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Elena Vitrichenko at World Cup 2001 in Berlin

- Elena, the WCh 2001 of one of the most fascinating kind of sports had to be placed from Vienna to Madrid. A crisis for RG or an Austrian problem?

Elena: "In my opinion the Austrians have a crisis with RG because it isn't so far developed there, although they're putting a lot of effort in it. Now, the WCh will take place in a town where our sport's very popular. This is an advantage for further development."

- Your mother is working in Madrid for some time, therefore, you are an absolute insider?

Elena: "Since the beginning of the year she's responsible for both the individual gymnasts and the group of the national team in the Spanish federation. If you want to know how many girls she's in charge of, please ask herself - she's coming with them to Berlin."

- How did you manage to take a time out, for you are writing your dissertation?

Elena: "I'm working very intensively, but I've still one year to the deadline. The subject's linked to the sport, it's about developments within RG and those of the gymnasts. I'll be able to use my observations here in Berlin and to compare them with those of the world championships 1997."

- Elena, it could be heard that you are planning to found your own RG school?

Elena: "I just opened my own school, that's wearing my name, in Kiev. We took in 35 children in the age from 3 to 12 years. Soon there'll be a 100."

- Greeks, Spaniards and Frenchwomen with eastern European coaches are putting much effort to reach the top of the world. What do you think about their possibilities at the Olympics 2004 in Athens?

Elena: "A French and a Greek gymnast were among the best eight in the final in Sydney. I think that this proportion of 6 to 2 won't be different. A problem will be that there'll be only two decisions, one in the individuals and one in the group category. It'd be better for the development of our sport to have finals with each single apparatus."

- Why?

Elena: "Everybody is fighting for only one medal, there could be irregularities. And, furthermore, it isn't fair in comparison with the artistic gymnasts who have finals on each apparatus."

- New York and the World Trade Center

Elena: " seeing these horrible images in the television the first thought was that I am afraid, that hopefully there'll be no war. This would be the most terrible thing for the world. We're a civil world and must not have a world war."

- On Thursday, Michail Gorbatchov said in an television interview that there is no reason for bombarding Hamburg only because some terrorists lived there for several years who took part in the Action New York...

Elena: "...when the fate of thousands of human beings depends on something it is difficult to make a decision."

- In the internet it could be read that you are working on a show in order to advertise RG and to support it with your excellent reputation all over the world. What about that?

Elena: "Nechka Robeva had been national coach of Bulgaria and created her own theatre, a show with artistic gymnasts, rhythmic gymnasts, break dancers, folk dancers and acrobats. This is such a wonderful thing. I'd never seen anything like that before. I'd been invited by her to a performance in New York."

- It sounds as if there will be a joint show directed by Nechka Robeva and yourself?

Elena: "That's right. Training for this show will take place in Bulgaria, performances in the USA. I really want to work with her, for it's more than a show - it's a musical."

- Let us talk about the future of RG. Do you think there will be new apparatuses?

Elena: "No, no new apparatuses, but the Code de Pointage needs to be changed. It's composed against the natural will and drive of the gymnasts. So far, sport and art had belonged together, today RG is a series of technical elements. We have discussed it very critically in Bulgaria at the beginning of July and all of us shared the opinion that a mere series of one element after the other, only to meet the requirements of FIG, will do damage to our sport and its development. I'd like to share my thoughts how a good routine should look like.

- In an interview prior to the WCh 1997 in Berlin I asked Mrs Abruzzini, president of the technical committee of FIG for RG, if she could imagine that this sport will be open to men at WCh, for in Japan, France and the USA there are already national competitions. What do you think about this perspective?

Elena: "I don't think it'll happen. In Ukraine men won't occupy themselves with RG. I really liked the male gymnasts in Japan. There they have groups in several towns and at different institutes."

That sounds like more work. Do you have time for other things than your dissertation, sport school and show?

Elena: "I meet up with friends, go to the cinema or the theatre."

- ...and dancing?

Elena: "Also. I love old dances, slow and fast ones."

- ... and others sports besides RG?

Elena: "My last change has been tennis. At the end of last week I played my first tournament with bankers, politicians, prominent people. I played three sets, I lost 1 to 6 and twice 0 to 6 - and I came on the last rank. In spite of that I was very content, we played for young tennis players from our country, the revenue will be used to finance their participation in the junior world championships."

- Do you do skiing or figure skating?

Elena: "No, but when you are asking so firmly: I can dive."

- Your favourite colour?

Elena: "Light blue."

- Your favourite type of music?

Elena:  "Russian and Ukrainian folk music. And then I like the Italian singers as I like the Italian language generally."

- Literature that you prefer most?

Elena: "I love historic novels, like about Spartacus or the ones by Dumas, for instance."

- Which kind of food you enjoy most?

Elena: "Ukrainian and Japanese cuisine. I love everything of this kind, but nothing sweet. I like to eat fruits, this had always been good for my sportive action. Already as child I was advised not to eat sweet food. This has not changed until today."
 
- Which countries have you travelled to?

Elena: "I have been on every continent, never in Brazil, but in Argentina and Chile. I went to almost all big cities in the USA, to almost every country in Europe, I visited Australia and Asia, as well as Japan and Korea."

- Could you imagine to emigrate as many of your prominent countrymen?

Elena: "No, I'm patriot and I want to stay."

- Recently, the most famous sportsmen of Ukraine was elected into the IOC...

Elena: "Sergej Bubka. I know him very well and I was very glad, when he was elected into the IOC. He's a great representative of the interests of us sportsmen and women."

 - Bubka's wife had been an artistic gymnast herself...

Elena: "...and we are good friends. Regarding myself: I have not met the man for my soul yet. With such a one I'd like to found a family later - and to have children."

- Last catchword: Berlin.

Elena: "In Berlin my dream was realised, here I became the world's best gymnast. This is a memory for the whole life. I've only the best memories. Then, I felt very good, as this time, too."

 


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Copyright by Lidia Vinogradna (c) 2000-2003
Interview made by Internet magazine "Gymmedia"