Interview for the Passport Magazine
Text Alexander Mikhailov
Svetlana Khorkhina is called the sex symbol of the artistic gymnastics. It is not by coincidence. Whenever she was out on the gymnastic podium, the whole sport world was enamoured by the grace with which she performed the most intricate elements. Four years ago, she finished her career in sports. Nonetheless, she has been quite busy since then. She tried herself as an actress and singer, she wrote a book and recently she has become a State Duma Deputy. On the eve of her 29th birthday, she shared with the Passport her line of roles and plans for the future.
What does it mean for you to be a public famous person?
I have been performing in international competitions since I was a child. I was quite successful so it is not new for me to be famous. Though the new political status, new position, attracts the attention of another audience. Now I have to take responsibility for my words in the press, follow strict political alignment, to communicate with different people, in a word, to do the work that my Deputy powers require. I think today’s popularity for me is, first of all, a responsibility.
Is it difficult for a woman to become a politician in this country?
It is always harder for women to make a career than for men. It is true in any kind of profession. In Russia, as well as in the rest of the world, a woman has to take double responsibility: for her job and for her family. That’s why many women cannot fully realize their talents and skills to become successful specialists, leaders or business figures.
I guess I am very lucky. I have been able to try myself in various fields within such a short period of time. I am happy that I achieved something else besides becoming the world sports star and, which is even more important, fulfilled the main mission of the woman on this planet – I gave birth to a baby.
What kind of the work are you up to now? What are you going to do in the State Duma?
Recently I have been elected the State Duma Youth Committee Deputy. The State Duma Deputies of the fourth session did not have time to pass a law on the State Youth Policy. Now the main task of the deputies of the fifth session is to finish the project. I am the representative of the Russian youth myself, and I know what kind of problems school children, students and young families have. They are especially acute in the regions. Young people have to have the opportunity for qualified development and it is not possible without government support. There is a lot to do, but I am ready for the work, that’s why I am in the State Duma.
Are you planning to go to the Olympics in Beijing?
Of course! This Olympics will be one of the brightest contemporary sport events. I have recently been to China, visited the new sport facilities constructed for the Olympic Games. The buildings are amazing, with lots of latest technological devices. The Chinese are very fond of sports and they are very responsible in their work. It is obvious that these Games are very important for the whole nation. These Olympics have wonderful motto “One World, One Dream”. They all cannot wait till the Games start. I am sure the competitions will be very spectacular!
This will be the first time that I will go to the Olympics as a TV journalist, I will be commenting on the gymnastics performances for one of the Russian TV channels. I wish that our gymnasts will show their best and take the first prizes!
I know that in China you are declared the most beautiful sportswoman in the world!
Yes, according to the results of 2005 the State Chinese Committee of Physical Culture and Sports chose me as the world most beautiful sportswoman. It was so unexpected! They just called and asked me to come to the ceremony. And when they called me to the stage and announced the nomination, it turned out that I was the most beautiful sportswoman. It was very pleasant, especially when hardly anyone doubts that.
During your sports career you traveled all over. Now you also visit different countries. Do you have your preferences or favorites?
Now I go abroad mostly on vacation. I usually leave the country about twice a year. If it is a family trip, we choose some of the see resorts. I like beautiful places – the Seychelles, the Emirates, the Maldives. I like Italy. I love walking in the medieval streets of the European cities, having lunch in cozy little restaurants, visiting local shops and buying souvenirs.
Each country that I visited has something special, amazing. People lead a different way of life, follow different traditions, religious rituals, celebrate different holidays. Even the cuisine differs so much from place to place. I like my country most, though.
Do you have the feeling that you have achieved everything?
I have achieved a lot but I have lots of projects, ideas and wishes to fulfill in the future.
What does Svetlana Khorkina dream about now?
Well, I cannot say straight away. There are many things. As a woman, I dream about a friendly and loving family, so that my children would grow healthy and happy, so that my home would always be cozy and full of light. As a politician, I dream about working for the country where I grew up and became a famous sportswoman. I want the Youth Policy reach another level. I dream about the well-being of Russian youth.