Kaniskina to compete in Moscow | 27.10.2012
|Russian race walker Olga Kaniskina.|
There cannot be too many walkers in the world who have received such an accolade as coming under the OK spotlight, but the former Olympic and current world champion Kaniskina certainly fulfils the criteria of having carved a significant niche for herself in the eyes of the Russian public.
Apart from the usual chit-chat about cuisine and lifestyle, edition 42 was useful for clarifying that Kaniskina has finally made up her mind about at least the near future. After being unsure of her plans post-Olympics, she has now finally committed herself to competing at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow next summer.
“Right after the London Olympics, I did not want to continue,” explained the 27-year-old. “I thought it was my last meeting. It was agreed between me and my coach. But after that I was asked if I would stick around one more year because the World Championships are in Moscow. Valentin Vasileyevich Balakhnichev, president of the Russian athletics federation, said to us: ‘Guys, you are always competing abroad, now at least let your fans see and touch you at home.’
“So I am pre-selected for the next championships as the fourth member of the squad. According to the rules, you can pick three team members plus one more if they are reigning world champion.”
So one of the most successful careers in race walking is due to be extended at least one more year. The glory years for Kaniskina started in 2007 when she collected the first of three World Championship gold medals, in between times picking up Olympic gold in Beijing and European Athletics Championship gold in Barcelona 2010.
This being OK they were duly impressed by the fact that despite being “blonde” she is also a student of mathematics, but Kaniskina was matter of fact about it: “In school, maths came easily to me and I decided to take the easy path and enter the maths department at university.” But Kaniskina had a surprise up her sleeve when she revealed she also studied fashion at the same time.
In which case, what did she think about when she was walking 20km? If they were expecting something along the lines of mathematical formulas they were to be disappointed: “Nothing at all,” came the answer. “I just think about my technique. We compete in a sport where you may not always finish: three fouls and you are out!”
Within the world of race walking, Kaniskina is as close to being a star as is possible. Was there such a thing as ‘star fever’ in her world? “If there is,” she replied, “we have the perfect antidote in Viktor Chegin (coach). He once said, if a person is talented they should show it and if they are only a little talented and work hard they will do better than someone more gifted. So I asked him, ‘Am I talented?’ And he said, ‘What! Of course not!’”