published on 13 Oct., 2008
Originally written in Russian. Translated and edited by KapraFan
Despite many awards and titles, Zhenya is an absolutely open and interesting person. She takes an objective view on her success, which is careful and with humility.
Interview of the Olympic champion is stated as the first person.
On the TRAINER and the SUCCESS RECIPE
– I was introduced to Vera Efremovna Shtelbaums by chance. I was with a school of rhythmic gymnastics when she also worked there (CKK at Blinova?). As things developed, I no longer trained with my original group, but had come under Vera Efremovna. The girls (with her) were more senior as they had already been engaged in training for about two years. Vera Efremovna let me work with her group for one training session. And the next day I was told to attend at the same time. So I stayed in her group.
Then Vera Efremovna began to travel around with Irina Tchaschina for competitions, and we rarely met. I continued my training with Elena Nikolaevna Arais. Very soon afterwards I started taking part in competitions. When I was 11 years old I visited Novogorsk (the training centre where Viner works) for the first time. A year later I was selected to be in the national youth team. For about two years I’d trained in Moscow at the Olympic village, then – in the School of Olympic Reserve.
But it was necessary to grow further. After being in Novogorsk where the senior girls trained, with Vera Efremovna’s arrangement I started to train together with Irina (Tchaschina). All period before the Olympic Games – it was about continuous trainings, not competitions.
The success recipe? It is the trainers, directors, and those people who have helped me and believed in me all the time. They are my mum, grandmother, Vera Efremovna, and many other remarkable people. Without them everything would not have been possible.
On the TURNING-POINT
For the 2007 Europe competition in Baku, there were three participants: I, Оlga (Kapranova) and Vera (Sessina). Alina Kabaeva at that time was recovering from a knee injury. In this tournament I performed just one apparatus – the ribbon – and won "gold". Afterwards I was told to prepare 3 routines for the World Championship. I was very glad, and was already getting ready. But soon I was informed that at the World Championship I again would do only one routine. Certainly, it was sad for me, I was very upset at that time.
I took part in the World championship in Patras, Greece, but all the same (Zhenya said in a negative sense)… When I was promised a lot, changes came and so it turned out to be how it was… For me, it was difficult. But on the other hand, honestly speaking, I was not such a good gymnast who deserved to get the chance to perform all the time. I still needed to grow, and there were other better girls (gymnasts) who deserved more to be selected to go to the Olympic Games and perform. It, perhaps, was the key moment in my career.
My first World championship should have been remembered as an event that we won "gold" as a team. But for me it had turned out to be bitter that my contribution was not significant – I came only fourth (in my routine). I would not want to be in a similar situation again. However, the event had given me a lot of experiences. Thank God, all are history now. If given the opportunity to perform, it is better to do well and get good results for the country. In the past, of course, I dreamt of performing with just one apparatus in the national team, but any sportsman should aim for bigger things.
About the rest
My results didn’t come within a year. I have been training for all my life, from the very childhood. many people think: “She has achieved everything in a year”. In fact, my success is related to the fact that I have been training year in year out. Since I was 6-7 years old there hasn’t been a single occasion that I would go somewhere with my parents to have a rest for two weeks.
Though, I went with a team went to Egypt once. And even then there were 5 days of the rest, and the rest of the time was devoted to training. And in the case of not training for a week – there wasn’t such a thing even in the childhood. I haven’t ever especially thought about a necessity to take a rest. I didn’t cherish particular hopes of a rest with parents already in the childhood.
About new stimuli
What do I aspire to? To performing and enjoying it. Not to thinking about medals, scores, victories, just to performing and delighting everyone: spectators, myself, trainer, to her being happy and pleased with very my training, every my performance. Of course, every sportsman thinks first and foremost about a victory. But I think that it’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is to do what pleases you in life. I want to stay in spectators’ memory by my performances. So that I don’t just go out, do the elements and go away. No, I try to make people enjoy what I show. Let them don’t even remember my name, but to get even at least a little part of the happiness from my performance. I try to please myself and people, and the rest doesn’t matter.
About a selection for the Olympics
At first we were told that those who would win will go to Beijing. It’s an absolutely sporting principle – results serve as a criterion for the selection. Then we were already told that a lot depends on the European championship. I was glad that I was chosen to perform on this tournament, but Vera Sesina was considered number one member in the team, who had won the Grand prix in the beginning of a year and was second after Ukrainian Bessonova on the World championship. But she wasn’t chosen for the competition, because she had lost other starts to me and Olga Kapranova.
I was younger than girls who were striving for getting to the Olympic Games, to the European championship, and was very worried. I managed to calm myself when I started performing. Vera Efremovna helped me a lot as well – she had completely stopped showing that she was nervous. But I know that she’s worried, whereas she tells me before my entrance: “Why would I be afraid – everything is normal”. And it began to help me a lot lately.
In the beginning of a year nobody considered me to go to the Olympics. After the world championship I was told that now it’s not my time, or thereabouts. It was thought that I wouldn’t be in the team for sure, or I would as a reservist. I don’t know how it happened, probably the reason is that I have an excellent trainer, who has endured everything with me. Even when I wasn’t training very well, she was calming me down, was giving me pieces of advice. I’m very grateful to Vera Efremovna Shtelbaums.
I’m not ideal, I have shortcomings too. Of course, I try to make something positive in life, try not to forget, that people made good things to me as well, always thank for it. Generally, one has to be grateful for living in this world, to simply live and enjoy, not doing foolish things. Of course, I make mistakes, see some of them and don’t see others. But people learn from their mistakes.
For example, it happens that my nerves begin to give, I have nervous breakdown during the training. That’s why I tell myself: “I’m not afraid, everything is OK, everything is good, I’ll do everything”. Only a carpet and I exist, there’s nobody else, cold head, warm heart and trainer’s pieces of advice. Even if I myself don’t control my emotions, thankfully, they are not shown on my face.
