Interview Translation: Standing on High (17-01-2011)

Published on
Original written in Russian by Natalya Salyakhova
Translated and edited in English by catts

“Leadership imposes serious obligations on a person. It is absolutely impossible to take it casually. It is prohibited to be weak,” says gymnast Evgeniya Kanaeva, last year’s hero of sports.

Russia’s sporting results in 2010 were not at all the most successful. It flopped badly at the Winter Games in Vancouver, not to mention its failure in football and hockey … Nevertheless, 2010 was still a triumphal year for the history of Evgenia Kanaeva, the holder of 11 WC gold medals and 9 EC gold medals. Federation of Sport Journalists of Russia (ФСЖР) included Evgenia as the most successful Russian athletes in 2010. However, is it only for this past year? In fact, for several years she has never lost a major international tournament. In 2008, she won the gold medal in the Beijing OG. In 2009, she won a gold medal in each of the four apparatus at the EC in Baku. Furthermore, she won 9 more gold medals at the Universiade in Belgrade and the World Games in Taiwan. In 2010, she won a brilliant victory in the Individual All-Around competition at the 30th WC in Moscow … In short, she is certainly ahead of anyone. It has been said that, for Zhenya, the principle is either to “win or lose”!

As a very small child, Zhenya was led to the gymnasium by her grandmother. And then, on her own, she went through fear and risk. At 12, she left for Moscow without parents but travelled with a group of young gymnasts from Omsk. She endured the initial loneliness. And then the breakthrough came forth as Evgenia was invited to join the School of Olympic Reserve. In 2003, she won the junior competition at the world club championship in Japan. It was at this time when she was noticed by Irina Viner. And then, she was accepted by the sports base in Novogorsk, and every day lived with the ‘win or lose’ mindset … Even now, when her sporting successes are obvious and her skills have reached the very highest level, there is nothing easy coming her way. That is what we understood from our conversation with the famous gymnast.

Reporter: Evgenia, you are now on the throne. is it difficult to be no.1?
Kanaeva: I always don’t think of being no.1 as such but try to focus on what is happening at the moment, ie. how to cleanly perform the elements on the carpet. I think this is correct. It is not easy to continually keep yourself in good physical shape and psychological state, but it is impossible to achieve anything in RG without such quality. Leadership imposes serious obligations on a person. It is absolutely impossible to take it casually. It is prohibited to be weak.

Reporter: Is there still an unknown area in RG for you? Or all have already been learned, completed and passed on?
Kanaeva: It may disappoint you. There is indeed no unknown in RG as such. Rather the opposite, instead of mysteries and questions, there is a need of permanent hard work and obedient to the trainer. It all depends on these two pirouettes, but you, speaking from experience, tend to make things more complicated. But these are indeed all you need.

Reporter: In gymnastics, the names of the elements are usually called by the names of the gymnasts who performing them first. Soon, do we expect “element Kanaeva”?
Kanaeva: About how to be remembered for good, I honestly have not thought about it … at least for this moment. There still remain some unexplored elements for me, ie. some jumps that were invented by Ira Tchachina. By the way, it is not always the case that the elements are called after the names of those who first made them. For example, one of the famous “elements Utiasheva” – back tightness – was first performed by Yana Batyrshina.

Reporter: It is said that incidents sometimes occur as a result of conspiracy, envy generated by rivals. How do you feel about it?
Kanaeva: I try not to take them personally in a negative way. It is not my character. And I do not feel envy towards others, I don’t even think about it. I always watch my opponents with interest, and to assess their performances professionally.

Reporter: Irina Viner once called you an angel, which should not indicate anything bad about you. Do you agree?
Kanaeva: No, I’m not like an angel, but trying to become one (laughs). I have many shortcomings, I’m not perfect … that’s for sure. Where can be without flaws? I’m a real person! But I try to hide weaknesses in order to look in a favorable light. By nature, I don’t possess the concept of stopping at a luxurious gymnasium. And, for example, Ira Tchachina was never hyper flexible. No one had ever noticed it but her nature had made her an amazing success. I do not enjoy this kind of struggle. I would like to lose weight, increase my range of motion, and work on the choreography work. However, I know my weakness – I love to eat! I love chocolate and everything sweet. Moreover, there are moments when I am lazy.

Reporter: Are you kidding?
Kanaeva: True! In training my trainer Vera Efremovna Shtelbaums helps me. If I become a very “bad girl”, she will scream. We have a trusting relationship, as it happens in very, very close friends. We both are from Omsk, and we live and work at training camp in Novogorsk. She is my main teacher.

