Article: To surpass Kabaeva, only Kanaeva is capable

This beautiful photo was published originally here:

Article was originally written in Russian by Shulga Nadezhda on 29.09.2009; published on
English text is translated and edited by catts


Since last year she has not lost in any tournament. And in the recent World Championship she has won all six gold medals – having surpassed Alina Kabaeva. Irina Viner believes that her name should be recorded in the Book of Guinness. However, Zhenya herself will not stop going further.

She could not be kept away from the gymnasium

It is impossible to find a day when she is not stretching, practicing and tossing the apparatus. Having returned from Japan to native city Omsk, she has been going to the gymnasium. She first received some physio-treatment (ie. massage). Afterward she started warming up, and then training. The youngsters there watched every movement of the champion with open mouths. Then, it appeared that Zhenya helped correct one girl’s mistakes, and assisted another girl in her routine.

‘Evgenia does not have her own hall or carpet, and therefore she is training with everyone and with everything,’ Kanaeva’s first trainer Elena Arais told "Interlocutor (the new of the magazine/journal)". ‘But since 2002 our RG centre has been given good German carpet. In the early days we rented a small hall in the ‘Ice palace’, where Zhenya’s grandmother waited long hours for the 5-year-old Zhenya in the dark.’

During her childhood the biggest problem was to keep Zhenya away from the gymnasium. During her time as a schoolgirl in the 2nd Grade, she would come for training at 9am and leavet just 5 minutes prior to the beginning of the first school lesson. While other young gymnasts had already left for school for a long time, Kanaeva practiced and practiced in order to master the new elements. It is good that the ‘palace’ was only a short distance away from her school.

‘At age 8 she was the winner of “Supreme Armed forces (possibly the name of an award)”,’ Elena Arais recalled. ‘She was very brave – in the sense that she never abandoned the difficult things from a routine … even if she had not mastered the element before the competitions. When she got nervous, she would calms herself down by thinking that she was not in an important competition but an ordinary regional event.’

The same happened in Beijing. Before her final ribbon routine, Zhenya got nervous when she suddenly realized she was in the Olympic Games. It is thus necessary for her trainer Vera Shtelbaums to joke to her by saying, ‘this is not the Olympic Games, but a home-base practice session’. Kanaeva then laughed, recomposed and won.

State of emergency on the train

Many people may be jealous of Zhenya – a 19-year-old girl – that she has got it all. Due to her victory in Beijing, the President presented her a BMW, the governor of Omsk allocated her an apartment – and she also has an one-room apartment in Moscow, and some time this week she will go with her mum to Paris for a week holiday – a place where she visited herself last year. However, for 19 years this child has gone through so many tests, too many that some other people may not even have that many in their whole lives. At age 8 she had the opportunity to travel by train with reserved seats to take part in competitions in the Omsk region, Volgograd, Samara etc.. In fact, for a group of 15-20 children to travel by plane was simply an expensive luxury. Somehow, while on the train, in the middle of the night the small Zhenya woke up the trainer by saying, ‘Elena Nikolaevna (Arais), please get up!’ It appeared that a young man was confused in the dark and climbed up to Zhenya’s space on the second shelf without noticing there was a child. Gradually he ‘got rid’ of her. Certainly, in the end everything was sorted out but the incident was remembered.

‘Zhenya always was the first to help others,’ her childhood trainer (Arais) said with amazement. ‘We traveled on a train, and she woke me up early in the morning. With her came a more senior girl – by a year or two – whom she held her hands. The "little" Zhenya then told me that the "big" was ill – whether it was a stomach problem or a headache – I do not remember already. By this, it is sure that her sense of responsibility has nothing to do with her age.’

At age 12 Kanaeva was taken away to Moscow. At this age many children still played in a court yard, but she had already lived in the Center of Olympic Preparation. Certainly, there were tutors looking after the youngsters but the situation was not comparable to a family and a home. It was a test of character. Zhenya always found it easy to talk with others as she was so sociable. Everywhere she went she made friends with boys and girls.

The kefir ambassador

She has continually been called to appear on television, but Zhenya refuses and prefers to spend 8-10 hours per day in the gymnasium. Recently she has declined the invitation to participate in ‘The Big Races’ on Channel 1. However, she is open toward doing advertising. Kanaeva is the representative of the well-known Swiss watch firm Longines – previous representatives include Kabaeva and Khorkina, and during the World Championship in Japan Zhenya was asked to become ‘the kefir ambassador’.

‘The fact is that Japan has begun to promote our Russian kefir, and I was simply invited to talk about it and to advertise it,’ Zhenya told "Interlocutor". ‘To the Japanese, our drink has the right taste. But my face does not appear on the kefir’s packaging.’

The Olympic champion also does not refuse unique shows as far as gymnastics is related. It is a pity that in Russia no such show was arranged. As a result, Kanaeva basically performs in front of foreign spectators. For example, after Japan – instead of returning home straight away – she went to South Korea to take part in the gala show.