Note by Zoe Wan(zhenya0402)，Best words of the article:
「What do I aspire to? To performing and enjoying it. Not to thinking about medals, scores, victories, just to performing and delighting everyone: spectators, myself, trainer, to her being happy and pleased with very my training, every my performance. Of course, every sportsman thinks first and foremost about a victory. But I think that it’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is to do what pleases you in life. I want to stay in spectators’ memory by my performances. So that I don’t just go out, do the elements and go away. No, I try to make people enjoy what I show. Let them don’t even remember my name, but to get even at least a little part of the happiness from my performance. I try to please myself and people, and the rest doesn’t matter.」
These words just showed how mature and down-to earth Zhenya is，in such young age (18 years old) can make this comment，Zhenya is really amazing !!!
The Time of Kanaeva
Chinese translation by Zoe WAN (zhenya0402)
我是在很偶然的機緣認識Vera Efremovna Shtelbaums，我在她教授的RG學校上課(CKK at Blinova?). 一段時間後，我不在我原來的班級接受訓練，而去了Vera Efremovna 負責的班級。她帶的女孩們都比我大，因為她們已經接受訓練將近2年的時間。Vera Efremovna 讓我在她的班級上了一節訓練課。然後他們告訴我隔天在同一個時間來上課，所以我就留在她的班級了。
之後Vera Efremovna 開始隨著 Irina Tchachina 外出比賽，我們很少見到面。我繼續跟著 Elena Nikolaevna Arais (Shtelbaums的女兒) 接受訓練。不久之後，我開始參加比賽。11歲的時候我首次去參觀 Novogorsk 訓練中心(Viner待的訓練中心)。一年後我入選青年國家代表隊。之後2年時間，我在Moscow 的奧林匹克村接受訓練，並在奧林匹克保留學校接受教育。
但進一步的成長是必須的。到了成年組女孩訓練的Novogorsk，在Vera Efremovna的安排下，我開始跟Irina Tchanina一起訓練。所有奧運之前的時期，是持續的訓練跟比賽無關。
成功的秘訣? 是教練跟指導者，跟那些幫助我並且始終相信我的人，他們是我的媽媽、奶奶、Vera Efremovna 跟很多其他傑出的人。沒有他們，所有的一切將不可能發生。
2007年在Baku舉辦的歐洲錦標賽，RUS隊的三位參賽者是: 我、Olga(Kapranova) 跟 Vera(Sessina). Alina Kabaeva 當時因為膝蓋受傷正在修養。那次比賽，我只比了一個單項–彩帶，贏了金牌。之後我被告知要為世錦賽準備3個routines，我非常高興而且已經準備好。但很快地，我被知會，再一次地，世錦賽我還是只做一個rouitne。當然，我很難過，當時我非常失望。
我的成績不是一年的時間就突然冒出來的。我人生的所有時光幾乎都花在訓練，從我很小的時候就開始了。很多人認為 “她(指Zhenya) 在短短一年時間就達成了所有的一切”。實際上，我的成功要歸因於我年復一年的訓練。從我6、7歲開始，我從未有機會跟我的父母到某個地方渡假2個禮拜。雖然我曾跟隊伍去希臘休假，即使當時有5天的休息，但其他的時間都是在訓練。一整個禮拜都沒訓練這種事，從我小時候起就沒發生過。我從未格外想過有休息的必要。從小，我就已經不特別期望跟父母一起渡假。
我比其他競爭奧運跟歐錦賽參賽席位的女孩們的年紀都小，我很焦慮。我試著讓自己保持平靜。Vera Efremovna 幫我很多，她完全沒有顯露她的緊張，但我知道她很擔心我。然而她總在我上場前告訴我 ”為什麼我要害怕，保持平常心就好。” 這番話後來對我幫助很大。
年初的時候，沒有人認為我會參加奧運。07年世錦賽後，人家告訴我，我的時間還沒到，或類似的事。大家都認為我不會入選奧運代表隊或只能作為後備選手。我不知道這一切是怎麼發生的，也許是因為我有個很棒的教練，她跟我一起經歷/承受所有的一切。即使當我訓練狀況不是很好的時候，她會安慰我讓我保持平靜，給我建議。我非常感激Vera Efremovna Shtelbaums。
譬如有時在訓練時我會很緊張，我就會告訴自己 “我不害怕，事情會OK的，一切都會順利，我會做好每件事。” 只有我跟體操地毯，沒有其他人，冷靜的頭腦，熱情的心跟教練的忠告。即使有時我控制不住我的情感，但幸好我的臉上並沒有顯露出來。
Note by Zoe Wan(zhenya0402): 這是某俄文雜誌的專訪，去年10月中發行的。很精闢的一篇訪問，訪問以第一人稱撰寫，更能體會被訪者(Zhenya)的真心。全篇訪問佳句不少，通篇最大的亮點就是這段話:
「我的冀望是什麼? 就是表演並且享受其中，不去想獎牌、分數、勝利，就是去表演，然後讓觀眾、我自己、教練，每個人都開心。讓教練為我每一次的訓練跟表現感到高興。當然，每個運動員首先想到的是勝利。但我認為那不是最重要的。最重要的是做自己喜歡高興的事。我希望我的表演能留在觀眾的記憶中。我並不是走出去做動作，然後做完離開。我試著讓觀眾能享受我的表演。讓他們不只是記住我的名字，而且能從我的表演中得到一些快樂。我試著讓自己跟觀眾開心，其他的事沒那麼重要。」這段話可說是 ”金句” 了! 不但經典且令人感動。年紀輕輕18歲 的Zhenya 就能講出這麼成熟睿智的話，她實在很不可思議！