Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee has named Igor Radivilov November’s Athlete of the Month – this is the second time Radivilov has earned this honor.
Q: Did you expect to become the Athlete of the Month in Ukraine for the second time?
A: We had a World Cup – a competition that will affect our rating during the next season. Many other sports, on the other hand, are off-season now. That helped me to become the best this month. I didn’t expect that I’d be able to compete that successfully in Germany because there were really strong gymnasts from Asia who always compete at a high level. But I managed to do everything, I did my routines well, won two medals. I’m happy and the awards are the consequence. The main work was done and this is the result. It’s nice to get awards but you have to work to get them.
Q: Will the team manage to achieve high results next year, without Oleg Verniaiev?
A: Currently, it all depends on the younger gymnasts. On their desire, on their work, on their striving. When it comes to me, I’m always a team player. I’m sure that Oleg will recover fast, he’s a young guy. But now it will be an experiment for the team without Oleg. I think it’s a great push for the guys who used to be in the shadow, in the reserve. To show that they deserve to be on the team and to compete at Euros, Worlds, and Olympics.
Q: Many have this impression that [Ukrainian] gymnastics is basically carried by two people – Oleg Verniaiev and Igor Radivilov…
A: All of us are working in the same gym, shoulder to shoulder. Everyone’s working, everyone’s going to competitions, winning medals. This year Zhenya Yudenkov won medals, Petro Pahniuk won World Cup medals. I believe that you have to put the whole team in the spotlight, all 8 people including the reserve guys. Because otherwise, a person goes to competition, becomes a European champion, but no one has heard of him. You have to promote the whole gymnastics team. Because of that people say that the team consists of one or two people even though it’s not true. It’s the issue with our sport. You won a medal – great, but if the team doesn’t win it’s taken as if the team doesn’t do anything… No, they all are working, everyone’s bringing the medals. Someone brings more, someone brings less. But somehow no one talks about it.
Q: Oleg Verniaiev went to the Maldives. Where are you going for the New Year’s break?
A: For now, I’m planning to visit my parents. Right now I’m recovering from competitions. The preparation [for the new season] will start on January 3rd, and from January 10th I’ll start proper training so that I’d approach the middle of March in an optimal shape. The World Cup in Qatar will start then and the next competitions.
If you like Gymnovosti, consider supporting us on Patreon.