This was posted on a tumblr blog. It has some interesting things said so I thought I would blog it. There isn’t anything else going on.
MY OPINION, More proof Nastia Liukin is no fucking American. She hangs with the Russians and shares her Gold medal which apparently she brought to the 2012 Olympics?
Go back to the Commies bitch. Oh how much less annoying she would be of she stayed in Russia. (Had to call her a commie, it pisses people off:)
I really wish Anna Dementieva had made the Olympic team. It would have been sweet to see Semi sitting at home while Demi won a medal.:)
Laughing at Mckayla for almost winning Gold when she fell when her would have been teammate chucked that thing and called it an Amanar is fucking hilarious.
(Drinking game, every time I use the word fucking, you chug down that shot) It is just one of those nights.lol
Interview with Xenia Semyonova: As usual, as Russian is not my first language and doesn’t always translate well into English, this interview should be taken for fun and interest’s sake only. I paraphrased quite a lot, especially in the second half of the interview. Anyway, hope you guys find it interesting.
On a difficult choice, coaching, and her wedding ( DATE to be determined).
“What is she up to these days?” is the question we hear most often in regards to Xenia Semyonova, who appeared to be sent from heaven when during Russia’s most difficult period where the team had neither a leader, nor results, she won the only gold for Russia at the World Championships. All before she had even turned 15. Has she gone away? I spoke to her about what she’s doing now, coaching and whether she has any plans to return to competition.
-Interview by Alexandra Vladimirova.
So what are you doing?
I still have one more year of University at Lesgafta (Ed: this is the National University of Sport + Health). In January of next year I will help Marina Nazarova (ed: Semyonova and Afanasyeva’s coach). I’ve already taken care of the paperwork in Tula (Ed: her hometown) but I’ll be working here, in Moscow, at Round Lake. It’s nice because I have a home and close friends nearby. I don’t know how things will develop from there.
It was probably at the Russian Championships in 2011 when I realized that it would be hard to continue competing. I was up on the beam with tears in my eyes and I understood; it was very painful. Before then I’d been patient, but the older you get, the harder it becomes to withstand the heavy loads.
And before then?
I enjoyed it! And that was the most important thing. Yes it was intense – the pain, the tears -but after all, competing was really interesting! Especially when you won and they hung medals around your neck and awarded you prizes.
And so if you hadn’t won anything, would you have finished with elite gymnastics earlier?
No I don’t think so… as long as I could endure it. Problems with my hand became worse before the World Championships in 2010. For a while I couldn’t really work on uneven bars at all.
In your opinion, what does “more or less” bearable mean?
Our doctor recently told me: Now nobody tolerates pain as you used to. They all complain.
And you did not used to complain?
No I complained often! (laughs)..but you know, injuries happen. Once I had a feeling that something snapped while I was sleeping. I felt an aching sensation but I figured it was just a dream. In the morning during warmup/conditioning it really hurt, but during the first training session I was able to work well. Then during the evening workout while I was running for a vault, I went to hurdle and I heard a pop. I didn’t know what to do as my leg hurt and I couldn’t pick it up….. it was either torn or separated. I can’t describe the feeling but I remember it very clearly. They told me I should have surgery, but couldn’t confirm that after the operation everything would heal. Until now, it’s still sore – the pain hasn’t gone away. It’s not sore all the time, but I can feel when the weather is about to change..like I’m a grandmother (laughs).
When you stopped training every day, didn’t you feel a longing for physical activity?
Of course! Even now I still feel that longing. I’ve come to realize you have to put up with it but still и хочется, и колется (ed: I left this part in Russian, because I can’t think of a good translation for this expression. Essentially it means you want something, but you know or fear it comes with dangerous or harmful consequences). When you walk into the training hall and everything is so familiar, the emotions are overwhelming.
So you still have the desire to come back?
