Original link: http://www.womenofrussia.org/character.aspx?Id=44
Correspondent Marina Anikeeva
English translation: Alyona
Regardless of her young age Evgenia Kanaeva has already reached a lot – by the age of nineteen she has won many competitions of different levels. Master of sports of International Level, the winner of European and World Championships, Olympic Champion… But sport is not only about success and fame, for Evgenia rhythmic gymnastics is a way to perceive herself, to overcome her own weaknesses, and simply a big love.
Happy childhood in gym
– Your parents are sportsmen. In particular, your mom is a Master of Sports in Rhythmic Gymnastics. Most obviously, you follow her steps?
– I wouldn’t say so. I joined RG by chance. I was pretty plump and clubfooted. And one day my granny, who devoted much attention to me, decided to bring me to RG School in order to make me slimmer and to correct my feet. No one thought about high results that time. The aim was purely esthetic. At first I was trained by a young coach, the student of famous Vera Shtelbaums. Vera Shtelbaums was in Moscow then, training Irina Tchashina. But I had luck and pretty soon she became my personal coach. I think that since that day the luck was on my side. I believe that every athlete dreams of being trained by such a professional as Vera Shtelbaums. And even now I feel happy about working with her every day.
– Does it mean that Vera Shtelbaums say the bents of a great gymnast in that plump little girl?
– Oh, no! At first I was practicing in a usual group, and then by a mistake, I came to the training given by Vera Shtelbaums. And I stayed there.
– How did the love for gymnastics appear?
– It has come at once. I liked to watch other gymnasts when they practiced some interesting things on the carpet. Even when I was very little, about six years old, I liked to spend all the time in gym. And I want to thank the coaches who devoted much of their attention to us, young gymnasts. I can say that I lived in gym, I used to stay there till late evening and my granny had to take me home by force. We would come home and she would say, “Now, Zhenya, show me what you’ve learned today?” And I would do all I had learned on our 28 square meters. I had happy childhood. I think that those trainings have laid the foundation of everything. Probably, of my character as well.
– What do you feel before the performance?
– It’s hard to explain what I feel on the carpet. Before entering the carpet I hear the sound of my heart – tuck-tuck; tuck-tuck! Of course I have some fear and excitement. But as soon as I enter the carpet, all the fears disappear. Probably it happens because my coach makes me work out a lot: do it, do it, do it.
“I follow the example of young gymnasts”
– Sportsmen are courageous and purposeful people. Do you ever feel the desire to stop everything in times when you are tired of the need to be strong?
– Of course every athlete experiences emotional break-downs from time to time… I am just like everyone, sometimes I get frustrated because it seems to me that I am a complete botcher and I cannot do and won’t ever be able to do some things. At these moments my coach saves me. She comforts me, says something about white and black periods of life. She says that no one can do everything at once… I listen to her and calm down, and then I return to working mood.
– And how do emotional break-downs of the world’s first gymnast look like? Do you fling everything around?
– Oh, no! I seldom fling things. It is all inside me – I feel exhausted and I seethe.
– The Head Coach of the Russia National Team Irina Viner has spoken rather flatteringly about you. Once she has said that “God gave this girl a lot of modesty and diligence and now she is above everyone!” Do you feel yourself being on the top?
– I don’t want to feel it. It’s very easy to feel yourself the great and only one. But as soon as you let these thought into your heart, everything will come to its end. Moreover, I take as an example every young gymnast, because every of us have our own strong sides. I watch them and correct myself.
– What do you correct?
– First of all, I fight with my excessive self-criticism. I am overly self-critical, and very often it prevents me from going forward. And secondly, I try to strengthen my will-power.
– And how do you do that?
– Well, for example, during the training I feel that every muscle hurts, that all my body becomes numb, I can hardly move and it seems that I can’t do anything more… But in fact there are only two minutes to bear. And I bear these two minutes. The next day I would bear three minutes, then four and five… And I also make myself study. In Omsk my teacher Natalia Petrovna Titova used to help me a lot. Then I entered the High School of Olympic Reserve where I study at the moment. It is hard to study. It’s very difficult to do homework after the whole day of practicing in gym. But my desire is very strong. I like to study. At the moment my education is connected with sports and in the future I will probably choose something else.
– I can’t help asking about girls’ issues. Have you ever fallen in love? Do you have time for affairs?
– So far nothing like that happened to me. Maybe some time later. God knows. In life it happens when you don’t wait for it. It is happiness when a person experiences love at least once in his life. I hope that some day I will also have a family and children. Women must give birth to children, maternity is their main destination. But I need to grow up to that.
About rest, cheese cakes and fame
– When and how did you feel your fame?
– I am not concentrated upon that. And I don’t really feel that fame. The only difference is that now I give more interviews, visit some parties… Sometimes, interviews interfere with my training schedule and sometimes they happen absolutely inopportunely. For example, when I sleep. But anyway I stand up and give this interview. It needs to be done. Actually it’s very nice that in our country much attention is devoted to sportsmen, they are known and loved. Sport becomes popular, what else can be better? It is example for children and much support for athletes.
