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Interview with Viktoria Semerenko by Maria Osolodkina, Translated by Anastasiya Mironets

Posted on June 25, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Vita is an excellent half of one whole Ukrainian miracle named Semerenko. They are always together, supporting each other in tough moments and rejoicing when they win. Vita is very similar to Valya by appearance, but the sisters are completely different. They are united by great diligence, perseverance and love for biathlon. At first glance, Vita seemed to be a somewhat reserved and uncommunicative person. But when we got to know each other better, she appeared to be as easy-going as her sister. However, when talking to her, you see that it's not quite true. Before answering the question, Vita looks inside herself. Just a minute ago she was laughing and joking, and a minute later you see a thoughtful look and a slightly sad smile, as if Vita was in her dream world.

Valya has already told about her parents' home, dad, mom and sister in another interview. But the girls also have their own families and our fans must be interested in Vita’s life outside biathlon.

 

- Vita, do you have any special talismans?

- To be honest, last year I even put on certain clothes before the start. But this year I told myself not to believe in this nonsense. Indeed, in most cases you believe in such things when you are not very good at something.

- Do you communicate with athletes from other teams? Who of them can be an example for you when it comes to work?

- We communicate mainly with Russian biathletes. As for work, a lot of athletes work hard. But only 30 per cent of them are natural talents and the remaining 70 are achieving their results through hard work. For example, Neuner is a good runner. I also watch Makarainen, she works well not only on the tracks but also at the shooting range.

- But last year she was not that successful.

- Yes, not that much, but at least she tried. By the way, I watched her last year, and her results were not good at all. Now I see that she has changed the skiing equipment, she currently uses "Fisher" and has become much stronger on the track.

- You are known as an incorrigible patriot. But have you ever got any offers from other teams, because you and your sister are very strong and promising biathletes?

- No one told me about it personally. But I know that if Valya and me do not compete for Ukraine, then it will be a big minus for the team.

- The Sochi Olympic games are approaching, will you have any special preparations or adhere to your usual training plan?

- Honestly, I still cannot even imagine how it will be. But I know that my mood will be different, I will be more confident and not as distressed as I was in Vancouver. Anyway, I'll try. Indeed, exactly because of my embarrassment in Vancouver everything didn’t work out as we expected.

- And there’s more stress at the Olympics?

- Olympics are held every four years. At last Olympics I was a team leader. There were high expectations of coaches, fans, and my own as well. I understood that I bore a great responsibility. But eventually the burden of responsibility and expectations negatively impacted the results.

- How emotionally do you endure failures?

- I am a very vulnerable person. I’ve always thought that I was a very strong athlete, but somehow I became very resentful. However, I am well aware that this is not correct. One must learn to cope with emotions, to be stronger.

- How are you going to cope with this problem?

- The most important thing for me is to stay on my own for a while, because sometimes I can do stupid things and then regret it. Once I calm down, I want to talk to someone, understand and analyze my mistakes.

- When you became an athlete, you had expectations. Were they met? Or did you face the unexpected difficulties?

- I can say that partially yes. My expectations are being gradually met and I am confident that all of my dreams will eventually come true.

- Did you ever regret choosing biathlon as occupation?

- No, never. Biathlon is a very interesting and exciting kind of sports. A lot of adrenalin is released during the races, especially in the pursuit. Unusual excitement appears during the pursuit, as the things are constantly changing there. It is important to be able to stop in time before shooting in order to avoid bad shots. But when you're in good form and control yourself, then everything must work out well. It’s always a great pleasure to show good results.

- If you were not a biathlon athlete, what occupation would you choose? Would it be connected with sports?

- Honestly, I find it hard to say because I never thought about this issue. I’ve been going in for sports since childhood. When you give away all your youth to sports, you know that you should completely commit to it. The life of an athlete is divided into two parts. The first part is with sports, and the second one is without it.

- Have you thought about what will happen next?

- Honestly, after the Olympics I was so disappointed that I started to think about the future. At that moment it even had a negative impact on my results. It’s good that I managed to get myself together and draw conclusions.

 

- You are always with your sister at world cups. Do you fight?

- Sometimes. Especially after the bad races that negatively impact the mood. I need someone to pour out the negative. And who is near me? My sister, my full blood. After that I think: Vita, what are you doing? Only because of this we fight. But in general it’s very nice to have a near and dear person in the team to trust and seek advice from.

- Who usually makes the first step towards reconciliation?

- It depends on the reason for fighting. Sometimes Valya approaches first, sometimes I do. Sometimes we put up on the same day, sometimes the next day. Valya and I are both Capricorns, both stubborn.

- When you are at home, how often do you see your sister?

- We live relatively far away from each other. Of course it’s faster to go by car, but if you go by bus, then it will take you about 40 minutes. Upon arrival it happens that we don’t see each other for a couple of days, but we miss each other soon. I do not know about Valya, but I really miss her. I am constantly thinking about how she is doing, what she is doing and what she is thinking about. Sometimes it’s enough for me just to sit beside her for five minutes and then go home. It’s interesting for me how she lives and what she has bought during the last days. When I visit her, I walk around the apartment, looking out what’s new. And Valya does the same. She comes and says: I have not been here for such a long time, what a nice place.

- Please tell us a little about your husband. How did you meet him?

- My husband is a childhood friend of mine. We’ve known each other since we were in petticoats. We grew up together and were neighbors. We even once measured the distance from his door to my door - it was two meters. Of course, at first we were just friends. We had fought and given nicknames to each other, and later it turned out to be love.

- How old you were when you realized that he was your significant other?

- With Andrew, we started dating back in tenth grade, it lasted one year. At first we were getting to know each other. And when I left school, I realized that he was the man I needed. We’ve been dating for five years before getting married. He was a professional football player. He played for Donetsk’s Shakhtar and studied in Donetsk university. And when we had started dating, he realized that in case of moving to Donetsk he would lose me. Therefore my husband left football for my sake. But he still adores football, and sometimes I’m even jealous of him for football. At first it had annoyed me, and then I put up with it. When it’s possible, I can watch football with him and even comment on it. However, he puts me to sleep in such cases, saying: "Thank you very much, but I don’t need your comments.”

- How did his parents react to the fact that his son married an athlete?

- I will never forget the words of Andrew’s mother. When he went to Donetsk, she told him: “Be careful, as someone may take away the girls” and he told her: “Don’t worry mom, there are two of them!”

- You said that your husband abandoned football for your sake, but what is he doing now?

- Do what, perhaps, I should do. Andrew has to take care of hearth and home and do household chores. Besides, we are both students of the same university (Ukrainian Academy of Banking Industry), and with my frequent absences, he helps me with studying: literature search, information, etc.

- What is the relationship between your and Valya’s husbands? Do they meet each other, maybe watch the races together?

- Two lovely guys will always find a common language, especially since they have so much in common: me and Valya!

- Did Andrew visit world cups with you?

- Not yet. I’d like to arrange it for him, but we haven’t managed to do it yet. However, I hope everything will shape well this season.

- How does your family usually watch the race? Do the relatives just gather together at home or have any special “watching rituals”?

- Well, as a rule they just sit and watch. I know that my husband has his own "little ritual", but I don’t even try to find out the details – that’s useless! Football players are terribly superstitious people.

 

 

 

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