Interview with Yana Kudryavtseva, Pesaro 2014

Yana Kudryavtseva (RUS)

Interview with Yana Kudryavtseva, the youngest world champion of rhythmic gymnastics. Original article was written in italian by Darina Yarish of, many thanks to her!  Here the link, of the interview made at Pesaro World Cup.

Hi Yana, lately in Italy you’re very popular. So I wanted to write an article about you and tell your story, specially to let know to the young girls something more about their idol.

When and how did you start to practice rhythmic gymnastics?
I started practicing rhythmic gymnastics when I was 4 years old, but I started to practice as professional only at the age of 5. At the beginning I wasn’t able to do anything, Let’s say It was just for fun. My father introduced me to the sport, because he knew some coaches of rhythmic gymnastics. At the beginning I didn’t like it because I wasn’t very talented but then I gradually improved and discovered new things, so I decided to stay in this sport. My father didn’t wanted me to start the agonistic career, but just to do it for myself. Because as an athlete, swimming olympic champion, he didn’t wanted for me the hard life of a professional athlete. But finally I persuaded him to let me stay in the sport.

Who were your idols and models when you were a child?
I tried to take from every gymnast their best qualities, but I really liked Natalia Godunko, she was my favorite gymnast. But my models and idols were also Alina Kabaeva and Irina Tchachina, from each of them I tried to learn my best.

Which is your favorite apparatus?
Well I haven’t a real favorite one, but I really enjoy ball.

2013 was your first year as senior gymnast, and you immediately achieved many great results, like the world title in Kiev. How did you feel that moment?
In fact it was not all so simple as it seems. At the beginning of the year I wasn’t selected in the top 4 of russian team. I competed only at international tournaments like here in Italy for the Tournament Città di Pesaro. But I couldn’t compete at the Grand Prix events.
Then there were many gymnasts injuried or sick and I was sent to Sofia in Bulgaria for the World Cup, where I was able to won the competition. After that I was sent to many other important events like the World Championship in Kiev (tn. and the European Championship in Vienna where she conquered 3 gold medals). I’m really glad and proud of my results in Kiev, even If it was quite unexpected.

Yana Kudryavtseva (RUS)

How do you prepare yourself before to enter on the carpet?
I do the warm up and I tried to calm down by telling myself: “Be quiet, stay strong, you’ll be able to do everything.” Then just few moments before to compete I repeat to myself all the elements I have to do, I speak to my apparatus and I enter  just like every other gymnast.

Would you describe your typical training day?
In the morning it depends on the day but usually we start at 9am or 9.30 with choreography (ballet at the bar ed.). So I get up at 8am and I have my breakfast. Then I start 9am choreography followed by the first training that hasn’t a set time. After we go for lunch, and we have about an hour to rest, read or watch a movie. In the afternoon we have a second training that hasn’t a set time too. In the evening when I finish my work in the gym I have freetime.

What’s the secret to reach success in rhythmic gymnastics?
I don’t think there’s a secret. You just have to train and listen to your coach, work tirelessly is the only secret to succeed.

In Italy many gymnasts forget about their first coach. From what we know your coach has been training you for many years. Do you think this helped you during your career?
First of all my I want to say that my first coach was Ekaterina Valentinovna Pankova, who now continued to train in Moscow and who was a gymnast of my current coach. She has given ​​a huge contribution to my growth and I am very grateful to her for this.
But I’ve been training with my current coach
Elena Lvovna Karpushenko in a very long time, 7 years. We know each other very well and we work very well together. I think that the fact of working always with the same person really helps me.

What’s your tip for the young gymnasts who want to be like you?
I’m not an expert in giving advices, but I think is to train, listen to your coach, don’t contradict her and don’t get nervous during trainings, don’t reproach or slap your apparatus and you’ll be able to get what you want, God sees everything.

Do you like Italy?
Yes of course. Italy organizes every year one of my favorite competitions here in Pesaro. Every year I look forward to this competition, because I really like the atmosphere and the people who support me so much. In fact my favorite competitions are in Italy and Japan. I hope to go to Japan this year, the dream of going to Italy this year has already come true!

Thank you very much Yana and see you the next year in Pesaro.

Yana Kudryavtseva (RUS)