posted on http://omskzdes.ru/editor/?ELEMENT_ID=12985
Originally written in Russian by Uri Nikolaev on 6 Septmeber 2012
Interviewed conducted by Tatiana Shkirina
English translated and edited by catts (and thanks Alyona for double checking)
The two-times Olympic champion in rhythmic gymnastics:
About the friends who were not invited to the wedding, the “bell” that called for accuracy, the present which she would have bought herself in the final round, the two-year attempt to get to the movies, and happiness that was spacious and in a small flat …
Q: Evgenia, traditionally the first lesson of the academic year is the lesson about the world. What did you tell to the children in Moscow on September 1, and how was the meeting with the people of your local school?
A: The students in Moscow and here in Omsk asked about my personal impressions of the Olympics. I shared with them and they asked various questions, ie. about sports, and about whether I enjoyed being an athlete, and whether it was hard. I myself found it very interesting. Honestly, I did not expect such a warm welcome.
Q: Did they not want to let you go from Moscow?
A: Why not? Nobody threatened me with a gun (smiles). Furthermore, I finished school in Moscow and studied there from 7th to 11th grade and thus for sure I ought to be going for the appointment. Not only should I be attending, I myself would like to. This is only right to say. But then I enjoy retuning to Omsk, where the heat soars positively.
Q: Today, there are a lot of debates on education, in particular on reducing school hours and on compulsory subjects. You are an athlete, and it is clear that for you sport is the most important thing in life. Nevertheless, what subject did you enjoy the most in school and which, in contrast, was the most difficult for you?
A: I would say, when I began to understand a subject, then it would become my favorite (laughs). In sport, a lot depend on the coach. Likewise, in education, a lot depend on the teacher’s performance. From fifth to seventh grade, I loved Russian language and literature the most. Although, to be honest, I always had problems with the Russian language. But my class teacher (Natalia Petrovna Titov. – Ed.) helped me out: she stayed with me after school separately. It really helped. Many thanks to her!
Q: Tell me, was there much to sacrifice for the sake of victories in the place of knowledge? Or, perhaps, family or trainers, at least in the initial stages of set prerequisite performance?
A: I tried everything to keep up with the homework. Knowledge is needed, and it was my personal belief. But, I confess, sometimes study was very difficult. You came for class after training, in the state of “out of order”, tired, and could not concentrate on the textbooks. It had happened that I was forced to sit in front of the books and parents, and with trainers, but that was in Omsk. It was especially difficult when I was gathered for training in Moscow, when the training sessions were almost all day. Of course, I definitely had to sacrifice something. But I have a future, and hence there is an opportunity to catch up.
Q: Rhythmic gymnastics is the top priority of your life. What about the gymnastic for mind? Do you like reading books? Who is your favorite author?
A: I try to read books. First of all, it is useful for the brain (laughs). Although up to the fifth grade I could not stand reading, it was such a burden for me. Then I became interested again, thanks largely to the efforts of my teacher of Russian language and literature. I like Oscar Wilde. “Three Musketeers” by Dumas was interesting to read.
Q: Was Irina Tchachina your idol …
A: (Interrupting) I am not saying that she was an idol. She was a person I wanted to look up to.
Q: … the person whom you looked up to. When you won your first Olympic “gold”, she did not congratulate you … and you got upset.
A: Where did you get such information?
Q: From the media. Are you ready to deny it?
A: Wow … that was not the case. She congratulated.
Q: And did you congratulate our rising star Kseniya Dudkin, with whom you performed in London, and who, in a sense, wants to be equal to you?
A: I congratulated. But I do not think she wants to be equal to me. This girl is much better. She pushed for a worthy performance. Kseniya is still quite young, and the group exercises were performed by three 17-year-old girls. It was very difficult because they all have very different personalities. Thanks to the head coach who has taken care of them this year, and a beautiful coach, Tatiana Sergaeva, who has worked with them previously, the girls were in great shape. Ksusha, like me, is very fortunate that she was trained by Vera Efremovna (Shtelbaums. – Ed.) and then got involved in the group exercises. The main fact in sport is about laying the foundations of the concept of work and patience onto a child. It is important that in Omsk this “physics” is excellently carried out.
