Italy invites Buyanova as a coach by Roman Fomin

27 october 1998


Not so long ago finished the 4th international tournament in rhythmic gymnastics in memory of Oxana Kostina. The organizers made huge efforts in order to make the tournament possible after two years without it. The main inspirator of this tournament is Olga Buyanova, the coach of Oxana Kostina. In the eve of the competition it was very difficult to find her. Now when this competition is already a history we talk to her.

Q: What are your impressions from the tournament?
A: Very pleasant. The people of Irkutsk waited for this competition. Before we were able to organize it, I received many questions: will be there a competition and I answered yes, without beeing certain. I am very glad that we made it reality. It would have been so unfortunate if this competition was cancelled one more time. In the past years we developed an organizing mechanism which could have been broken if the competition was cancelled several times in succession. The competition passed at a very high level. The hall was full - this is the most objective grade for our work. Many people called me after the competition to thank me for the happiness we have given them. I have a moral satisfaction that the memory of Oxana is alive. But if we talk about the performances of the irkutsk gymnasts, then I can say that they did what they could do, they could not jump more than their ability allows. It is not possible 2 years after Naliya Lipkovskaya to raise a new gymnast at a top class. For that we need 5 to 7 years. But the audience remembered the Irkutsk girls. The young Evgenia Govorina and Nadejda Stepanova will show more of themselves in the future. . .

Q: What will you say about the other participants?
A: The gymnasts who participated were very strong. Many of them will go maybe to the Olympic games. Maybe there will go Yulia Raskina and Valeria Vatkina, for a place in Sidney will compete Irina Chashchina (the winner of the tournament), Yulia Barsukva and Olga Belova.

Q: Now many people speak and write about Kabaeva. What do you think about her?
A: She is certainly a very unique girl. She combines in herself everything one gymnast needs. She is so flexible that she is able to bend herself in all directions. She has big jumping abilities, like a ball. She works very well with the apparatuses, very artistic. Also she is clever, intelligent. At the age of 15 she literally exploded with all her abilities and outshined all her competitors. Now she is without a doubt the leader. Of course we have had this kind of phenomena before, but those who were able to stand the pressure were not many. So the question is will she be able to stay in the top for a longer time, will she be able to carry her fame, will she resist the "star illness". At this very young age it is difficult to be psychologically steady...Very much depends on how the coaches work with her. They have to give her more rest, they must not overload her with many competitions. This talent has to be kept very carefully.

Q: Is it possible to compare Alina Kabaeva and Oxana Kostina?
A: There is no sense to try to compare them. If we compare their physical abilities, then Oxana had only 30% of what Alina possesses. But she fascinated the people with something else. Oxana was performing on the floor, and then everybody in the hall was freezing in his place and was watching her without moving. You could never mistake her with somebody else, because she had her own style. Even her music was so characteristic as if this music was specially written for her. Oxana could go to the top because of her immense labour. She used at the utmost all her creative energy. She did not make big jumps in her career but she was progressing step by step, chasing her goal. It is interesting to me to work with this kind of gymnasts like Oksana Kostina or Natalia Lipkovskaya. They are not so talented with their body but they are talented with their soul. All my champions I have made from girls with completely average abilities. Although I may admit it would be very pleasant to a coach to work with the gymnasts from the new generation. For example we spent 2 hours for stretches per day, and see, with Kabaeva you need just 15 minutes. Can you imagine what economy of precious time this is?! But I have to say all this gymnasts look much alike. Their programs seem so similar that you cannot distinguish them. Of course, there is a set of elements you cannot do without, but in order to be different from the mass, you have to have your own style. This is achieved with a very very hard work. Already we can notice some elements of style appearing in the perfromances of Evgenia Govorina.

Q: It is well know that you are invited to work in Italy. Can you tell us more details.
A: They offered me to be the main coach of their national team. The term of the contract is one year. Now there is a big interest toward the RG in the European countries. Many coaches from Russia, Belorussia and Ukraine are invited to work abroad. Until this moment a coach from Belorussia was working with the Italians but she could not achieve great success. She is very good as a coach but in her list there are no students at high world level. Maybe she did not have much experience.

Q: What tasks did they put in front of you?
A: Preparation for the Worlds in Osaka next year. I will try that the Italians qualify for the Olympic games 2000.

Q: How realistic is this task?
A: Very difficult. I already went to Italy to meet the girls. They are of course not bad but they are already formed gymnasts. The system of their preparation was not compatible with mine. And for one year, I can do very little, I am not a magician. If I work with the youngsters for 5 years, then I will have good results.

Q: But you agreed?
A: I need the challenge, that is typical of me. I can still continue to work successfully in Irkutsk but I need new tasks. I have never had the task to be responsible for one whole national team. I had an invitation to work in Germany but I refused because at that time I was still working with Natalia Lipkovskaya. Now I am free and I decided to risk. But I have still not signed the contract. In November I go to Italy one more time and everything will be finalized then.

Q: Are you not afraid to leave all the local gymnasts for one whole year?
A: I am not the only one trainer in Irkutsk. We alwys work as a team: Antonina Isaeva, Elena Somova, Oksana Gritskih, Nina Muratova, Yulia Novikova. Whatever problems they have, they will be able to solve them. I am interested not only of the work abroad. I want to broaden my view, to learn more about a beautiful and ancient country.

Thanx to Kirilka Nikolova for the translation and the attention :))