Artur Dalaloyan gave an interview to VTB bank. Below is the English translation of the interview.
Q: Artur, do you think the current generation of the Russian MAG national team is very different from those who performed in the middle and at the end of the last decade? For example, more open, wanting to tell about their lives to the fans?
A: I think so. I know many of the guys who competed before us, the ones from the previous generation and even from an earlier one. And I feel that we are very different, and not only by being more open and active on social networks. For example, our attitude towards what we do is different, too.
Q: And what was wrong with their attitude?
A: Our generation, it seems to me, has more discipline. And we are much more aware of what we are doing. I do not want to say that we never allow ourselves to relax, such moments happen. But the approach to the training process, the attitude towards work is less lax, I guess.
Q: Why do you think this is the case?
A: I don’t even know. I got onto the main team not so long ago. So, personally, I just looked up to the guys who were already on the team. I looked at David Belyavskiy, Denis Abliazin, Nikita Ignatyev, Nikita Nagornyy. I saw their example all the time and I realized that I did not want to differ from them. Is it even possible to allow yourself to misbehave when the older guys to whom you look up behave correctly and set the tone?
Q: That is, to break the rules is now unfashionable on the Russian team?
A: Yes. We have other goals. We treat gymnastics as a job for which we are paid. And I shouldn’t slack on the job.
Q: Have you treated the sport this way even when you were younger?
A: Actually, my attitude has changed not so long ago. I used to think that I can do everything I want since I’m already on the team and I can enjoy myself. But then I realized that with this attitude I will not go far. The guys who I trained together with progressed while I stood in one place and had no progress at all. Then, I began to realize that my lack of discipline was at fault.
Q: What was it, exactly?
A: I allowed myself a lot of unnecessary stuff at the wrong time.
Q: And it’s not about eating milk chocolate at night, right?
A: No, it’s not about chocolate. But, actually, about chocolate, too. For a professional athlete, the diet should always be in the first place. And discipline, of course. For me, it was different. 18-19 years old is just the age when you become an adult and begin to feel the freedom, to understand how much fun you can have. I’d really like to dance with the girls and drink some alcohol. I haven’t always had the willpower to resist this and say to myself in time: “No, not now!”
Q: When did it click for you and you started to realize that you can’t continue this way?
A: Six months before the Rio Olympics. It just really clicked. I realized that I might miss my chance. I don’t think I need to tell how much the Olympics mean for an athlete. So, I threw all the unnecessary stuff aside, but it was too late. There wasn’t enough time.
Q: What did you feel when the guys returned from Rio de Janeiro with medals?
A: Of course, I was happy for the team. But I also really wanted to scold myself – all the time. Then I just decided to draw conclusions from this experience and continue working on my mistakes.
Q: Did you start thinking “Yes, I’m really great!” after the victory at the European Championships?
A: In fact, I did not feel extra proud. I knew that I would win medals as I put a lot of effort into the training. And honestly, I even expected more.
Q: But now you already have a rather big title. Many gymnasts end their careers without achieving results like that.
A: Actually, the main thing that these European Championships gave me was the opportunity to announce my presence. And I’m not talking just about the international field. First of all, I showed our senior coaches what I can do. They did not really believe in me and expected the worst. So, first of all, I’m proud because I could prove that I’m not just one of the many gymnasts who train with the team
Q: Why did you still fall from the pommel horse during the all-round finals?
A: My thoughts were ahead of my actions. This often happens. You have not finished one element in a combination, but you are already thinking about the next one. And if the element on which your thoughts “ran away” has not been drilled to automaticity, there are falls. The main thing is to keep your emotions in the right direction. I hope that in the future I will be able to do it much better.
Q: Do you continue using the social networks during important competitions?
A: Sure. We do have a fan group, people who are cheering for us, who want to know about our life. I believe that we need to keep them informed.
Q: How do you choose what to post on Instagram what not to post?
A: Depends on my mood. When I’m not in the mood, I want people to forget about me for a little bit. When I’m in the mood, I want them to give as many likes to my photos as possible. After all, this is attention, certain support. Honestly – I like it. I think, and other gymnasts like it, too. I am kind of feeding on these likes, getting a certain satisfaction.
Q: You, like many gymnasts, like to post topless photos. Is this kind of self-admiration?
A: Of course, like everyone else, I like that girls admire my body! Although I have a girlfriend and, in general, her admiration is enough for me. But topless photos are simply much more popular with subscribers than fully clothed ones. People comment on them more, and positive comments bring extra positive emotions.
Q: How did you meet your girlfriend?
A: This is a very cool story. I noticed Nastya quite a while ago – she often liked my photos. I visited her page, thought that she was beautiful, but I didn’t quite dare to write to her and get acquainted. And then, on December 30, I was at home watching TV and I realized that I really wanted to fly to Paris. It’s been my dream forever – to celebrate the New Year under the Eiffel Tower. So I thought: why not simply go and fulfill my dream since I have enough money? – and ordered the plane tickets for the next day. I flew to France, posted a photo from the airport. And at that time Nastya was traveling with her parents in Europe and was in Paris on the same days as me. She wrote to me, offered to show me the city. So we met and then together fulfilled my dream.
Q: What is your dream now? Besides the Olympic gold, of course.
A: I’m probably not going to tell you about my innermost dream. Because I believe that if I tell about it to someone, it won’t come true. Basically, after I’m done with gymnastics – after gymnastics I plan to do some crazy things, that is, to travel, to learn new things, not to sit in one place. I am absolutely sure that neither the coaching nor the office work suit me. I need a lot of drive! I live off emotions rather than peace and stability.
Q: It’s probably very hard for you to spend so much time in the gym, with its strict schedule and routine.
A: Yes, but you see, I learned to cope with this. I have to deal with it in order to reach my main goal.