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Tamara Yerofeeva : "It is silly not to take the gold medals from Worlds"

Nowadays she is being recognized more and more. Earlier she could stay unidentified in the crowd of Kyiv metro, but now, after bright victory of the tenth Deruigina Cup, sometimes she has to give autographs straight in the metro car. Surely, fans of sport knew Tamara Yerofeeva even earlier, but only know, after wonderful competition in Kyiv, fans of rhythmic gymnastics became sure that this hard-working Cinderella became the Queen Tamara. Yerofeeva likes such description, but only if it is about her being on the carpet. In life Toma is very shy, but this makes people like her...

- Tamara, how did you get such name?

- I asked mom very often why I was named so, but she usually tried to joke, though once she told me : "I wanted you to be in life like the Queen Tamara!". And now, when I'm often called like that, I don't think it's something incredible. Why not?

- Indeed...On the carpet you are real queen. By the way, do you feel yourself as a star?

- Only on the gymnastics carpet. When the results of Russian gymnasts Alina Kabaeva and Irina Chaschina on World Championships were annulated  and I turned to be on the 1st place, coaches became more strict to me. And it is normal. For the fans of rhythmic gymnastics I'm a real star. And that's why on every competition I must show that I can be called the Queen Tamara. And in life, out of the gym, I've never felt myself as a star. I stayed like I was some years ago. But I don't imagine if anything will change in my understanding the surrounding world if I receive the medal of all-round world Champion

- We'll talk about this medal later. And now, tell us, did you dream to become a gymnastics queen Tamara when you did your first steps in rhythmic gymnastics?

- If to be true, in the childhood I've never thought about big awards, I was a normal girl without any special talent, no better and no worse than the others. And the fate wasn't very nice to me in gymnastics. When I was 5 years old, my parents brought me to the hall of the Kyiv Building Institute.  But soon my coach Inna Polyachenko went to coach in the USA and I went to the Deruigins School to Zhanna Belokopitnaya. And here I was unsuccesfull: soon our group broke apart. Then for some time Viktoria Yani, the winner of Deruigina Cup 1993, coached us. I was very proud of myself then because I had such a famous coach. But Yani trained and competed herself then and couldn't pay much attention to us. As a results from 11 years old I started to train with Galina Doroshenko. She made a first competitive program for me. It seemed that everything is ok. And still 2 years later, specialists advised my parents to give me to the group of Albina Deruigina to reach some good results. And my parents brought me to Deruigins school for the 2nd time Before let me go to the gym, Albina Nikolayevna talked to me for a while. She asked me why I like rhythmic gymnastics, what I want to win, what I dream of. I don't know what she saw in me, but very soon Albina Nikolayevna started to pay great attention to me. Especially in the work of changing my technique. Even nowadays, when I watch the cassettes with  my trainings of those years. I can't stop being surprised: if I were a coach, I would never agree to work with such a gymnast as I were being 14 years old (Laughing)

- You were quite a naughty girl...

- Yes, that's right. Earlier, if I didn't like something, I was always showing everybody that I don't agree.

- Did you throw clubs?

- Yes! But not in the coach, in the wall (Laughing)

- Nevertheless your first big awards were near...

- Yes, in 1996 Albina Nikolayevna included me in the junior group. I competed on some tournaments, got to be on European Championships. Some months later Irina Deruigina made individual routines for me, which I used on the World Championships among clubs , which is traditionally held in Japan. I was third there. It was my 1st medal on the competition of such importance

- Which medal is the most important for you?

- There isn't one, there are some. It is the medal of all-round winner of the Universiade in China and bronze in all-round of World Championships 2001. On the Universiade I was called the main favorite at first and in such situation it's difficult to calm down and avoid mistakes. Thanks God, everything turned out ok! If to say about world championships, it's bronze was very difficult for me, I earned it in a difficult struggle with Simona Peycheva. Till the very last moment I didn't know that I'm losing. And even before the last routine Albina Nikolayevna didn't tell me the ranking. She just asked to concentrate and to demonstrate everything I can. I did so. And when the score appeared, I understood that I won by the shouts from the audience : "Tamara, molodetz!". 

- Let's return to the question about your title. Nowadays everybody has own opinion about the decision of FIG about the disqualification of Kabaeva and Chaschina for the taking of furosemide. According to this solution, you received the gold medal of all-round world champion...

-...I haven't received it yet (Laughing)

- Now it's just the question of time. Simona Peycheva refused to receive her silver medals. And in Moscow one journalist said that you refused to take your gold...

- It's nonsense!!! Why should I refuse to talk it ?! The title of all-round world champion is a dream of every gymnast. I trained, worked and deserved this title no less than the others. Who will tell now that I competed badly in Madrid? As a results, the Russians were higher in ranking, but if Kabaeva and Chaschina took furosemide, they must be punished. can't say I'm happy of their disqualification, but it wasn't me who took this decision. Surely, I wanted to win the gold medal in another conditions, but it is silly to refuse ti take it. And if to say about Peycheva, it's her private deal

- It's logical. And what impressions do you have from Olimpics in Sydney?

