USSR Olympic Champion on opening new gymnastics complex


USSR Olympic Champion on opening new gymnastics complex

Marina Lobach, the first USSR Olympic Champion in Seul (1988) in rhythmic gymnastics, has commented on the opening Rhythmic Gymnastics Palace.

— Mrs. Lobach, today we are in a dream, in a dream of any athlete, coach or sport official. We’ve been waiting for this for almost 10 years. How do you feel about the opening of a gymnastics sport palace?
It’s a very memorable event for us, for we’ve been getting to this moment for a very long time and we’ve always wanted a facility with such convenient sport condition. We can’t compare the old gyms we had had before with the new facility given to us by the city and the President.

— The whole sport complex is really impressive. It has training gyms, a gym for beginner athletes, aerobics and choreography rooms, a sauna, a swimming pool, a fitness center. Do modern athletes have a real necessity in all these?
Gymnasts always need to recover. And when we didn’t have such conditions our athletes had to go to other facilities, swimming pools to recover their physical abilities. For the world is always spinning, sport also marches forward. It becomes more challenging and we have to keep up with the times. In order for athletes to maintain their sport careers, such conditions are important.

— Mrs. Lobach, perhaps, back in the days the conditions were much poorer?
You know, I wouldn’t really speak about the past, for in that time you could say the conditions were cool. We had athletic gyms, we looked for a better gym with a higher ceiling, for I started my career in a gym where there was no ceiling at all. But what we had back then is one thing, it’s an old story, what we have now is a modern life.

— In the Rhythmic Gymnastics Palace, there are two neighboring gyms: for the national team and for the junior team. What is the purpose of this? Perhaps motivation?
In the first place, the palace itself is built for the national team. And only the best will be training here. It’s not easy for a junior athlete to get here. It takes years to see a potential in a kid. Of course there are kids who you can instantly call a good athlete, but you still need time to see what happens to this kid in the future. You have to consider their health, patience, energy and many other qualities required.

– Don’t you think that there could be some problematic consequences after the opening of the palace, for there will be many parents wanting their kids to attend particularly this super modern facility? What would happen to private gymnastics schools as they might face lack of new athletes?
There are many sport schools in our city where kids take their first steps. Then, there will be a selection amongst young athletes and only after they will have a chance to get into the national team, which means they would train in this complex.

– In your opinion, could we have a second Olympic champion or it’s just a myth?
Any person could say that there is nothing impossible in our world. You can’t say that it’s just a myth, but it’s really challenging and we will do our best to make this dream come true.

— What are your wishes to Belarusian rhythmic gymnasts?
Patience, keep the hard work going, be sure to love gymnastics in general. Our kids are usually captivated by gymnastics and they look up to coaches, senior athletes, who show high competitive results. They show kids their desire, their hard work, their ways of achieving goals, “infect” them with their positive energy. And of course we would like them to succeed, so our country gets high results on the international arena.