Reporter: Who else have been influential to you in life?
Kanaeva: My grandmother, Irina, who, in fact, led me to the gymnasium. And my elder brother Igor and, of course, my mother, Svetlana. As a child, I admired Ira Tchachina! I was lucky enough to have worked with her. I remember watching her in training and in performance with nagging delight. She is the one who, incidentally, taught me to be generous. Do not be greedy, but to give. Irina Viner also says, “you will be given everything back twice.” We thus need to learn to be happy for others.

Reporter: Even for the competitors?
Kanaeva: And why not? Especially that rivals are growing stronger: the Belarusians, the Azerbaijani. There is this very expressive Ukrainian gymnast Alina Maksymenko. And each has her own personality.

Reporter: Has it ever happened that you feel shattered and want to be left alone?
Kanaeva: In the beginning of each year, when it’s time for me to practise the new routines, this situation almost happens as the norm. At first I can’t manage many things. Then I will become frustrated, and sometimes come to the state of “I give up, I can do no more, nothing work out”. I would then close my eyes and try to think of something good, and confidence will slowly return. Once again, there will be no need to be angry with myself.

Reporter: Are you are a maximalist only in sport or also in life?
Kanaeva: In life, too. I want everything at once. But not simply this as a lot of work needs to be ready to be put in. I do not like flattery. I love praise only when it fits to the cause and from a sincere heart.

Reporter: You have a reputation of being a closed person. Is it a mask for protection or your nature?
Kanaeva: I am absolutely not a closed person, although for some reason I sometimes appear to be like this. Perhaps, people get this impression by doing their interviews on me right before competition. In fact, before any competition I have had trained hard for a month with no one else to talk with. It is the time when people should not touch me.

Reporter: But all competitions are similar. There is a private tournament, as well as the WC.
Kanaeva: I always try to be standing on high, but it is impossible to be perfect all the time. Events occur in which the athlete encounters recession, which is considered as normal. My task is to make sure that it is not as obvious. To have complete control over the hands also is not always easy. Of course, there are psychologists working with us. However, every person has to be one’s own psychologist. If you are able to pull yourself together at the right moment, this means you will be not perish in life. Recently my mother found my childhood diary, and there I was. It turns out that I wrote about my desire to become an OG champion, but I was only 7. Hence, even then, I truly had the desire to be first.

Reporter: What are you going to do when your career as a gymnast comes to an end?
Kanaeva: As a child I dreamed of becoming an artist, and I was not bad at drawing. Now I am interested in foreign languages. I would like to master English. In the future I also want to learn French and Spanish as I like them very much. But, for the moment, my plan for life after sports is not concrete. I like to have the chance to take part in the 2012 London OG very much, but I know it will be very difficult to get there. A generation of good “artists” has already grown up in Russia. They show excellent performances in competitions, taking place one after another. So it is too early to relax.
中譯: Zoe Wan

“領導者被賦予很大的義務. 絕不可能馬虎. 軟弱是不允許的.” 體操選手, 去年的運動英雄-Evgeniya Kanaeva如此表示.

2010年, 俄羅斯的體育成績大多數都不成功. 溫哥華冬季奧運以悲慘的失敗告終, 更別提在足球跟曲棍球的受挫…不過, 2010對於Evgeniya Kanaeva的職業生涯仍然是個凱旋的一年, 這位11面世錦賽金牌跟九面歐錦賽金牌的擁有者. 俄羅斯體育記者協會票選Kanaeva為2010最成功的運動員之一. 然而只有去年一年嗎? (note by Zoe Wan: Zhenya連續三年都獲得此榮耀, 2008-2009-2010) 實際上, Zhenya已經好幾年從未在重大國際比賽輸過. 2008年她贏得北京奧運冠軍, 2009年在巴庫的歐錦賽贏得四個單項金牌. 還有她在 Belgrade的世界大學運動會及台灣的世界運動會共贏得9面金牌. 2010, 她在莫斯科世錦賽的個人全能決賽贏得漂亮的勝利…簡言之, 無疑地, 她領先任何人. 有人曾說, 對於Zhenya, 她的原則就是”贏或輸”!

在她很小的時候, Zhenya是由她的外婆帶她進體操館的. 之後, 憑著她自己克服恐懼跟風險. 12歲的時候她離家到莫斯科, 沒有雙親陪伴, 只跟著一隊來自OMSK的年輕體操選手團體一起旅行. 她忍受內心的寂寞. 突破時刻的到來是當她被選進奧林匹克預備學校. 2003年, 她在日本贏得世界俱樂部錦標賽少年組冠軍. (Aeon Cup). 就是在這時候, Irina Viner注意到她. 之後她進入俄羅斯國家隊訓練中心-Novogorsk. 然後每天以贏或輸的原則生活…甚至現在, 她的成功已經很顯著且她的技術已經達到非常高的水準, 但她走過的道路一點也不容易. 這是我們從跟這位有名的體操選手談話中了解到的.

