Vera Shtelbaums: Zhenya Kanaeva will be an excellent trainer !

Written by Georgii Nastenko on 11.06.2009

This is an interview of Vera Shtelbaums, taken from
Enjoy the read.

(It is originally written in Russian. The English text was translated and edited by catts)

This RG season so far has been highlighted by Evgenia Kanaeva’s complete triumph. Even during the prime of outstanding stars such as Irina Deriugina, Galima Shugurova, Alina Kabaeva and Anna Bessonova, not one of them could claim all 5 gold medals at any major international tournament.

However, despite all her remarkable victories, Zhenya remains a very humble person. She talks very little about her achievements (which seems to be very strange), and is even reluctant to do so. The correspondent of ‘Труда-7’ (the name of the reporting agency) interviewed the personal trainer of Kanaeva – Vera Shtelbaums, who has worked with Zhenya for already 12 years.- about her star student.

Q. Vera Efremovna, recently at the EC your student no longer cried with happiness, as she did before at the OG and EC 2007. Is victory not special to her anymore?
A. We all viewed Zhenya from different prospective. You saw her on TV. I was there at the gymnasium where she completed her victorious performance. As there were a lot going on, I could not tell if there were tears in her eyes! Two years ago Zhenya’s appearance at the EC was unexpected. She was informed in the last minute to replace the injured Alina Kabaeva. Therefore Zhenya shed a few tears with the happiness which had fallen on her – as the champion of Europe. And at the OG there were always emotional moments. Nevertheless, in Beijing Zhenya became the youngest OG champion in history of RG. And thus we have strong hope to go to London-2012. In fact, after her first European victory we have been working a lot on Zhenya’s psychological stability.

Q. RG has always been complicated. You, perhaps, need to be fast and learn the tricks from the circus jugglers.
A. You are partly right. Even about 10 years ago RG experts learned from jugglers. And rules in this aspect have also become complicated. Gymnasts are not only required to hold any apparatus with their hands, but also to perform difficult elements with them. But this does not eliminate the demonstration of flexibility, bodily coordination and estimations for virtuosity. Complication goes in all directions.

Q. What are the differences between the current leader of RG and the stars of the past?
A. It is difficult for me to make comments on all the past champions. I can only objectively compare Zhenya with my other student, friend and Kanaeva’s native folk – Irina Tchachina. Both went through many rounds of selection, starting from the group of gymnasts in Omsk, then at the Russian national level, and finally shone on the international stage. What have helped them are their enormous talent and diligence, as well as their ability to analyse their own experiences and trainers’ remarks. Yet, the other aspects of them separate them apart. Tchachina always has been a person with few words. She could understand and take my words very very quickly, but throughout a training session she could be silent. I even needed to push her to find something to talk about. Zhenya, in contrast, is not the same. From childhood she has tried to discuss with me about every comment I made. She does not just take things as they are, but always discussed in a very delicate way. Her desire to discover the fundamental issues and natural obstinacy are always in good balance.

Q. And why is she called ‘Mother Theresa’?
A. This is a nickname given to her by the parents of younger gymnasts back in Omsk. Zhenya is indeed a very sympathetic and goodhearted person. If it happens that anyone in the RG school sneezes, Zhenya would immediately give out tablets. When she was around 10-12 years old she was already a very independent and judicious person, and she was always very touchingly caring for the young children. In a locker room she was like a parent to help the little children to find their winter boots, coats and hats, and would even help them to put on and calm them down.

Q. Is she likely to become a trainer?
A. If Zhenya will not become a trainer in 10-15 years time, I will simply feel pity. She has proved not only a kind and attentive person, but also a skilful instructor. When we are together in Omsk, Zhenya does not simply morally support the young gymnasts at our school, but also is very capable of making remarks to help them improve on their execution of elements. She can become an excellent trainer.

Q. It is rather surprising for me to read that Zhenya’s father and brother are wrestlers.
A. Many are also surprised, as this does not match well with Zhenya’s graceful figure. But her appearance is similar to her mother, who was also a good gymnast. Therefore, Zhenya should not need to struggle painfully against excessive weight as she inherited good genes. Zhenya’s mother has reached the level of Master of Sports, but did not start a career as trainer. She went to a faculty of foreign language and now works in a tourist agency. But she watches all the competitions in which Zhenya took part, and sometimes gives her very competent remarks.