Yes – my thoughts are conflicted with what’s going on right now. Even if I did start to rebab and get back in shape, what about school? It’s very hard to go back and forth. If I tried to get in shape in only 6 months, I would not be likely to succeed. I sometimes ask myself: “can I get ready for the University games or not?”
Because you are age eligible to (compete there)…
Yes. If it weren’t for the injuries… mentally I can still remember how to do everything perfectly.
What advice did Denis (Ablyazin) give you?
He said “it’s for you to decide – if you want, I can help.” And I know he can help. It seems to me I went through so much to me on base- and always -a good attitude and I have studied. from A to Z. Sometimes I’ll come to the “Round Lake”, all of a sudden, “Oh, Sëmochka (pet name) I forget that you’re here?” (laughs) I just say I miss him.
Do you go back to Novomoskovske often?
Very rarely. My friends are all here. I even go to Penza more often than I go home.
Are you a role model for your hometown?
My sister goes to the pool where the gymnastics hall is located. My pictures are hung up all around there. When she told her friends that I was her sister, they didn’t believe her. But now I’m not competing and earning results, nobody really pays attention. Earlier everyone was like “Wow!”
You’ve already decided that you want to become a coach?
So far, yes. It’s the only thing I know. When Marina was preparing Ksusha Afanasyeva for World Championships and Olympics, I helped out with the other girls -Kristina Levshina and Yulia Chamareva. I even accompanied them to competitions. The youth team and the main team trained separately. While Marina was with Xenia, I was with the younger girls and then sometimes later we’d switch depending on how Afanasyeva was behaving- she was difficult with Marina.
And was Afanasyeva easier with you?
No, she gets on easily with very few people. We’ve known each other since we were children -we would fight and curse at each other, then five minutes later, we’d hug and be friends again. Yeah, we still live close by-I’m on the floor above hers. On weekends she comes “home” or I go to Round Lake and we see each other.
Is coaching harder than training?
Yes definitely! Today’s children quit more easily. They think they already know everything by themselves. In my day, we were different. We were told what to do and we did it. Now I get: “I will not,” or “I do not want to.”
How do you fight that?
(Laughs) I don’t know. I tell my girls: “who is this for? You or me? I’ve already done it. You want a medal? Go forward.” They sit and think about it for a while, then eventually they’ll go do it. It was a little easier with Kristina, and Yulia’s at a difficult age, the one where she has to get everything for herself first, but they are good girls.
– You can keep your distance?
I told them right away: we are friends outside the gym, and in the gym, I am your coach. Sometimes it so happens that they push and say, “As if you didn’t do this too?” Well I did something! I remind Julia that at her age, I was already a World Champion.
They say that champions with an easy-going nature don’t exist?
I wouldn’t say that. We only have Aliya Mustafina who is like this…. but with her you can see it even when she goes up to the apparatus (there’s a sense of) “I can do it all and I will” And as for myself, I wouldn’t say I’m bitchy – on the contrary, I’m quite gentle with people and I wouldn’t say this quality hinders me.
Your senior career started quite early – even by gymnastics standards.
I broke my arm two weeks before the Junior European Championships so I went to Worlds in 2007 without any International Experience.
How did you feel back then?
That’s just it! (I felt) Nothing! The final in the huge arena was a little uncomfortable, but I just went out and did it. People were surprised by how calm I was. And I had an interesting combination – a Tkatchev release straight out of a giant- nobody else did it. I learned it completely by accident: Tanya (Nabieva) and I were playing a game with her coach Alexander Vasilyevich (Kiryashov). To win the game I had to do a Tkatchev out of a giant and she had to do a double-double dismount off bars. The game was for chocolate so in general, we both won. (laughs). I was also doing a stalder 3/2. I competed it once, and if we could have connected it to one other element and perfected it, I could have done it at the Olympic games in Beijing.
– Were you hindered by injury again?
Yes, even back then. I went out to do the all-around with the thought since I had two strong events, why not do all-around? Although I was not a good vaulter, I had still somehow managed to win the European Championship.
