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English translated by Alyona, Many Many Thanks!!!
EVGENIA KANAEVA, the only two-time Olympic champion in Rhythmic Gymnastics, has deservedly got the award of magazine GQ.
GQ: Where was it harder to win, in Beijing in 2008 at your first Olympics or in London in 2012 where you were one of the favorites?
Evgenia Kanaeva: My first aim was to get to the Olympic Team both in Beijing and London. Some people said that there was nothing to worry about, that I would go there, perform and everything would be fine. Of course, it is nice when people believe in you but it was extremely hard. There were injuries, illnesses and doubts. At that, the other gymnasts performed on very good level. For example, when Alexandra Merkulova, a young and light gymnast, began to compete I needed to work off my weight and lose about 5 kg in order to look more airy near her. There were days when I stayed till midnight in the gym and I had to endure a lot. This sport is very cruel, you shouldn’t lose any competition. If it’s not you, there will be another girl who wins.
GQ: You probably know everything about losing weight, don’t you?
EK: It’s all very individual. There is no menu which would fit everyone. I have lost eight kg before the Olympic Games. My aim was to see the reduced weight at every weight control, it means every evening. If I had one training a day, I could only afford myself to have light breakfast. If I had two trainings then I would have light breakfast and a cherry tomato, a small cucumber and little bit of meat for lunch. At the day off I would only drink a half glass off green tea. I would lose 100 gr every day. I knew what it was worthy of. I dreamt of getting to the Olympic Games for the second time. And I like the way I looked in London, although I don’t really like to watch my performances.
GQ: Why not?
EK: I get upset about the smallest mistakes.
GQ: But after finishing your career you can watch it without getting upset, can’t you?
EK: I haven’t finished yet. I only took a break. I will make a decision in the nearest future. I understand that I have stayed on the high level for a long time. There are girls who retire at the age of 17, at the age of 20. Some have to leave because of the injuries, the others simply cannot cope. I know that there should be the right time to retire and if I come back it won’t be easy. Gymnastics is an everyday strict regime in fact. There is no life outside the gym. Work hard and endure!
GQ: Why to come back then? You have won everything possible and not even once.
EK: I love this sport very much and it is very difficult for me to leave it. When I watch this or that gymnast I think: “I would have done it like this or like that”. We discussed this topic at the Universiade with Alina Kabaeva. She feels the same way. It’s a pity that gymnasts retire so early. I began to realize what and why I was doing during the last two seasons. I really enjoyed that time regardless of all the difficulties and illnesses. I valued every single minute I spent in the gym.
GQ: Not everyone would be happy about your possible comeback. There are only two spots in the Olympic team but the contenders in Russia are much more than two.
EK: That’s right. I will get even more enemies. But it’s always like this. There is always place for criticism. Every coach has her own preferences and desires. When I was a beginner they used to say that I was an ugly duckling. But this probably made me stronger. You say I haven’t executed the element properly? Ok, then I will do it the way that no one can pick any holes.
GQ: Has gymnastics changed since you took the lead?
EK: Nowadays the Code of Points has been changed; gymnastics becomes easier so that other countries could catch up with Russia and Belorussia. Gymnasts don’t make many risks. They make less throws, they don’t do any crazy tricks although it is so attractive. Now it’s all about dancing. But this is gymnastics not dances! They say that flexibility causes injuries. What about artistic gymnastics then? And boxing? And women hockey? And weight lifting? Are these none-injuries sports? It’s ridiculous!
GQ: A year ago you used to live on a schedule – training, meal, training, rest. Now you are free to decide what to do. What does your day look like?
EK: Now it’s a holiday! When I used to live in Novogorsk we didn’t see anything except the gym. Well, sometimes we were brought to the theater. Irina Viner, the Head Coach of the Russian National Team, was responsible for that. I couldn’t see my relatives for a long time. That’s why after the Olympics I needed to catch up with many things. Then it was our wedding (Evgenia’s husband is Igor Mousatov, a hockey player). My new live is so full of events that I can’t find any free time. And if I have some I prefer to sleep. Now I can afford everything. When I returned from the Olympics Igor met me at the airport. And our refrigerator at home was full of my favorite ice-cream Movenpick. I ate some much that day that I felt sick after. I love ice-cream. My coach still owes me a kilogram of ice-cream for it went fine at the Olympic Games.