Q: Is jealousy to other people’s’ victories a common thing in sport? How do you avoid the “star disease” and arrogance?
A: Everybody succeeds in different areas, not only in the gym but in life generally. I do not see “star disease” a necessary consequent. The worse of all is that it is dangerous: because one day a man is on high, another day he may be in a hole. This is what life is all about.
Q: Are you jealous of anyone?
A: No, envy is not good. It is necessary to rejoice. Not only for myself but also for others, for their victory.
Q: It is said that the bright, successful people are doomed to loneliness. The life of Evgenia Kanaeva is full of constant trips and you cannot afford anything like an idle life. Did you lose friends while you rose to the Olympic heights?
A: True friends will not be lost. Yes, we may not be able to talk for two months, but someone will always write and call. We all have our colorful lives full of events. But no one takes offense at anyone, because we all understand that there is something else besides joint entertainment. On the contrary, we always make fun of our stirring life, “oh, we have not talked for two months, we miss one another, we have to meet”. We, for example, have been looking for an opportunity to go to movie with Olga Kapranova (multiple World and European champions in rhythmic gymnastics individual apparatus – Ed.) for a year and a half (laughs).
Q: You came back to Omsk not long ago, and right after our interview you will meet up with friends. Tell me, where in our city can we see the double Olympic champion? Are there places where you show up for leisure?
A: I hang out in places where I trained and studied. And, of course, my home. And so … In general I don’t care much for restaurants and cafes. Where we agree, there we meet.
Q: Evgenia, is there any bad habit in your life? I am not talking about cigarettes or alcohol …
A: Cigarettes, in principle, I cannot stand. I do not want to offend anyone but I do not like people smoking nearby. I simply cannot stand cigarette smoke. I can eat a big piece of cake, although it is not a bad habit at all (laughs). I just love sweet.
Q: In London, during qualification, you made a mistake. At that time, did you believe that the Olympic “gold” would still come to you?
A: I did not think about winning. I thought about how to correctly perform well. However, I was a little bit shocked because I did not expect mistake to happen. The practice was clean prior to the competition. At that time there were even spectators watching so that we could feel like being in the official competition. It all went well. That’s why we did not expect mistake to happen. But in Beijing the same happened as in London during the first routine, and it was like a “bell” ringing: be accurate.
Q: You managed to pick up yourself. But I suppose, were you very nervous?
A: I did successfully pick up myself. And about the nervousness … Before coming out for the first routine I trained and thought, “I am not nervous about anything, how can it be? In Beijing I was nervous, but not here. Something must have gone wrong.” I actually specifically deceived myself. When I went out to do the first routine, I was nervous. I thought all would be fine, and … lost a hoop! In the second routine, it was “free flow” as it is called, I performed as if it were a treat for myself and for the audience.
Q: You are the first two-times Olympic gold medalist in rhythmic gymnastics. You have already set a world supremacy in the sport. They say a remarkable victory for any athlete is a kind of “drug”, difficult to leave it in the past and move on. Is this true?
A: Yes, it is very difficult. I have given all of myself to sport, daily exercise, sometimes seven days a week, and then … that’s it? But I think, you still cannot bury yourself from within. The end of a sporting career is not the end of life itself. You just need to find yourself in another field. Perhaps not in another, for example, but to remain in the sport, not as a gymnast and, for example, as a choreographer or trainer.
Q: It is not a thankful task to make plans for next four years, so I am just asking: do you still want to perform? Where and when will we see our favorite Zhenya Kanaeva?
A: At the moment I am still thinking (laughs).
Q: Your trainer Vera Efremovna Shtelbaums said that the success of an athlete is not due to talent alone, but hard work. What is a mentor’s role, on the one hand who is always there, on the other hand who is always in the shade?