Q. Does Zhenya experience a paradox in relation to music as a hobby and for work?
A. I am the one who chooses music for her to perform. Zhenya would listen to my selected music attentively. If she rejects my selection, then I will need to search for another. So, as a result, Zhenya basically enjoys music for work. Sometimes it is necessary for a piece of music to be re-edited so that it will then be adjusted to have the right rhythm and musical favouring. So, in other words, music for work is also music as a hobby. The two usually go hand-in-hand. Zhenya is a very musical girl with a wide range of interests. She likes many songs in Russian, English and other languages. However, since 3 years ago the RG rules have set constraints over the presence of the singer’s voice and the lyrics of the songs while the gymnasts perform their routines. And some music – such as hard-rock, heavy metal and so forth – is generally difficult to dance with because the rhythms often change. But Zhenya likes to listen to them. In fact, I have noticed this, that with Russian dancing rhythms – for example a quadrille – Zhenya could find it easier to catch the rhythm and do expressive move than – for example, with the Spanish faster. Nevertheless, we are working to create the needed choreography to go with the music of the opera "Carmen".

Q. During numerous trips, has Zhenya got the chances to see life outside the gymnasiums, airports and hotels?
A. It is possible, but not often. Our personal experience shows that if we really want to take pleasure in sights of this or that country, it is better to go on a tourist trip, not on competitions. For example, the week we spent in Paris has given Zhenya the impressions of a life time.

Our File:

Evgenia Kanaeva was born on 2 April 1990 in Omsk. She has been engaged in RG since 6 years old. She was raised through the national junior RG system and her breakthrough came in 2007, when she was chosen to replace the injured Alina Kabaeva. And in three days time Zhenya took part in her first EC and became victorious. In the summer of 2008 Kanaeva became the OG champion in Beijing. Now, she is the obvious leading gymnast in the RG world.

Vera Shtelbaums is the personal instructor of Evgenia Kanaeva. She is the honoured trainer, and the honoured worker of physical training of the Russian Federation. She was born on 24 April 1937. In 1959 she finished her study at the Institute of Physical Training in Omsk. She has trained more than 40 Masters of Sports on RG, including Zarina Gizikova, Irina Tchachina and other stars at world level.


Zhenya with Shtelbaums and
Elena Arais

Vera Shtelbaums: “Zhenya Kanaeva 能成為非常優秀的教練!

Georgii Nastenko 編寫, 2009年6月11日

Chinese Translation by WanWan (zhenya0402)

本季的RG賽事,至目前為止,焦點集中於Evgenia Kanaeva的完全勝利. 即使像Irina Deriugina、Galima Shugurova、Alina Kabaeva 跟 Anna Bessonova,這樣傑出的RG明星,在她們RG生涯的顛峰時期,也無法在任何重大的國際比賽拿走所有項目的5面金牌。

然而,雖然她有那麼多非凡的勝利,Zhenya依然是個很謙虛的人。她很少談自己的成就 (這看起來似乎有點奇怪),甚至厭惡去談它。‘Труда-7’ 的新聞記者訪問了Kanaeva的個人專屬教練- Vera Shtelbaums,她跟她的明星學生Zhenya已經一起工作12年了。

Q: Vera Efremovna, 最近,在歐錦賽,你的學生已經沒有因勝利而喜極而泣,沒有像她在2007年歐錦賽跟去年北京奧運時那樣。是否勝利對她而言再也不特別了。
A: 我們是以不同的預期心態在看Zhenya。你是在電視上看她,我是在RG比賽現場,在那裡她完成勝利的表演。因為當時還有很多事情持續進行著,所以我沒辦法看出是否她的眼中有淚水。 2年前,Zhenya在歐錦賽的出賽是意想不到的。她在最後一刻才被通知要代替受傷的Alina Kabaeva比賽。所以當她成為Ribbon的歐洲冠軍時,Zhenya流下了喜悅的眼淚。至於在奧運會,總是會有情緒激動的時刻。不管如何,Zhenya成為了RG史上最年輕的OG冠軍 (這裡是不對的,Zhenya是RG史上第2年輕的OG冠軍,最年輕的是Marina Lobatch) 。因此我們強烈希望可以進軍2012奧運。事實上,在她第一個歐錦賽勝利後,我們針對她的心理穩定性下了很大的功夫。

Q: RG總是很繁複地,你可能需要很快速,且需要從馬戲團的魔術師身上學習一些技巧/ 戲法。
A: 你說對了一部份,即使在10年前,RG專家也從魔術師身上學習。而在這方面的規則也變的複雜了。選手不只是要用手握住器械,還得用器械表演困難的動作。但這並不會降低柔韌的展現,身體的協調跟技巧的評價。複雜化是在各方面都體現的。

Q: 目前RG的領先者跟以前的明星有何不同?
A: 對我而言,要去評價過去所有冠軍是很困難的。我只能客觀的比較Zhenya跟我的另一個學生,也是Zhenya的同鄉跟朋友-Irina Tchachina。他們兩個人都通過了好幾輪的遴選,從OMSK的Group成員開始,然後晉升到RUS國家隊的水平。最後,在國際舞台上發光發熱。幫助她們的是她們巨大的天賦跟勤勉,加上她們能分析自己的經驗跟教練的意見。但在其他方面她們兩人很不同。Tchachina是一個話很少的人。她能很快速的了解且消化我所講的話,但整個訓練的過程,她可能會一直保持安靜。我甚至需要去催促她說點什麼。相對而言,Zhenya不是這樣,從孩童時期,她就試著針對我所有的意見跟我討論。她不會照單全收,而總是以一種很細緻方式進行討論。她對於追求事物本質的慾望跟天生固執的個性達到很好的平衡。(這句catts在PM跟我說他沒辦法翻的更好,所以如果看不懂,他已盡力了)

