Elena Vitrichenko : "Thanks to gymnastics, for the lessons of life"

- Is birthday sad holiday? - Lena remember the words of the famous song, - I wouldn't say so. I don't like to celebrate my birthday at all. It's always nice to get presents, but I never celebrated it really. This year my birthday is the date I quitted rhythmic gymnastics. I am not sad about it too. Inside, I was ready for the retirement. In the beginning of the year I decided that my last competition will be on Grand-Prix in Deventer. I was so happy to compete there! I think I wasn't so happy of gymnasts in the whole my love. I was swimming in the dance, in the love of spectators and I didn't look on my scores. Only this year I understood the meaning of the fans. On that European Championships in Zaragoza many coaches were saying to me : "Lena, don't give up. What meaning have scores? Only numbers and nothing more. The love of spectators is much more important. They are your main judges". And when I saw many posters in Deventer "Vitrichenko - Olympic Queen Forever", I understood that many people came from France, Spain, Hungary to support me and to see me compete for the last time. The love of spectators is the best my achievement. Now I know that I gave gymnastics 20 years of my life and I don't want to change them.

- Lena, but what is next?

- I have a lot of plans, but I wouldn't like to tell them. I'm a student of the university. Maybe at last I will study normally (laughing). I didn't retire in RG, I will do some exhibitions. I said to the spectators in Deventer : "I won't say good-bye to you". Unfortunately, we don't have competitions among professionals, like in fugure skating or artistic gymnasts. I have a huge wish to open my own gymnastics school, but it's difficult to say where and when. It is also a question if I become a coach. I want to go to Bratislava, to study judge courses and to become a judge of the international category.

- Which kind of judge will be Elena Vitrichenko?

- Fair. I will never judge against the rules. I don't like RG to be called "dirty sport", I'd like to make it fair

-- Once you said that you'd like to be a journalist.

- I'm quite experienced there. I was a reporter of Music Radio and the newspaper "Den" in Sydney. I think it wasn't bad. It is easy to talk about sports, gymnastics, because it is my life. 

- Olimpics passed. What are your impressions from there? How will you remember the Games?

- I'd like to say, that the feeling of excitement, which I felt in Atlanta, I didn't fell this time. The thing isn't in the organisation. But I think that in these 4 years I participated in many complex competitions - on the Universiade in 1997, Goodwill Games 1998...The thing I liked on the Olympics was that at last I took photo with tennisplayer Gustavo Kuerten. I became friends with Brazillian group gymnasts and once we were coming from the training and we've seen Guga. I got acquanted and took a photo! Then I said to myself joking: "Well, now you've solved your main task"

- Well, and if to be serious, which feeling did you feel before the last rotation. You were third before the ribbon routine, in front of Alina Kabaeva.

- But I didn't know about that! After the routine, I straightly went to the training hall and started to practice the next routine. Alina was so self-confident. After her mistake on hoop, she came into the hall and smilling started to practice ball routine. Maybe that was a shock, I don't know

- Ribbon routine I finished among the first girls. Then I sat on the special chair and watched other girls finishing the competition. And I watched the table screen too. I didn't think of recieving the medal, because in that position it was quite impossible. I was happy that I competed how I could. I hoped only on the 5th place, because chances of Eva Serrano were much higher. I think I wasn't gymnastics granny. The competition could be seen by the whole world and spectators sometimes can understand even more than specialists. Oh, I've forgotten one funny moment. I didn't get the medal, but helped Yulia Raskina to win silver. The floor in Sydney was very specific and it was better to work in the German slippers, which ones I wore. Yulia Raskina didn't have such slippers and suffered a lot. So I lent her my slippers. By the way, girls call me "mom", because I always helped everyone or lent something.  In Deventer girls were crying : "Lena, how will we do without you!"

- And in the end, some short question. What is the brightest you remember with the word "gymnastics"?

- My mom

- And the darkest?

- Judges and scores

- The most important event in your life?

- European Championships in Zaragoza.

- ???

- After Europeans 200 I changed a lot of my minds. I discovered a lot of new things, opened new horizonts.

- You got acquanted with ... thanks to gymnastics...

- Sergey Bubka, Leonid Kuchma, prince of Monako Albert and many other interesting people. 

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