Igor Radivilov, the silver medalist on vault at Worlds, was chosen as the Athlete of the Month by the Ukrainian Olympic Committee. It was the first award of this kind for Radivilov. In an interview to iSport.ua he talks what the award means to him and also recalls his experience at Worlds:
A: When I learned that I became the athlete of the month, I was surprised and very happy because it was my first time. I’m grateful to the NOC for this recognition. I haven’t been following other athletes this month, I was focused on my own competitions, so this win became a surprise for me.
Q: One of the other nominees for the award was Oleg Verniaiev who also won a Worlds silver. What did he say to you when he learned that you’ve become the best this month?
A: He also congratulated me, he was happy for me. To be honest, this was my mini-dream, mini-goal. I’m winning a lot of medals but something’s been always lacking to become the best in the NOC’s opinion.
Q: Going back to the Worlds, what was your reaction when you saw that you only lost the gold on vault by 0.001?
A: First of all, I was happy for the medal. A Worlds medal means a lot. There had been this dark period in my career when I stayed out of the medals but I hope that it’s ended now because I managed to win a medal at Euros, several medals at World Cups and a medal at Worlds.
I was just happy then. Only later I started to process it, when people from around the world, athletes, started writing to me that I won in the final and that I should’ve been given the gold. Only then I started thinking about it. In 2014 I lost by 0.033, this time – by 0.001. Hopefully, a victory will come soon.
Q: How difficult were these Worlds for you?
A: For me, I guess, these were the easiest World Championships. When we had arrived, I immediately felt some sort of confidence in myself. I was 95% sure I’d do my routines well. And that’s what happened. At the end, there were two finals and one medal. This is a very good result. There was a mistake on rings, I missed some things, even though I came in 6th. Now I’ll know how to work and what to change. The medal in the vault final was hard to achieve but I felt calm. Deep inside, I knew that I could win a medal.
Q: Is the competition level higher now?
A: Yes, the competition is very serious. Many people with more difficult vaults than mine didn’t make the final. They decided to take a risk and fell, not making the final. Maybe, ten people.
And even I was mostly focusing on rings in my preparation in order to win a medal or finish near the medalists. Rings are more consistent – you came there, you had the strength, you did your routine – and that’s it. On vault, though, no matter how much experience you have, it’s still a 50/50 chance, whether you stuck it or not.
Q: If we compare your Worlds medal from China and this one, which is more important to you?
A: This one, from Montreal. I was experiencing a slight crisis after the Rio Olympics, I didn’t have a desire [to continue]. I wanted to prove myself, but it was hard forcing myself to do it. After the Euros, I’ve been satisfied by about 50% and now – by 80%. A Worlds medal says that I’m staying at the highest level and I’m only going forward.
Q: Before the Olympics, the FIG approved the new vault – the Radivilov, but later it’s been banned.
A: It’s a difficult vault and that’s why it’s banned now. Officially it’s banned because I’m the only one who does a triple front vault. But we want to ask to allow this vault again. Because the thing is that the new equipment is accommodating more difficult vaults. Right now, the manufacturers of the new vault table are consulting with us. It has springs now which makes the execution of the Radivilov more possible and less traumatic.
We were at the World Cup in Paris and the representatives of Gymnova approached me and asked whether I like the vaulting table, whether it gives enough of a push. I said that one part gives in under the hands, but another part pushes better. I gave a professional advice. And they changed it by the Worlds and made the vault more comfortable for all athletes.
Right now, until the Tokyo Olympics, no one’s changing the rules, but we hope that the vault will be permitted in the next cycle. I want to compete it again. And then, who knows, a good execution of this vault will guarantee medals for a whole cycle. Currently, I’m training, thinking of upgrading the vaults I’m doing now, but it’s work for the future. Right now I want a vacation. The World Cup in Germany is ahead and then the well-deserved vacation.