21 July, 2012
FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Minsk 2012 - Extras -
As I mentioned a couple of times, I stayed an official hotel with gymnasts during the competition. The image is the hotel. So I was able to see many gymnasts in it quite naturally and even talk to them.
The gymnasts I had a chat were, Liubov Charkashyna, Anna Alyabyeva, Delphine Ledoux, Alina Maximenko, some gymnasts of fairly Japan POLA, Yevgenia Kanaeva and a member of team Canada. And also a coach of the team Italiano.
I asked Alina about the reason why her performance has tremendously changed after Mie 2009, in other words, after retirement of Anna Bessonova. She understood my question but her answer was that 'I can't say this in English'. That was a shame. Then I changed the way of questioning. I inquired that 'did your coach say something to you and give you pressures?' And then she said that I sometimes trouble with the coach but this is not the reason.' Unfortunately, I asked some translators to explain my question but, I could not get what I wanted.
Delphine is so lovely. She could almost understand what I said. I really respect her since she has been performing rhythmic gymnastics at her age of 27 at the moment, which is absolutely long career as a gymnast. And I asked her how long, and her answer was 20 years. Just amazing. So I questioned her again 'what is your motivation? what makes you keep performing rhythmic gymnastics such a long term?' Her answer was utterly clear. 'Olympic is my dream.' Simple and perfect answer. She is my favourite as well.
The coach of Italiano agreed with my opinion that the judges of this competitions was clearly unfair. Although team Italiano made no obvious mistakes in their performances on the other hand, team Russia made some mistakes and I noticed it. But eventually team Italiano was not able to get first place at all. According to the coach, the members of the team was crying after the competition due to the result. I totally sympathise this and hope this sort of unfair judge never happens at the Olympic Games.
Yevgenia Kanaeva was saying that she is confident in getting the second gold medal in London. She said this with her smile before leaving hotel at 2 or 3 in the morning.
A regrettable thing for me is the fact that I could not chat with Luba enough. However, it was often problematic for me to talk with gymnasts including her. Because I am just a fan and a photographer and not a proper journalist or a news agency correspondent or something like that. There were gymnasts at the hotel all the time but basically, they have own free time individually and some of them must have been trying to concentrate on themselves. So I didn't want to interrupt them. Thinking back now, I should have acted much actively.
I am wondering if I can do the same thing again. I don't want finish this brilliant experience just for one time. Hope this can be a sort of starting point.