Q: 她為何會被稱呼為‘Mother Theresa’ ?
A: 那是以前OMSK RG學校一些小朋友的家長給她取的小名。Zhenya真的是個富有同情心跟心地善良的人。在RG學校,如果有人打噴嚏,Zhenya會馬上遞給她藥片 (在俄羅斯,什麼小事都要吃藥,這是catts告訴我的,是蘇聯國家的醫療系統就這樣) 。當Zhenya大約10-12歲的時候,她就已經是非常獨立且深思熟慮的人了,她總是很讓人感動的照顧年幼的小孩。在置物間,她就像個家長一樣幫小朋友找她們冬天的靴子、外套跟帽子,甚至會幫她們歸位放好,幫助她們保持平靜。

Q: 她適合當教練嗎?
A: 10-15年後,如果Zhenya沒有成為教練,我會覺得很可惜。她證明她不只是個很親切細心的人,且是個很有技巧的輔導員。當我們一起回OMSK的時候,Zhenya不只是道德上的支持我們RG學校的年輕選手,而且她能提出很有用的意見去幫助那些選手改善她們動作的完成度。她能成為一個很優秀的教練。

Q: 當我知道Zhenya的爸爸跟哥哥是摔角選手時,我很驚訝。
A: 很多人也都感到驚訝,因為這跟Zhenya優雅的外表不合。但她的外表像媽媽,她媽媽也是個很好的RG選手。所以Zhenya不用很痛苦的去跟過重的體重對抗,因為她遺傳了好的基因。Zhenya的媽媽曾拿到’Master of Sports’的頭銜,但她沒有成為教練。她讀的是外語科系,現在在旅遊機構工作。她會看Zhenya所有的比賽,有時還會提出很適當的意見。

Q: Zhenya是否曾體驗過音樂是嗜好or是為了工作這樣的矛盾?
A: 我是幫她選表演音樂的人。Zhenya會很仔細地聽我選的音樂。如果她不喜歡我選的音樂,我就得去找另一首。因此,基本上Zhenya欣賞音樂是因為工作。有時候,必須針對一段音樂重新編曲,以便能調整為更正確的節奏且讓音樂更流暢。所以, 換句話說,聽音樂是因為工作,但同時也可以當作是嗜好。這兩者通常是形影相隨的。Zhenya是個很音樂性的女孩,她聽音樂的範疇非常廣泛。她喜歡很多俄語歌、英文歌還有其他語言的歌。然而3年前,RG的規則修改,RG選手表演成套時,禁止音樂出現歌手的聲音,還有歌詞。而有些音樂如: 搖滾樂、重金屬等等-通常是很難配合這樣的音樂舞蹈,因為這些類型的音樂,旋律常改變。但Zhenya喜歡聽這類音樂。實際上,我留意到,如果是搭配俄羅斯舞蹈的旋律,例如: quadrille 方陣舞,Zhenya很容易就能抓住節奏,她的表現力會比搭配西班牙快節奏音樂(舉例來說)更好。儘管如此,我們仍然在想適當的編舞以配合歌劇’carmen’的音樂。

Q: 經歷過這麼多的旅程,Zhenya有機會看到體操館、機場跟旅館以外的世界嗎?
A: 那是有可能的,但不經常發生。根據我們的個人經驗,如果你想好好體驗欣賞一個國家風景的樂趣,那最好是透過旅遊的行程,而不是透過比賽。例如: 我跟Zhenya在巴黎待的那個禮拜,就讓Zhenya體驗到生活的印象 (去巴黎是去年底的事)。

Our File:

Evgenia Kanaeva 出生於1990年4月2日, OMSK. 她從6歲開始練RG。她是透過俄羅斯國家隊少年組RG系統被培養起來的,而她的轉捩點是在2007年,當時她臨時頂替受傷的Alina Kabaeva參加歐錦賽。3天後Zhenya參加她第一次的歐錦賽並獲得優勝。2008年夏天,Zhenya成為北京奧運冠軍。目前,很顯然的,她是當前RG界的領導者。
Vera Shtelbaums 是Zhenya個人專屬教練,她是個獲得榮譽頭銜的教練,且是俄羅斯體育訓練的榮譽工作者。出生於1937年4月24日。1959年她完成OMSK體育訓練學院的課程。她訓練了超過40個獲得’ Masters of Sports’ 的RG選手,包括Zarina Gizikova, Irina Tchachina跟其他具世界水準的明星。

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