Do not you regret that you didn’t focus more on preparing your bar routine?
Actually training for the all-around is easier than for only two events. Everything is more spread out – you can give you all across all 4 events. And competition is easier, especially mentally. For example, if you are competing on one event and it comes last, it can be difficult. I remember at the 2010 World Championships I was first up on the beam. The girls had fallen off bars and I was so hurt I forgot to tape up my fingers. When they announced the transition, I looked up and was disoriented, “Where is everyone and what I am doing?” (laughs!) But it was fine.
At the most recent Olympics as soon as the scores for beam came up, it became clear that the Russian team was unlikely to repeat the success of 2010 …
It’s too bad that we had such a strong team who made such, we can say, ridiculous mistakes. It’s a shame after working so hard, to then leave without having achieved what you could have….
– Would you call the Beijing Games the biggest disappointment in your career? Yes, but at least there was one plus – I got to hold an Olympic medal my hands. After the All Around we went to drug testing, and I tearfully begged Nastia Liukin to see her gold.. Although I (always) understood that with my vault it would be hard to claim a medal- it had too low of a start value. I couldn’t vault a double on the podium -I could do it in the pit, but not in competition. Probably, there was a fear issue.
– Vault is an interesting apparatus in general – (for proof) one only need remember the Olympic final, when McKayla Maroney almost became the Olympic champion, even though she landed her second vault on her ass.
Yes, Sandra Izbasa saved that from happening. She was, in fact, already in her second Olympics. In the first (2008) – we practically gifted a medal to the Romanian team, just like at the 2007 World Championship where they said themselves that we literally lifted off our medals and hung them around their necks. That was when Katya Kramorenko scored a zero on vault.
– Does the attitude of the team change in regards to the gymnast who screws up in competition? I would not say that..more it happens to everyone? Everyone falls and makes mistakes- it is a sport.
Have you moved on from the “wooden” medals ? (Ed: another expression I can’t really think of a good English word for. Wooden can mean devoid of emotion, feeling, passion…kind of stiff in physical and emotional sense…)
Second place and fourth place are the most upsetting. It is better to be farther away (from winning or making the podium), my heart feels lighter then. For me it was very hard to be fourth so many times! Enough – to the ears. (ed- “to the ears” is another Russian expression that essentially means completely, thoroughly, maybe “up to here!” in english..here I probably would have translated it as enough but enough-enough doesn’t really make sense). Second place also hurts although if you think about winning a silver at the Olympic games – it’s great!
– Vika Komova in London said that the silver is like not getting a medal at all.
That’s understandable. But she had to vault “вольнула.” (slang/ kind of rude word..undone). On the other hand, once again, it’s really hard to get silver. We used to call Anton Golotsutskov “bronze Anton” Vika may soon be nicknamed “Silver Vika”. But seriously, she knows she is capable of winning. And all around everyone knew it, but … We were all crying when we watched the broadcast.
How did you feel while you were watching the Olympics?
At the start I watched them from Moscow, and then I watched the end from Paris. My mom and I have dreamed of going on Vacation there for a long time – I watched while she went sightseeing and then I’d text her “Maria Paseka third on vault” and then “My guy won bronze on floor!” Although he could have won gold because if not for a mistake with the second tumbling run- Denis was even told do by judges. On vault though, it was a definite silver. The South Korean was gorgeous.
When Dennis was standing up on the podium, did you feel proud?
Yes I think I was shaking even more than him! After he won those medals people congratulated him and me, and even my mother. Now he has Olympic medals, and I don’t… But I have two World Championship golds, and he doesn’t…however his coach has promised that Dennis win those as well (laughs)!
Have you planned your wedding yet?
No, it won’t be anytime soon! We’ll have to wait another four years. Probably won’t be until after the next Olympics. So for me at least, I’ll say don’t know (laughs)…