A: Thank God, now in Russia the trainers are acknowledged and almost all are known by the public already. I am happy about this because I wanted all to know my trainer. These people just need to be acknowledged.
Q: For you, is Vera Shtelbaums more a friend or a mentor?
A: You know, it is all together. With her, we are one. I even did not see my own mother that much …
Q: Is being a trainer an attractive prospect for you?
A: Now, this is a meaningless topic. In life, many things can change and I do not know how everything goes. Of course, we have seen real life examples, and our head trainer taught us a lot, so did Vera Efremovna. Will I pass on to others? We’ll see.
Q:Tell me, are financial incentives and government attention so important to an athlete? In general, is it a motivation or not?
A: You know, the material reward can destroy a person but it also helps some people, on the contrary. Now, unfortunately, people cannot live without money. Thank God that sport offers some opportunities. You know, thanks to sport, I saw the sea for the first time when I went to the training camp in Sochi. Through sport I have an apartment. We used to live in a small apartment four of us, although I’m not complaining, we lived there perfectly. I remember the little apartment, and I immediately have homesick because we were happy with every little thing. And I think that people should appreciate all that is going on and do not forget that. Most importantly it is the attitude of people, not money. But, still, awards mean a lot to the athletes. Due to these incentives you can provide for your family. For me the main thing is for my mother and my grandmother to be happy, and I am always happy to help. These bonuses can help support me and other people who are in need, such as family, friends, maybe even those whom I do not know. I love to help by giving gifts, which is a great pleasure for me.
Q: The President gave you an “Audi” for winning the Olympics . Do you like such a present? Have you already managed to get behind the driving wheel of this car?
A: I am the kind of person who likes any gift (laughs). I have sat behind the driving wheel and even had a drive. The driving license is done.
Q: And if it were not a gift, would you have bought yourself a car? Do you enjoy driving?
A: I have just recently started driving, just begun, and am getting the taste. I enjoy it, of course. If I am not driving I am more likely to get travel sickness. I am much more comfortable by taking the role of a driver than a passenger (laughs). Of course, I would buy myself a car, however, in the final round.
Q: You mentioned that soon you may change residence. What is so attractive about Moscow?
A: Why is there so much attention? Actually, I have lived in Moscow since age 11-12. “That’s it, Zhenya changes her residence” – it sounds like I am moving to another country on permanent residence! I was an Omsk girl, and will remain to be an Omsk girl. Actually little has changed, I will come here, as before . I have my father here, and I just cannot forget my hometown! I like the life in the capital, it boils! I like it. I am a person who cannot sit still. I simply love Omsk! However, I am attacked by laziness here. When I come here, I can be on the couch at home all day and then do not have enough willpower to get up (laughs). I admit, even in training, it was difficult to force myself to work in Omsk.
Q: Are you planning a vacation, or are you counting the days by the seconds? What will you be doing in the near future, and are there somethings which you did not have the chance to do but now can afford to do so?
A: I never know what will happen the day after tomorrow, and you are asking about plans. But in general, there are some things that I will be busy on. But I have not told anyone (smiles).
Q: Evgenia, you do not reveal your private life. On the one hand, you help protect the personal space of others, but your silence has become a breeding ground for rumors. Do you get hurt by gossip or, conversely, get a laugh out of it?
A: I found it so funny (laughs). At first they married me off to one guy, then to another one! Well, it was like “fried”. Personally, I think the emphasis should be on merit and not on personal life. Personal life should not be like public relations. Feelings are between people which are not to be publicly displayed for someone, and something personal is important for two people only. I am being philosophically in the face of rumors because I understand that they have always been and will continually be. In the morning I went online and saw the statement Kanaeva was married. My friends called and outraged, “Zhenya, why didn’t you tell me about the wedding?” Don’t be offended. However, there have been ugly comments but they are left by the people who, apparently, simply do nothing further. Their own lives are not happy, so they discuss theirs. Personally I try not to pay attention to it because I am a happy person. Everything in my life is perfect, I am surrounded by wonderful people. I am happy, you know?
