Oksana Skaldina: "Circus gymnastics isn't for me"

(translation: Marianne Adams)

Ukrainian gymnast Oksana Scaldina, who has many top titles, at 20 years old finished her career in sport and moved with her husband to Moscow. However, she does not forget Kiev, and takes every opportunity to visit it. After the birth of her daughter Daria, she has not been here for 2 years. With some struggles she managed to come to Derugina Cup. Maybe not so much did she want to see the Cup, as much as to simply take a breath of Kiev's air.

- From the first days of the existence of Derugina Cup, you where one of it's contenders. Is today's gymnastics very different from that one, from your years?

The atmosphere really pleased me, lots of spectators, warms. As for gymnastics, I did not see anything that would be new for me. And to be honest, I don't like this kind of gymnastics. Very little is left from the understanding “rhythmic.” What is worse that anything - the apparatus technique is not seen. The girls do fantastic jumps, stay in balances, do turns, but nobody can handle the apparatus. It has to live in the gymnast's hands, but it is dead. The recognized leaders of apparatus handling - Bulgarians - did not do difficult throws and illusion turns under them, but had fantastic handling if the ball, ribbon, clubs, hoop and rope. Maybe according to the new COP, when you have to stick into the program so many difficulties - balances, jumps, tricks, - it is unreal to think about it. But I think rhythmic gymnastics is when the apparatus, gymnast and music are a whole.

- The public was impressed by the performance of Russian Alina Kabaeva. What can you say about her?

I don't think that a smile - is emotionality. Everyone who first saw Alina was stunned by the easiness of her performance. At first, I was also impressed by her. But, when for four years in a row you see just a smile and nothing else, it gets boring. Right now I only see mistakes in her. For example “dirt” in her legs.
Acrobatic moves probably should exist, but rhythmic gymnastics is not circus. Such direction is not in my taste. I think it's a step back, not forward. 

- A few words about our young gymnasts.

I remain a fan of my coach, and I like everything what does Albina Nikolaeva. I love Ukrainian gymnastics; beautiful girls, interesting programs. Tamara Erofeeva is pretty good, she does difficult things, but she makes many mistakes. At such level, you can't have flaws. You have to grow. Tamara is still very young, and she has great abilities. At the World Youth Games she showed a great composition with the hoop,
and created a good impression. 

- You work with Anna Shishova. How did Moscow accept the coach Oksana Scaldina?

At first - coldly. I had many difficulties. But now, I already feel like a muscovite. I work at a sports club under the same roof with Irina Viner. I don't contend for a high level, but 3-4 of my girls get into Russian top ten. I compose the routines and choose the music myself.

- The leading positions are now taken by the young. The twenty year olds are now set aside, on the podium appear 15 year olds. How do you evaluate this situating?

Rhythmic Gymnastics became a commercial sport. When you are in the lead, you get good money. That's why the younger girls “get out of their skin” to get into the lead. I am not against the older gymnasts competing for long. But if you want to stay in the lead, you have to maintain at good level, to change, to look for something new, but our girls are “going with the same baggage.” Gymnastics will not stay on the one place. The younger will bring the influence of their time. That's why the older gymnasts frequently loose to the new generation.

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