‘I was part of the most beautiful show, together with sportive gymnasts, acrobats, stuntmen …’ Zhenya said with admiration. ‘For example, there were gymnasts such as Elena Zamolodchikova and Ivan Ivankov. It was very interesting, the hall was packed, and the audience’s reaction was great!

Nevertheless, this year in Russia Zhenya will have the chance to do a performance under a similar setting as there will be a gala concert during the Cup of Russia in Kazan.

In the mean time, Kanaeva is still in the middle of her one-week break in Omsk. It is necessary for her to take time to decorate and equip the apartment which was presented by the governor last year, to get together with friends and other folks, as well as to pass examinations in order to be qualified as a trainer.

‘Certainly, the tutors do come around to check, and they understand how much we train,’ Zhenya said. ‘However, it is not the moment for me to be engaged in serious education because I am not used to receiving ‘a tick’ by not studying properly.’

Having won the Olympic Games at 18 and six gold medals in the World Championship at 19, in terms of records Kanaeva has surpassed the well-known Alina Kabaeva. With such outstanding achievement, the present RG school in Omsk has been promised that a new section for spectators will built into the existing compound. However, although Omsk is proud of being the birthplace of RG champions such as Galima Shugurova, Irina Tchachina and now Zhenya Kanaeva, none of their names has yet been assigned to name any school, street or sporting facility. From Japan Zhenya brought home all 6 gold medals – will one of them somehow be kept in a museum? And earlier on there was an exhibition showing the RG leotards which were worn by some of the most successful students of the Omsk RG school during their competition days. Perhaps, by seeing these leotards, the little girls will be inspired to pursue the joy of being champions!

Zhenya has not lived in Omsk for 7 years, but her grandmother Irina Aleksandrovna – until recently – has never missed any local competitions, and she accurately keeps a record of her granddaughter’s results. Irina Aleksandrovna has already introduced her daughter Svetlana to RG – who had become the ‘Master of Sports’; and now granddaughter Zhenya even has gone a step further than her mum by winning the Olympic Games. So, can the secret of Zhenya Kanaeva’s victories be discovered in her grandmother – who is madly in love with RG?


要超越Kabaeva,只有 Kanaeva有能力做到

Chinese translated by Zoe Wan (zhenya0402)