A: 為什麼？沒有人拿槍逼我 (微笑)。此外，我是在莫斯科的學校畢業的，我在那邊讀7年級到11年級。因此我覺得我應該去那裡，不只是應該去，我自己也想去。但我也很喜歡回到OMSK，這裡的反應很熱烈正面。
A: 我會說，當我開始了解一個科目時那它就會變成我最喜歡的 (笑)。運動有很多部份是仰賴你的教練。同樣地，教育也是仰賴老師的教學表現。5年級到7年級時我最喜歡俄語跟文學，說實話，雖然我的俄語總是有問題，但我班上的導師 (Natalia Petrovna Titov. – Ed.) 幫我很多。她特別在放學後留下來陪我。那對我真的幫助很大，所以非常感謝她！
A: 我試著看書，最主要的，那對頭腦有幫助 (笑)。雖然到了五年級的時候，我沒辦法忍受閱讀。那對我是個負擔。然後我又再度感興趣，非常感謝我的俄語跟文學老師。我喜歡奧斯卡王爾德。還有大仲馬的三劍客讀起來很有趣。
Q: Irina Tchachina是你的偶像…
A: (打斷) 我不是說她是個偶像，她是我仰望的人。
Q: 你有恭喜我們的明日之星Kseniya Dudkina嗎？她跟你一起在倫敦參加比賽。她希望能向你看齊。
A: 我恭喜她了。但我不覺得她想向我看齊。這女孩比我好很多。她這次表現很棒。Kseniya還很年輕，這次集體隊伍裡有三個女孩才17歲。這真的很難，因為她們的個性都很不同。謝謝總教練Irina Viner，今年由她帶領她們。還有感謝之前的教練，美麗的Tatiana Sergaeva。這些女孩的狀態都保持的很好。跟我一樣，Ksusha很幸運的，以前是由Vera Efremovna (Shtelbaums) 訓練的。然後她加入了集體。運動主要根基於對小朋友的努力跟耐心。在OMSK，很重要的這方面做的很好。
Q: 聽說成功的人注定寂寞。Evgenia Kanaeva的生活總是不斷在旅行。你沒辦法忍受遊手好閒的生活。當你已經爬到了奧運殿堂層級，你有因此而失去朋友嗎？
A: 真正的朋友是不會失去的。也許我們可能兩個月都沒辦法見面講話。但總是有人會寫信或者打電話。我們各自都有多采多姿的生活，有自己的活動。但沒有人會干擾別人。因為我們都清楚除了玩樂還有其他事。相反的，我們總是從忙碌的生活中找些樂趣。“喔，我們有兩個月沒講話了，我們想念彼此，我們必須見面” 譬如我們曾經為了找機會跟Olga Kapranova (多次的世錦賽跟歐錦賽冠軍) 去看電影花了一年半的時間 (笑)。
A: 原則上，我沒辦法忍受煙味。我不想冒犯任何人，但我不喜歡有人在附近抽煙。我就是受不了煙味。我可以吃一大塊蛋糕，雖然那一點也不算壞習慣 (笑)。我就是喜歡甜食。
Q: 我不打算問你是否計畫下一個四年，我只問你：你還想繼續比賽嗎？何時何地會再看到我們的最愛 Zhenya Kanaeva？
A: 現階段我還在想 (笑)。
Q: 你的教練Vera Efremovna Shtelbaums說一個運動員的成功不僅僅是天分，還有苦練。導師的角色是什麼？一方面，誰是永遠在身旁支持你的？另一方面誰是永遠處於陰影底下的？
Q: 對你而言，Vera Shtelbaums比較像朋友還是導師？
A: 這是個無意義的話題。生活中很多事情會改變。我也不知道事情會怎麼發展。當然我們已經見證過活生生的例子，我們的總教練教我們很多，Vera Efremovna也一樣。我是否會轉任教練，等著瞧。
