Dina and Arina Averina “We don’t like to be apart”

Dina and Arina Averina, by Vive Valeque
Dina and Arina Averina, by Vive Valeque

Interview made by Aleksey Rokotov for openrov.ru, after the European Championships in Budapest. Original post here.

Even Irina Viner Usmanova was impressed with your performance during the European Champions. But are the Averina twins pleased with their competition?
Dina :  During the first day I made a mistake with hoop, but I corrected it during the finals. While during the second day my ribbon routine wasn’t very clean (Dina won with both apparatus an.). The routine with clubs pleased me the most but I was only second behind my sister (laughs). That’s women’s logic : I’m not pleased by the routines that made me win, while on the contrary I’m satisfied with the one that brought me silver.
Arina : I’m more pleased than my sister by the competition (smiles). Of course there were some details I need to work on during the training process, but almost everything was fine.

By the way, how did you managed to choose the apparatus you wanted to compete with?
Dina : Irina Aleksandrovna left the choice to us. Arisha choosed ball and clubs, while I preferred clubs and hoop. Then the ribbon routine was assigned to me, because Arisha had a little injury and told us it would have been difficult for her to perform 3 routines.

During the event finals, Arina beat her sister and took the gold. Then Dina stated in interview that she’s even happier because of her sister’s victory. Aren’t you competing against each other?
Arina : Dina and I are not rivals. The most important result for us is to see on the higher step of the podium a Russian gymnast, her last name : Averina.
Dina : Actually only recently we ended the competition between us, when we were little there was only the competition between us. I always got mad when my sister overcame me (smiles). This constant competition between us helped our progress in gymnastics. Now that there’s no more rivalry between us I’m happier for Arina than for me, as she’s for me.

Dina and Arina Averina, by Vive Valeque
Dina and Arina Averina, by Vive Valeque

Personally is very difficult to distinguish you. And I’m sure that even fans and probably, judges during the competition has the feeling of you as one single person. Many twins dislike being confused. How do you feel about that? 
Arina : On the contrary we’ve always liked to be perceived as one. Even when we were little, and we were almost alike, everyone got confused, except the intimates, but we never felt umconfortable about that. Now as we grow up more and more can see the differences between us. In Russian Team everyone recognize who is Dina and who’s Arina.
Dina : Also the way we perform is very different. For example If Irina Aleksandrovna couldn’t distinguish our faces, she would suddenly understand who is who by our movements on the carpet. Judges still get confused, but we don’t compete to the other’s place. We could even get disqualified for 2 years (smiles).

Looks like you also have two very different personalities. Dina smiles, laughs, while Arina is always serious. Or are you just shy with the guys you don’t know?
Arina : You know, we are very nice with the other guys (smiles). Our problem isn’t that we are attracted by the same guys, It’s just that we don’t have time between the training and competition.

The gymnasts self discipline always surprised me. You’re very young but you just focus on your sport. When you were younger did you realize the many years of sacrifices that requires professional sport?
Arina : Of course we knew, because of our older sister Polina. She practiced rhythmic gymnastics too, but then she chose study over gymnastics. Our sister is very smart she graduated with the best mention. Dina and I weren’t good enough at school to leave sport (laughs).
Dina : And when we were little we really enjoyed training! We went to bed and we woke up with only one thought, doing gymnastics. Arisha and I dreamed about European and World Champions and the Olympics. We were ready to work hard.
Arina : Also we’ve been very lucky with our coaches. In Zavolzhye we trained with Larisa Viktorovna Belova (mother and coach of Irina Belova, Olympic champion in Sidney 2000 an.). She taught us a lot. When we moved to Novogorsk we started training in Russian Team under the guide of Vera Nikolaevna Shatalina, who is our current coach.
Dina : Also Irina Aleksandrovna Viner-Usmanova  gave a lot to us. From the outside she looks very serious and strict but when it comes to her athletes she is always very approachable, to show and explain the correction we need to apply. She’s very wise. But It’s better not to argue with her (laughs).

Arina Averina and Irina Viner, by Oleg Naumov
Arina Averina and Irina Viner, by Oleg Naumov

Finally your dreams are coming true. The European Championships was a triumph for both of you. As we look forward to the next competitions, the World Championships in Italy are close, fans are really curious to see you competing here. But just right after the European Championships Irina Viner has stated that she hasn’t decided yet who will compete in Pesaro. Isn’t she too strict?
Arina : There is still a lot of time and competitions before the World Championships. Israel Grand Prix, Berlin and Kazan World Challenge. We will have to prove we are the best. And we have a very strong rival, Aleksandra Soldatova (two times world champion an.). At the Grand-Prix and World Challenge there will be 3 gymnasts competing for Russia while at the World Championships only two will hve the chance to compete. We both are wish to be in Italy at the end of August.
Dina : In general we don’t like to be apart. It’s boring and unusual for us not to be together. Even when we tickle fight, we have to stay close!