記者: Evgenia, 你現在在王位上, 成為第一困難嗎?
Kanaeva: 我總是不去想要當第一, 而是試著專注於現階段發生甚麼, 例如如何在比賽場上乾淨的完成動作. 我想這是正確的. 要持續保持身體跟心理在良好的狀態是不容易的. 但是缺乏這樣的素質是無法在韻律體操達成任何事. 領導者被賦予很大的義務. 絕不可能馬虎. 軟弱是不允許的.

記者: 對你而言, 韻律體操還有未知的領域嗎? 或者所有你都學過了, 完成且傳承下去了?
Kanaeva: 可能會讓你失望. 事實上沒有這樣的未知領域. 相反的, 取代神秘跟疑問的是持續努力的工作跟服從教練. 一切都取決於這兩個迴旋, 但是你, 出於經驗, 想讓事情更複雜, 但這只是你想要的.

記者: 通常體操動作的命名都是以第一個做這個動作的選手來命名. 不久之後, 我們可以期待以”Kanaeva”為名的動作嗎?
Kanaeva: 對於如何永遠被記住, 我實際上沒想過…至少現階段沒想過. 對我而言, 尚有些未開發的動作, 例如Irina Tchachina發明的某些跳躍動作. 此外, 動作的命名並不總是由第一個做這個動作的選手而來. 例如, 一個有名的“elements Utiasheva”- back tightness – 第一次做這個動作的人是Yana Batyrshina.

記者: 聽說有時候意外的發生是因為一些陰謀跟對手的忌妒. 你怎麼看?
Kanaeva: 對於意外, 我自己試著不以負面的方式看待. 這不是我的個性. 而且我不忌妒其他人. 我甚至沒想過. 我總是充滿興趣的看著我的對手, 且以專業地眼光評估她們的表現.

記者: Irina Viner曾稱呼你是”天使”, 這應該不是意指任何不好的. 你同意嗎?
Kanaeva: 不, 我不像個”天使”. 但我試著成為一個天使 (笑). 我有很多缺點, 我不完美…這是一定的. 怎麼可能沒有缺陷? 我是個真實的人! 但我試著隱藏弱點以便給人好印象. 我也不是天生就會在一個華麗的體操館前面站的住腳的 (意思是說她練RG的天賦條件並不是最優, 是很努力苦練才能達到現在的水準). 舉例來說, 譬如 Ira Tchachina, 她的柔韌不是特別好. 沒有人曾注意到, 但她的本質讓她達成了不起的成就. 我不享受這樣的掙扎. 我想減重, 增加動作的幅度, 從事編舞工作. 然而, 我知道我的弱點, 我喜歡吃! 我喜歡巧克力跟任何甜食. 而且, 有時候我會偷懶.

記者: 你在開玩笑嗎?
Kanaeva: 這是真的! 訓練的時候, 我的教練 Vera Efremovna Shtelbaums幫助我. 如果我變得很不乖, 她會吼我. 我們互相信任, 就像非常非常親密的朋友. 我們同樣都來自OMSK, 我們一起在Novogorsk訓練中心生活跟工作. 她是我最主要的導師.

記者: 還有誰對你在生活中有影響?
Kanaeva: 我外婆, Irina, 事實上是她帶領我進入體操館. 跟我的哥哥Igor, 當然還有我的媽媽, Svetlana. 小時候, 我崇拜Ira Tchachina! 我很幸運可以跟她一起工作. 我記得自己絮絮叨叨的帶著喜悅看著她訓練跟表演. 她是那個順帶教我慷慨大方的人. 不要貪心, 要懂得給予. Irina Viner也說過: “你會得到2倍的回報.” 因此我們需要學習為別人開心.

記者: 即使對競爭對手嗎?
Kanaeva: 為什麼不? 特別是對手也變得更強: 白俄羅斯跟亞塞拜然. 還有表現力很好的烏克蘭體操選手Alina Maksymenko. 而每個人都有她自己的風格.

記者: 你是否曾經感到很挫折, 而想要獨自一個人?
Kanaeva: 每年年初, 當我練習新成套時. 這樣的情況幾乎像常規一樣的發生. 一開始我不能處理很多事, 然後我會變的沮喪, 且有時候會產生”我放棄, 我不能做任何事, 沒有一件事做好” 的狀況. 我會閉上眼睛, 試著想一些好的事情, 然後自信心會慢慢回來. 不需要再次對自己生氣.

記者: 做為運動員, 你不斷的追求卓越, 在生活裡也是如此嗎?
Kanaeva: 在生活裡也是. 我想讓一切迅速就緒. 不過為了達到這一點, 你得提前做很多工作. 我不喜歡阿諛. 我只喜歡名符其實跟來自真心的讚美.