從去年開始,她-Zhenya 沒輸過任何一場賽事。在最近的世錦賽,她贏了所有個人項目6面金牌- 已經超越 Alina Kabaeva。Irina Viner 認為她的名字應該被寫進金氏世界記錄。然而,Zhenya 她自己不會停止繼續前進。
要發現她一整天沒做伸展,練習跟拋擲器械是不可能的。從日本回到自己的家鄉Omsk後,她持續去體操館。她首先接受了一些物理治療 (例如: 按摩)。之後她開始暖身,然後訓練。年輕的選手們張大嘴吧看著這個冠軍的每個動作。然後似乎看到Zhenya幫忙修正一個女孩的錯誤,之後幫助另一個女孩做她的routine。
Kanaeva的第一個教練Elena Arais(Shtelbaums的女兒) 告訴記者:「Evgenia沒有她自己的練習廳或體操毯,所以她是跟所有人一起訓練一起做每件事。但自從2002年,我們的RG中心獲贈一塊很好的德國體操毯。早期我們在‘Ice palace’ 租了一個廳,在那裡,Zhenya的奶奶(外婆) 總是在黑暗中等著5歲的Zhenya好幾個小時。」
在她童年時期,最大的難題是如何讓Zhenya 離開體操館。小學2年級時,她會在早上9點時來練習,然後在學校第一節課要開始前的5分鐘才離開。然而其他的年輕選手們早就離開去學校很久了。Kanaeva為了要精通新的動作,她一直練一直練,還好‘Ice palace’ 距離她的學校很近。
8歲的時候,她贏了“Supreme Armed forces” (可能是獎項的名字),Elena Arais 回憶,「她非常勇敢–在這一點,她從未放棄在她的Routine做困難的動作。即使在比賽前她還未精通那動作。當她覺得緊張的時候,她會藉由想著自己不是在重大場合比賽而是在比平常的地區賽事來讓自己保持平靜。」
這同樣發生在北京奧運,在她要做最後一個routine-ribbon之前,她感覺很緊張,因為她突然想到自己是在奧運會上。因此她的教練Vera Shtelbaums 開玩笑跟她說:「這不是奧運會,這只是在家鄉的一個練習活動。」 然後 Kanaeva 笑了,再次鎮定下來並且贏了奧運冠軍。
很多人可能會嫉妒 Kanaea–才19歲的女孩,已經擁有一切。因為她在北京的勝利,俄羅斯總統送她一台BMW (notes by zhenya0402,車子她送給媽媽開,因為Zhenya沒時間去考駕照),Omsk地方政府配給她一棟公寓。而她在Moscow有個一個房間的小公寓。而這禮拜她將會跟她媽媽去巴黎度假一星期,去年她一個人去過巴黎 ( 記得早前Shtelbaums 的訪問是說跟S奶奶一起去的)。然而才19歲的年紀,這個孩子已經經歷了很多考驗,這些考驗多到可能有些人一輩子都未必會經歷這麼多。8歲的時候她有機會搭火車去參加Omsk地區的比賽,Volgograd, Samara ..等。實際上,對於15-20人的小孩團體,讓她們搭飛機是太豪華的奢侈。不知何故,在火車上,半夜的時候,小Zhenya把教練叫醒,說:「Elena Nikolaevna (Arais),請起來!」 一個年輕男子在黑暗中迷迷糊糊的爬到了Zhenya在第2層的位子,完全沒注意到有個小女孩。漸漸地,他把Zhenya擠掉了。當然,最後所有的事情得到解決,只是這個突發事件被銘記在心。
「Zhenya總是第一個去幫助別人」她的童年教練(Arais) 以不可思議的語氣說:「我們坐火車旅行,她一大早叫我起床,牽著1個年紀大她1 or 2歲的女孩。然後小Zhenya告訴我:那個年紀大的女孩生病了,不知道是胃有毛病還是頭痛,我已經不記得了。由這件事,可以確定,她的責任感與她的年齡無關。」
12歲的時候,Zhenya被帶去Moscow。在這個年紀,很多小孩還在後院玩耍,但她已經住在奧運預備中心。當然會有輔導員看顧這些年輕選手,但這情況無法跟家裡或家鄉相提並論。這是人格養成的考驗。Zhenya 總是很容易能跟別人交談,她非常和睦。去到任何地方,她就會跟男孩,女孩做朋友。
俄羅斯傳統飲料-Kefir (一種優酪乳) 宣傳大使
她一直持續被邀請上電視,但Zhenya拒絕了,寧願每天在體操館練8-10個小時。最近,她已經拒絕了Channel 1的電視節目‘The Big Races’的邀約。然而她對於廣告的邀約是持開放的態度。Zhenya現在是國際知名的瑞士手錶公司-Logines的代言人-以前的代言人包括Kabaeva 跟 Khorkina,而在日本世錦賽期間,Zhenya被邀請成為俄羅斯傳統飲料-Kefir (一種優酪乳) 的宣傳大使。
「實情是,日本已經開始提倡我們俄羅斯的飲料-Kefir,我只是被邀請去介紹跟促銷Kefir」 Zhenya 告訴記者,「並告訴日本人,我們的飲料有合適的味道,但我的圖像不會出現在Kefir的包裝上。」
這位奧運冠軍也沒有拒絕跟體操有關的特別的Gala活動。很可惜在俄羅斯沒有安排類似的活動。因此,基本上Kanaeva是在外國觀眾面前表演。例如在日本舉行的世錦賽結束後,她沒有直接回國而是去韓國參加一個Gala Show。
「我跟特技體操選手及特技替身一起參與了最美麗的Gala Show…」 Zhenya以讚賞的口氣說。「例如有Elena Zamolodchikova 跟Ivan Ivankov。這活動非常有趣,表演場館爆滿,而且觀眾的反應很棒! 」
不過今年在俄羅斯,Zhenya 將有機會在類似的場合表演。在俄羅斯Kazan舉辦的Cup of Russia將會有個Gala concert的活動。
18歲拿到奧運冠軍,19歲在世錦賽贏得6面金牌,在紀錄上,Kanaeva已經超越知名的Alina Kabaeva。因為她如此傑出的成就,地方政府已經承諾,將在Omsk RG學校的現有場地上加蓋一個新的觀眾區。然而,雖然Omsk是以知名的RG冠軍如: Galima Shugurova, Irina Tchachina 跟現在的 Zhenya Kanaeva的出生地為傲,但迄今沒有任何一個學校或街道或運動設施的名稱以她們中的任何一個人的名字命名。Zhenya從日本帶了6面金牌回家。是否其中的一面會放在博物館展示呢? 早前博物館曾有個Leotard展覽,展示了Omsk RG學校最成功的學生在比賽時穿過的衣服。也許透過這個展覽,可以鼓勵那些小女孩追求成為冠軍的喜悅!
Zhenya不住在Omsk已經7年了,但她的外婆Irina Aleksandrovna-直到現在沒有錯過任何一場本地的RG比賽,且她準確的記錄她孫女每一場比賽的成績。Irina Aleksandrovna已經引領她的女兒Svetlana (Zhenya的媽媽) 進入RG的世界,她還得到‘Master of Sports’的頭銜;而現在外孫女甚至比她媽媽更成功,成為奧運冠軍。所以是否Kanaeva勝利的秘訣可以在她外婆-這位瘋狂熱愛RG的女士身上找到呢?

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