– You travel abroad very often. Do you ever tour as a tourist or you only see gyms, gyms, gyms? Do you sometimes go shopping?
– No, during these trips we don’t see anything except gyms. I we don’t really shop. But I like shopping. I think every girl from time to time likes to go shopping.
– How do you rest, Zhenya?
– I rest very seldom. When I have some free time I like to go for a walk and sleep. I also like reading. At the moment I adore Remark. It is so interesting to follow the relationship of people!
– And what do you like to eat?
– I like sweets. But unfortunately I am not allowed to eat much sweet. I eat fruits, cheese cakes, rice balls which my granny cooks for me when I come home.
– What else do you have to sacrifice except love for sweet?
– I am not a victim. I couldn’t even dream of such a fate! I tried to do my best. Sometimes I dreamt of being trained in the National Team. But it seemed so unreal. That’s why how can I feel sorry about the uneaten chocolates?
– What is your biggest joy in life?
– I like to live up to the expectation of the people who are dear to me.
Evgenia Kanaeva: 我對韻律體操一見鍾情and直到永遠
中譯: Zoe Wan
– 我不會這樣說。我是在很偶然地情況下投入RG。我小時候有點胖跟畸形足。然後有一天，向來很關心我的外婆，為了讓我更苗條跟矯正我的腳，決定帶我去RG學校上課。當時沒有人想到要獲得很高的成績，目的純粹是為了美觀。一開始我是讓一位年輕的教練教的，她是有名的Vera Shtelbaums的學生。當時Vera Shtelbaums在Moscow訓練Irina Tchachina。但很快且幸運地她成為我的教練。從那天起我想幸運降臨到我身上。我相信每一個運動員都夢想能接受Vera Shtelbaums這麼專業的人的訓練。直到現在我還是感到很開心能每天跟她一起工作。
– 這是指Vera Shtelbaums說那位有點胖的小女孩有成為偉大體操選手的天分?
– 喔，不! 一開始我是在一個普通的團體接受訓練，然後有一次我搞錯了跑到Vera Shtelbaums帶的那個團，之後我就留在那了。
– 我立刻就愛上了。我喜歡看著其他體操選手在地毯上練習那些有趣的動作。當我還很小的時候，大概6歲吧，我就喜歡整天泡在體育館。我想謝謝那些對我們這些年輕的體操選手付出這麼多的教練們。可以說我住在體育館，我經常在那裡待到很晚，而我的外婆得用逼的才能帶我回家。回家後，她會說”來，Zhenya，把你今天學的做一遍給我看” 然後我會在我們那28平方公尺的地方重頭做一次給她看。我的童年很快樂。我想那些訓練建立了一切的基礎，也許同時也養成我的性格。
– 很難解釋我站在地毯上的感覺。在踏進地毯之前我聽到我的心臟噗通噗通的跳! 當然我會有些害怕跟興奮。但一旦我踏上地毯上，所有的恐懼消失了。這可能是因為我的教練鍛鍊我，做就對了!
– 那世界第一的體操選手情緒崩潰的樣子是怎樣的呢? 你會到處摔東西嗎?
– 喔，不! 我很少摔東西。這都是內在的感覺- 我會覺得疲倦跟悶悶不樂。
– 俄羅斯國家隊的主教練Irina Viner對你相當讚賞。她曾說”這女孩相當的謙虛跟勤奮，所以現在她才能超越每個人!” 你覺得自己站在頂端嗎?
– 嗯，例如在訓練的時候，我覺得全身肌肉酸痛，我的身體變得麻痺，移動困難，似乎我再也無法做任何事…但事實上大概只要忍兩分鐘就過去了。我忍耐那兩分鐘。隔天我會忍耐三分鐘，然後四分鐘，五分鐘…還有我會唸書。在OMSK，我的老師Natalia Petrovna Titova過去幫助我很多。然後我進了奧運預備中學，我目前就讀的學校。唸書很困難。整天在體育館訓練後要做家庭作業是很難的。但我的渴望很強烈，我喜歡唸書。目前我念的是跟運動有關，未來我可能會選擇其他的。
– 我忍不住要問關於女生的事情。你曾經戀愛過嗎? 你有時間談戀愛嗎?
– 你經常到國外旅行. 你曾像個遊客一樣遊覽還是看到的永遠是體育館，體育館，體育館? 你有時候會逛街購物嗎?
– 我很少休息。當我有空閒時我喜歡散步跟睡覺。還有我喜歡看書。現在我喜歡看Erich Maria Remarque的作品。觀察人與人之間的關係很有趣!
– 我不是個受害者。我甚至無法夢想這樣的命運! 我試著做到最好。有時候我夢想著在國家隊接受訓練。但這似乎很不真實。這就是為什麼我怎能對無法吃巧克力感到抱歉。