能力. 冠軍的頭銜督促我努力向前. 一年前, 沒有人留意我時, 走上體操毯比賽是比較容易(輕鬆)的.

Q: 世錦賽之前, 還會看到你參加任何比賽嗎?
Zhenya: 8月21-23日, 會參加世界杯Minsk站 (在白俄羅斯的比賽). 2個禮拜後就會去日本參加世錦賽. 夏天的其他時間我們會待在Croatia. (我以前看過報導, 2007年Viner在Croatia買了個地方供俄羅斯選手訓練. 當時就是為了準備世錦賽) 那裡, 當然, 不是什麼特別值得興奮的…但一切在於你怎麼看, 在那裡我們可以在海裡游泳, 乘船航行…

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