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Anastasia Gorbenko: "Dedicates the medal to my grandmother who is in Ukraine" | Israel today


The European champion in swimming for the second time in a row is released after a difficult year: "I'm starting to understand what I did, I saw what levels of pain I can handle" • On the dramatic competition in the pool: "I even thought I was in third place" • And the dream: "I want to advance on the Olympic stage" • Special interview from Rome

In the lobby of the "Ergife" hotel in Rome, Anastasia Gorbenko sits a day after winning the gold medal for the second time in a row in the 200 meter medley, and all that is going through her mind now is to finish the interview and board the flight for the family vacation in Crete.

Gorbenko, who celebrated her 19th birthday ten days ago, has not had an easy year since the Olympic Games, both in personal decisions and in the load of competitions that were drained for a short period, due to postponements from the Corona days, so the break (the relatively short of two weeks), gives her some air for breathing

The great swimmer proved once again that she is made of the stuff of champions, when very few Israeli athletes - at all - manage to retain their title.

Be sure that when she returns from vacation she will start working vigorously on the next goal - the World Championships in short pools in December.

"Now I'm starting to understand what I did," says Gorbenko in a special interview with Israel Hayom.

"It wasn't easy to keep the title. It's easier to get it the first time. I have time until the third time, but from time to time it becomes much more difficult."

What went through your head when you hit the wall at the end?

"I didn't really see where I was and the board was quite far away, so I had to take the binoculars down and know where I was. I somehow saw that I was in third place, but according to the pain I felt that I was in second place and as soon as I realized that I was first, it was just wow, when I saw the ranking then everything suddenly came loose for me ".

You came very focused for this ointment.

"I had a lot of goals this season and I was very, very stable in this race in the last year. I was many times at 2:10.00 minutes. I really set a goal for myself to come here to Rome and keep the title."

How did you feel when you stood on the podium and sang the hope?

"Mostly liberation. It takes time to digest such a thing, so even on the podium I still didn't realize that I had done it, but there is nothing more exciting than voicing hope in a new place."


"As soon as I realized I was first, it was just wow", photo: Oren Aharoni

What responses did you get?

"A lot of people wrote well done, that I'm a cannon and congratulated us. It's fun to receive so many responses. Also the Minister of Sports Hili Trooper Sims Lee, he's an amazing person."

What moved you the most?

"Of course the congratulations from my parents and my family. They know what I went through this season, the difficulties I experienced. They felt the relief, they were more stressed than me and rejoiced in my happiness. I spoke to them first while I was in a drug test, that's when I open the phone after the competition."

I never remember such a busy year in the industry.

"Yes, it was very busy, but the next few years that await me will be even busier, especially in 2024, when there are the World Championships, the European Championships and the Olympics in the same year. It won't be easy, so it's good to get used to it now."

And yet, you managed to correctly regulate the load with a record ranking in the World Championship and of course the gold in the European Championship.

"I knew that in a lot of tans I could advance to the next stages, but we wanted to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. Every now and then it is good to swim a lot of tans, but it changes and this time that's what we decided this time."

What surprised you the most this season?

"The season wasn't easy for me mentally, and I saw my character and how competitive I am and don't give up, and to what levels of pain I can reach. I think what surprised me the most was what I saw at the World Championship, how I deal with difficulties."


"The next years that await me will be even busier", photo: Oren Aharoni

What were you most afraid of this season?

"Maybe the choice to stay and work in Israel. Maybe if I went swimming abroad and followed the plan, then I would swim a little better, there is always a goal to improve, but you have to know how to take a year of breath and stay a little longer in Israel.

After everything I've been through in the last two years.

It was very important for me to stay here with my family and I don't regret anything in the choices I made."

Next year will you return to train in the United States?

"Yes, we will combine it with training in Israel and abroad like we used to do in the past, but we will sit down soon and build the plan."

How many times have you said that it was a difficult season mentally - in what ways?

"This year didn't start easily for me. I got sick with Corona and barely managed to get back to training and joined the army. It was a very significant experience for me, a completely different experience, being in an environment other than athletes, it gave me another angle of what people my age experience and what I can experience. I had It's important to join the army and when I got into it, I realized how much more important it is and maybe I could contribute more, when I connected with the concept."

What has changed in you this year?

"This year things didn't come easily to me and I had to give more of myself. I got stronger mentally, things you go through you get stronger, when I still have things to improve mainly on a physical level, but there are some who physically could be world records but the head stops them."

Let's talk a little about Paris.

You already have an Olympic final, can you do the step jump and also get on the podium?

"There are many more target competitions on the way. Podium? The goal is to climb a few more steps on the Olympic stage, and as the coaches say, when you enter the final there is always a chance and there you have to know how to do it."


"Podium? The goal is to climb a few more steps on the Olympic stage", photo: Oren Aharoni

What is the first thing you will do when you return to Israel?

"I'm now going on vacation with my parents to Crete. After this season, I still can't believe I'm going on vacation. After I don't see a pool for a few days, I'll start to believe. I'll do some sports and return in mid-September for training. When I get to Israel, I'd like to see my niece who was born three months ago And I hardly see her."

Would you like to dedicate the medal to someone?

"Thank you to everyone who cheered and watched and to my sponsors, to my home association Maccabi Kiryat Bialik and the swimming association. I would like to dedicate the medal to my maternal grandmother who is a little sick and my paternal grandmother who is in Ukraine with my aunt and it's really not easy for them."

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2022-08-17

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