A: 你知道，實質的獎勵會摧毀一個人，但也能幫助有些人。相反地，很不幸地，現在，人沒有錢不能生活。感謝上帝，運動提供了一些機會。你知道，感謝運動，我第一次看到海，在我到索契(Sochi) 參加訓練營的時候。因為運動我被贈與了一棟公寓。以前我們四個人住在一間小公寓。我不是在抱怨，我們在那裡生活的很愉快。我記得那間小公寓，我立刻開始想念它，因為我們對所有小東西都感到很滿足。而且我覺得我們應該對所擁有的事情心存感激，永遠不要忘記。最重要的，這是一個人應有的態度，不是錢。但是獎勵對選手意義重大。因為這些獎金可以幫助你的家庭。對我來說，主要的是讓我外婆跟媽媽快樂。我永遠樂於提供幫助。這些獎勵可以支持我跟其他有需要的人。譬如家人，朋友，也許甚至是我不認識的人。我喜歡送禮物幫助人，那是我的榮幸。
Q: 總統送你一台Audi作為奧運勝利的禮物，你喜歡這樣的禮物嗎？ 你已經駕駛過這台車子了嗎？
A: 我是那種喜歡任何禮物的人 (笑)。我已經坐在方向盤後面並且駕駛過這台車了。我已經拿到駕照了。
A: 我最近才剛剛開始開車，才剛起頭，嘗試那個感覺。當然，我喜歡。如果不是我開車，我很容易暈車。我比較喜歡當司機勝過當乘客 (笑)。當然，我會自己買車，但那是最後才會做的。
A: 為什麼大家都這麼大驚小怪？我從11-12歲開始就住在莫斯科？ “Zhenya要換住所，說的好像我要搬到另一個國家永久居住在那” 我是個OMSK女孩。而且永遠都會是個OMSK女孩。實際上有一些小改變，我會回來這裡跟以前一樣，我爸爸在這裡，我不會忘記自己的家鄉。我喜歡在首都的生活，它很熱鬧，我喜歡。我是那種靜不下來的人，我喜歡OMSK，但是在這裡我很容易懶散。當我回來的時候，我可以待在家一整天坐在沙發上，不肯起來 (笑)。我承認，在OMSK即使訓練的時候，要強迫我自己也很困難。
Q: 你是否正在計畫一個假期，或者你是活在當下？近期內你打算做什麼，有哪些事是你以前沒機會做，現在你打算(可以) 做的？
A: 我從不知道後天會發生什麼事，而你已經在問我的計畫。但是，基本上我將有一些事要忙。但是我沒有告訴任何人 (微笑)。
A: 我覺得很好笑 (笑)。一開始他們謠傳我嫁給一個人，然後又出現第二個！嗯，那只是像在吵話題。我個人覺得要關注的應該是功績而不是私人生活。私人生活不應該公開。人與人之間的感覺不應該公開展示給某些人看，有些私人的事情只對兩個人是重要的。對於謠言的真相我清楚它的哲學。因為我知道它永遠會在而且會持續下去。有天早上我上網，然後看到報導”Kanaeva結婚了” 我的朋友打電話問我：“Zhenya你怎麼沒告訴我婚禮的事？” 不要覺得受到冒犯，然而有一些不好的評論，那些留言的人就是那種生活不開心的人，他們沒別的事可做，所以他們就隨自己高興說自己愛說的。我不打算把注意力放在這，因為我很快樂。 我生活中的每件事都很完美，我周圍都是很棒的人。你知道，我很快樂。
註 by WanWan：這是ZKG做的第100篇翻譯!!!!! 非常非常感謝ZKG主要的翻譯成員：catts，Alyona 跟 Tatiana!!!!!!!!!!!! and 相隔好久我終於又翻了中譯，第一百篇嘛，我當然要共襄盛舉啊，哈哈。:D