I am very happy to introduce the new member of ZKG translation team-Ekaterina! 🙂 And Big Big Thanks to Ekaterina for this translation, great work!!!-Zoe
The 30th Olympic Games are over. The excitement has subsided, fans have stocked on positive emotions, and, the athletes returned to their usual training regimen. Passion.ru has met with Evgenia Kanaeva as soon as she returned from London. The Rhythmic Gymnastics record-holder, 2-times Olympic champion, honored master of sports of Russia, holder of the Order of ”Merit for the Fatherland” and Order of Amity, turned out to be a charming and sociable young lady.
To the Passion.ru readers, Zhenya has opened up about her daily beauty rituals, diet and career in sports, as well as how to be successful in the chosen field.
What is your daily schedule during active training?
I get up at 7:30, have breakfast at 8. At 9 am I have choreography for an hour or an hour and a half, and then comes a training session till about 2 pm. After that, I have two hours off, and then another training session which lasts approximately 4 hours. After that, we only have 2-3 hours before bedtime. If we finish training earlier, we have time for machine-assisted recovery and treatment. The entire free time is spent on health. Sometimes we go to a bath house or a swimming pool to recover.
Do you have free time to spend at your discretion?
Sometimes, I only have one training a day. For example, after a medical treatment. And at that point, I have a chance to get together with friends.
How did you spend the time off after the Olympics?
I managed to have a 5-day vacation in Sardinia. We had an amazing vacation, courtesy of our leading coach. You can say, we’ve been to a fairy tale.
And now I am giving a lot of interviews and attending various events.
How tall are you and what weight are you sticking to?
My height: 171 cm, but I am not keeping a stable weight, and I did not check my weight after the Games. I only judge by the mirror. Of course, I’ve gained weight: I have not been training. But I get back in shape very fast, just give me one week without dinners – and I lose weight right away. When someone says “I am on a diet, but not losing weight” – they are not being truthful: when you don’t eat, you’ll lose weight.
A secret tip from Zhenya Kanaeva: how to lose weight in one week?
Don’t eat! (smiling). For example, when I was preparing from the Olympics, on training days, I ate everything except bread, sugary and fatty foods. One week before the Games, I limited myself even in how much liquid I took in. All the way during my preparation for the Olympics, my weight was going down.
In the mornings, I ate porridge, strawberries, could eat some other fruit. For lunch, after training, I strived to eat meat or chicken with vegetables. And for dinner, I did my best not to eat anything, drink something at best. On days off I tried not to eat at all. I only had half a cup of green tea in the morning and did not eat anything else. We only had three days off during the entire preparatory period, and I was losing weight on those days.
What style of clothing do you prefer: casual or going-out?
I absolutely love dresses and stilettos. But since these are not always suitable, I also wear jeans, shorts, t-shirts, tops and boots. Now I rarely wear athletic shoes.
It goes without saying that a lady should always be a lady and look her best. Sometimes I see very beautiful clothes but the first consideration is whether they suit me in style and color.
What is your daily skin and hair care regimen?
Every morning and night, I wash my face with a facial gel, and then apply tonic. For my body, I prefer shower gel and oil afterwards. For my hair, I use Pantene Pro-V. I really like their hair mask.
Whom do you consider your closest competitors in the sport?
Frankly speaking, I never think about competitors. While performing, I am focusing on what I am doing and what is going on at that moment. Sometimes I see other girls’ performances. When I am on the carpet, I do my best to perform my routine as a show, without thinking that I can drop or lose an apparatus. As soon as I start thinking about that, I am making mistakes.
Everyone in the final 10 was very strong, and even all 20 were very close to each other, separated just by tenths of points. Rhythmic gymnastics is highly competitive.
But we have a wonderful leading coach, and she creates a wonderful atmosphere. Irina Aleksandrovna recruits gymnasts from all over the country, and offers them positions as trainers. My coach is Vera Efremovna Shteilbaums; before me, she had been training Ira Chaschina. Darya Dmitrieva (silver Olympic 2012 medalist) has her own coach – Olga Vladimirovna Buyanova.
We have a wonderful choreographer – Irina Borisovna Zenovka. Irina Aleksandrovna uses strengths of each of the trainers, and shares her experience with them as well.
Among the trainers, who has played a most significant role in your life?
First of all, it is my coach – Vera Efremovna, who day after day has been and is with me, as well as the leading coach, who gave me a chance to compete at the European championships, when Alina Kabaeva had an injury; and then she let me compete at the Olympics. I cannot single anybody out because this is a collective work and collective effort.
They say, you are not affected by the pressure at all. Is that so? What kind of mindset helps you with that?
When I am on the carpet, many have said to me: “Zhenya, you don’t seem to be nervous at all, not a single muscle twitches on your face”. In reality, all mistakes come from the mind. You should “turn it off” and follow your goal, your dream.
Do you keep contact with your fans all over the world and how?
I have a lot of fans, and it is wonderful. I have received numerous text messages, letters and packages.
Fans provide a great deal of support for an athlete, it makes you strive to perform even more and even better, and it only elevates the mood. I perform for the audience.
How can one write to Evgenia Kanaeva?
People send me letters directly, or through Gymnastics Federation or to Novogorsk.
In one of the interviews, you said that if you retire from the sport, you would paint or play piano.
I would love to. I loved to draw as a child. My grandmother had a friend in Omsk, who was an artist. I was 6 years old then, and I dreamed of becoming an artist, and during the lessons, we drew everything we could see.
When I started doing rhythmic gymnastics, the coaches offered me a choice through my parents: either painting, or the sport, because competitive sports require huge time investment.
How did you pick music for the London Olympics?
A beginning of the year is the hardest time in sports. An athlete is coming back in shape, practicing new routines, new elements, which require work.
Nowadays, it is very hard to find music that has not been used. Irina Borisovna helped with that; Vera Efremovna and the leading coach came up with ideas, and my preferences were also taken into consideration.
There are only 4 routines in Olympic gymnastics, and I had 10 routines put together for me. At first, the music for my ribbon routine was from the Swan Lake, but then we went back to Chopin. Then we put together the club routine: at first, we had another piece of music, but then decided on the Spanish piece. We did three different routines for the ball. For the hoop, we also tried three different versions, but eventually picked Stravinsky.
Which of your “roles” are most memorable and what kind of roles you would like to perform on the carpet?
I have always been told that I am a lyrical gymnast, and that it suits me. In reality, I enjoy both lyrical and more rhythmic routines. I can be different, and enjoy the fact that I can transform.
Is there an element that has been or is most difficult?
Yes, there is such an element. It is called a jump-shift with a twist. This year, it was incorporated in my hoop routine. Before that, I had been having trouble with the element, either in a range or a jump. But this year, I’ve had more or less mastered it.
Our audience truly enjoyed watching our national team succeed in London. Among the audience, there are a lot of people who love rhythmic gymnastics, and have little girls who aspire to become rhythmic gymnasts in the future. What can you say to the parents and youngsters?
To the parents, first all, support your child mentally, praise her, but do not invade a domain of the coach and demand something. If it is meant to be, your child will achieve everything through her talent, persistence and hard work. Children should themselves follow their goals. The best role for you is to support their spirit: “You are doing a great job! Way to go!”
As a child, I was clubfooted and plump – a complete opposite of a rhythmic gymnast. That is why I am wishing the children a lot of patience. Enjoy what you do and simply be happy that you have a chance to be doing rhythmic gymnastics. Be happy because you succeed in life when you stay positive!