記者: 你一向被外界認為是封閉內向的人. 這是你自我保護的面具還是本性如此?
Kanaeva: 我絕對不是封閉內向的人. 雖然有時候因為某些原因我看起來像這樣. 大家對我有這樣的印象可能來自於我比賽前做的訪問. 實際上, 在任何比賽前, 我都是辛苦訓練一個月而沒跟其他人說話. 這種時候大家應該都不要接近我.

記者: 但所有比賽都類似. 有民間辦的比賽, 以及世錦賽.
Kanaeva: 我總是試圖維持在頂尖, 但永遠完美是不可能的. 有的比賽運動員會碰到狀態不好的時候, 這是正常現象. 我的任務是讓它看起來不明顯. 能完全掌握在手中也不總是容易的. 當然有心理學家跟著我們. 然而, 每個人都應該當自己的心理學家, 如果你能在正確的時刻振作起來, 這就表示在生活中你也不會腐敗. 最近, 我媽媽發現我小時候的日記. 我寫到想成為奧運冠軍的渴望, 但當時我只有七歲. 所以, 甚至在那時候, 我真的有成為第一的渴望.

記者: 當你的運動生涯結束的時候你打算做甚麼?
Kanaeva: 小時候我希望成為藝術家, 我畫畫還不錯. 現在我對外語有興趣. 我想要精通英文. 未來我還想學法語跟西班牙語, 因為我很喜歡這兩種語言. 但目前, 我對於退役之後還沒有具體的規劃. 我非常希望能有機會參加2012倫敦奧運. 但我知道這是非常困難的. 俄羅斯新一代的”藝術家”已經成長. 她們在比賽中展現絕佳的表演, 一個接著一個. 所以現在要放鬆還太早.

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7 Responses to Interview Translation: Standing on High (17-01-2011)

  1. Ana says:

    and thank you very much catts for the translation!

  2. Ana says:

    that´s a very good interview.

    Zhenya always has something interesting to say and the way she answers some questions showing her character and determination make me admire her even more not only as a sportswoman but also as a person.

    and I love the way she talks about Ira Tchachina, makes me think that my 2 favorite gymnasts of this decade are like BFFs…….hehehe! :p :D…..there´s always a hint of admiration, respect and true friendship in Zhenya´s words about Tchachi, just as when Ira was still competing and talked about little Zhenya in some interviews when Zhenya wasn´t even a known gymnast.

  3. 貓看了catts的翻譯後下了一個評語 : “小兔宝一直都没变, 她真是我见过的内心最MAN的女人之一”
    and catts said: “I agree with Fanny’s comment on Zhenya as she does have a very ‘man’-like character. I call it the ‘champion’ mindset. I think her future boyfriend or husband does need to be very strong and thoughtful to ‘balance’ her out!”

  4. 中譯補上! 翻的不好請見諒…
    有兩個地方是貓代翻的, 就那兩個地方翻的最好 🙂

  5. Dear Laura, nice to see you here 🙂 and You will see Zhenya’s new routines this weekend not next week. because this weekend she will take part in Koop Cup @Toronto
    Website of Koop Cup: facebook:

    and someone said Zhenya won’t be in WC Montreal, I thought it’s strange, because all the way so far come from Russia to Canada but just makes a short stop? Anyway, just wait and see. soon we will know. here’s the article from Koop Cup website saying “Zhenya makes Koop Cup her only North American stop this visit”

  6. Laura says:

    Thanks Catts 😉
    Yes, as always Zhenya is not only delighting us with her performance, but also with her words 😉

    BTW: I so impatient. I want to see Zhenya new routines. I know one week left but I wish he the best for Montreal. It seems she is not performing with clubs…what a pity we have to wait!

  7. Just finished reading catts’ translation! like catts said to me: “It is not an easy piece as some parts are rather philosophical! Anyway, I have tried my best to make it be understandable to most readers.”
    Well well done catts!!! It’s really a very very good transaltion! Bravo !!!
    My favorite part-“Kanaeva: Of course, there are psychologists working with us. However, every person has to be one’s own psychologist. If you are able to pull yourself together at the right moment, this means you will be not perish in life.”
    Sooooo well said, Zhenya!!!!!

    剛才看完catts的英譯, 果然就像catts在e-mail中跟我說的, 這篇不好翻, 因為有些部份很哲學. 我最喜歡的部份就是我貼在上面那段話, “Zhenya說每個人都應該讓自己當自己的心理學家, 如果你能在對的時刻, 讓自己振作, 這就表示你不會在生活中腐敗! ”

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