- It wasn't my Olimpics. I understood very well that I'm not strong enough to win a medal. The main task was to impress the judges, spectators and specialists. I think I did it. After the Olimpics in Australia I was counted one of the strongest gymnasts on the world

- Japan, China, Spain, Australia...Quite exotic countries. It's a dream for any person to go there. How do you remember these countries?

- Sportsmen go around the world, but usually they have no time to go sightseeing. Usually we leave the country on the 2nd day after the competition. Only sometimes we get a free day. Though we have seen something. In Japan and China the architecture is unforgettable. It's so unusual! The streets between skyscrapers are so narrow that it's difficult to go on them. There are many middle-aged buildings in Spain! Australia is also a very interesting country

- Did you taste  Chinese and Japanese food?

- No, I didn't risk. In Japan I was proposed to taste snakes and other exotic reptiles, but I wasn't brave enough. In general I like Italian food most. I like real Italian spaghetti and pizza. I like some French dishes too. By the way, how could I forget! Paris! I loved this city! So many things to see, so great! It's fantastic

- Did you climb the Eiffel Tower?

- No, unfortunately, we didn't have enough time, but I'd like too!

- And are you afraid of the height?

- Difficult to say...But on the Eiffel Tower I would go for sure!

- In Australia did they drive you to the park where koalas, kangaroos live?

- No...

- Was it difficult for Australians to show you koalas? You will never see them in any other countries.

- We went to Australia not to watch koalas, but to take part in Olimpic Games! The next day after the closing ceremony, we flew home. Though, it's a great pity that I didn't see a kangaroo and other exotic animals in Australia.

- Which country would you like to live in?

- If not long, in any of the named earlier, but then I'd like to return to Kyiv. 2 years ago we spent almost a month in Japan. Once we got a free day and went to Disneyland with Anya Bessonova, where we from 9 o'clock till late night enjoyed different swings, merry-go-round. It was so cool! The life seemed to be great. And in some days I wanted to Kyiv very much. I wanted to go on my native Kreschatik. So I think it will be impossible for me to leave Kyiv for a while. But if to be true, I would enjoy traveling around the world. To go sightseeing, to see main places of interest, not just the halls of competition

- But in Madrid as I know you and other gymnasts had time for excursions?

- Yes, we went to the center of the city, walked there for an hour and then went to the huge market. Time which was left we spent there (Laughing). When the girls were examing different shops, I was watching TV - our routines were shown then. And then my routine with rope started. I turned back and saw that people started to stop near me and suspiciously looking on the tv set and me. I thought that I don't want to give autographs and left very quickly to the exit.

- What did you chose in the market of Madrid? Clothes?

- And this of course too

- What type of clothes to you prefer and like?

- Certainly, sports style. After 4-hours training, you can't wear something else. I like different sneakers and jeans. But of course I can modern elegant clothes too. On the official meetings I prefer to wear costumes with trousers

- And what cosmetics do you use?

- Different, but I use it very rare. I think that when th face is young and fresh, it shouldn't be destroyed by different cosmetics.

- What is your day schedule if it's not a secret?

- I wake up at 7 o'clock. At 8 I'm in the gym, where we have choreography. From 9.30 till 10.00 is weighting and then goes the 1st training. It lasts 3, sometimes 4 hours. Then we have hour and half or 2 hours rest, massage, lunch. And then goes 2nd training, which ends at about 7 p.m

- What are you allowed to eat at lunch?

- Usually a piece of cheese and tea. Sometimes I can allow myself something tasty. I like tasty things very much! By the way, because of this reason, I try not to come to the kitchen at home. I can open the fridge and...nothing will prevent me from eating half of it (Laughing). For dinner I have some vegetable salad and fruit, but after competition I can eat my favorite spaghetti and pizza

- Do you have a favorite place in your flat? A bed, sofa, armchair?...

- I like everything where I can lie after the training.

- Do you have a favorite toy?

- Yes! It's my pekiness Tommy. He is 1,5 years old and likes me very much. When I return home after the competition, he runs around the whole flat from happiness. You can't imagine how much noise he makes then!

- Well, I can imagine. You aren't at home for a while...

- That's true, but what can I do? I've chosen rhythmic gymnastics myself and get over it's difficulties myself. 

- But aren't you bored of such life - trainings, airplane, competitions...All the same

- Sometimes I feel that I'm bored, but when I stay in Kyiv for 2 or 3 weeks, I understand that it's enough of normal life. I think when we'll go on the next trip and look forward to it. I don't think I could live in another way.

- You like such life even if you don't have a second of free time?

- I think I'm not old enough? I will have time for the private life. Everything is in the future...


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