Anna Bessonova: "I want as many children as possible to go in for sport"

- Anna, two years have passed since the moment when you decided to finish your career of gymnast. What are you doing now?
- I think that during those two years I finally realized what I want to do in my life. At first, I grabbed at anything I was offered. I wanted to try my hand everywhere - on television, in journalism and in various entertainment projects. Previously, I have not had time to think about such things, indeed. However, in the end, I did go back my roots – to the rhythmic gymnastics. I simply understood that my heart rests with the sport. Now I am of a coach of girls at the Deryugin School which became my other home long time ago.

- How hard it was to part with the active sport? You long did you think that decision over?
- I really wanted to finish my career immediately after the Olympics - 2008 in Beijing. But it so happened that in the next year I continued to actively participate in competitions and won one more medal at the world championship. After that, I finally made up my mind – it is the time to go. I think that this should be done with dignity when you are in top form, so fans will remember you the best, and not when you are no longer able to perform well.

- Have you put up with that?
- I still put up with it. But, thank God, I now have a very busy life which leaves no time for boredom. I still continue to perform a little, get in touch with my loved public, colleagues and coaches. The rhythmic gymnastics is still one of the first priorities in my life, and it is very important because I do not feel forgotten and lost.

- After your gymnast career was over, you very successfully proved yourself in dancing, becoming the winner of the TV Show "Dancing for Myself."
- Many people said that Bessonova was unfairly invited to this project because she supposedly knows everything already. They predicted my win ahead. Believe me, in the rhythmic gymnastics all is different. The only advantage that I had, it is my physical shape. I had just returned from the World Cup. And so I, like all other participants of the show, studied all over again. There were injuries and tears. Sometimes it seemed to me that we cannot reach the final at all. In any case - it was an unforgettable experience.

- Anna, you participated in a photo session of the men’s magazine «XXL». Did you ever think of the career of a model?
- No. I do not take those things seriously. Of course, it's nice when they make you just an unrecognizable beauty, and I'm not going to reject such proposals in future. But I cannot call it a job.

- What are the ambitions of the coach Anna Bessonova?
- It is too early to tell. After all, I'm working with very young girls. I still have much to learn, and I'm happy that I grasp the science of coaching under the guidance of the top specialists in this field - Albina and Irina Deryugin. Like at the time when I was a gymnast, I try to remember and take note of everything I am taught - it is an invaluable experience.

- You have won everything possible in the world rhythmic gymnastics. The only title that did not bend the nee to youself is the title of Olympic champion ...
- Of course, I would like to have in the asset Olympic gold. But after the Olympics in Beijing, I was left with the impression that they've got. It does not matter that I officially became the bronze medalist. The colossal work that has been done in preparation for the Olympics and everything that I had experienced directly during the competition, gives me reason to be proud of yourself. 

- The judging in gymnastics has always been given big rise to unfavorable criticism. Indeed, the scores in that sport are quite subjective. Have you ever been hurt by the judges?  

- Of course, there were moments when I was very disappointed. At first I was very worried and even going to give up sport. It is insulting when you have done a tremendous amount of work, trained despite the pain and discomfort and, as a result, you realize that everything has been decided already somewhere at the top. Thank God, Albina Nikolayevna and Irina Ivanova were always within, they comforted me and taught not to lose heart. I set myself so that I will perform for the audience which always supported me, for my family and friends, and for my coaches. If you can not change the situation, we should learn to enjoy your favorite things.

- Who can take the premier place among Ukrainian rhythmic gymnastics after you leave?
- At the moment, the number one of the team is Alina Maksimenko which has excellent prospects to grow into an excellent gymnast. She is young and the audience really love her, which is important in our sport. We all hope that she has enough strength and confidence, and she will be able keep those and even overpass the credentials she has already got. Apart from Alina, we have Rezatdinova Anna, Victoria Shinkarenko and Victoria Mazur who are also very promising.

- Last year, users of the popular web-site Sports bigmir)net. voted for you as the most beautiful athlete in the world. In this poll, you are ahead of Anna Kournikova, Magdalena Neuer, Alina Kabaeva and many other athletes. What is the secret of your beauty, Anna?  

- There is no secret at all. This is all the genes! (Laughs). Ashamed to admit it, but I've never kept to any diet and do not do that until now. Regular exercises help me to keep to a good physical shape.

- How is the football particular for you?

- Football blood is flowing inside me! (Laughs). Since my childhood and still I love football. Dad and I often discus matches and, even among themselves, make bets on a particular game.

- Do you have a favorite team?

- Apart from the national team of Ukraine and Dynamo Kyiv, I am a fan of national the team of Spain.

- What do you think Euro 2012 may bring to Ukraine?

- There is no doubt that this is a very important event for this country. Except for the 1980 Olympic Games, such large-scale events have not yet been hosted here. I believe very much that the European Championship, above all, provide a powerful incentive for the Ukrainian children to go in for sport. Exactly, a healthy nation is a guarantee of prosperity of any nation.

- Anna, how do you imagine the future NSC "Olympiyskiy"?

- I would love the stadium to be a place for the whole family. You should be able to come to the stadium with your child and do not feel the discomfort of getting close to a particularly rowdy fans.

- NSC "Olympiyskiy" is planning to open a child's development school. How do you feel about the idea of cooperation with the school?

- I have two hands "for"! Now I spend my master classes around the world, and I do not only demonstrate my skills, but also tell how beautiful sport is and what it could give a child.

- And at the end of our conversation, I would like to know what plans for the future does Anna Bessonova have?

- As it was before, the sport is in one of the first priorities in my life. Now I am participating in various social projects which try to attract children to sports activities and protect them from the pernicious influence of the street. I believe that if any child at least hears my advice, I perform my mission for good reason.

11 February 2012