Nine Questions for Angélica Kvieczynski, Brazil's Best Gymnast

Born on September 1, 1991 in Toledo, the state of Paraná, Angélica Kvieczynski is by far the most medal-decorated Brazilian rhythmic gymnast.  In 2006,  Angélica became the first junior Brazilian Pan-American champion and, as a senior, she was the 2010 South American Chamption. But she really made history by winning the first senior all around medal for her country at the Pan-American Games in 2011, where she won a total of 4 medals, one silver and three bronze, a record for Brazil in this sport. It is worth noting that, at these Pan-American Games, Angélica faced very strong competition from some wonderful American, Canadian and Mexican gymnasts. I am thrilled that Angélica has kindly agreed to do a short interview for my blog. 

1. Why did you choose to practice rhythmic gymnastics?
It was random. I saw other gymnasts training and started practising...

2. In your opinion, what is the biggest sacrifice that an athlete has to make in order to dedicate herself to sports?
There are many sacrifices, especially the one of not being able to do everything that normal young people do.

3. Which style do you prefer: Kanaeva's or Bessonova's? Why?
Bessonova's, because she is a gymnast who attracts more attention, especially for the audience, and excites the spectators.

4. What could we do to make rhythmic gymnastics more popular in Brazil and around the world?
In Brazil there is a lot missing, especially incentives to practise.

5. Your greatest achievement as an athlete was....?
I think the 4 medals that I won at the 2011 Pan American Games. Because this was a precedent for Brazil, this is a sign that we are improving.

Photo: http://jornaldodiase.com/

6. What advice would you give to junior gymnasts?
To work very hard because it is at this stage that we learn a lot....Maybe the majority of things.

7. Do you like dancing? What types of music/dance do you prefer?
Yes, I like it a lot. I like all kinds of music, but what I'd like to learn the most is street dance.

8. Many think that a rhytmic gymnast is a also a dancer and even an actress? Would you agree?
I believe so, yes, because we have to dance and interpret the music and for me this is what makes the best gymnasts stand out.

9. One last question: do you think the Brazilian National Soccer Team will win the World Cup in 2014?
This is a very difficult question to answer. I am very patriotic and hope that Brazil wins, but I think that to do this, the team needs to improve a lot and to focus more on their goals...Because we already were the best in soccer, but now we are equals with other teams, so we need to improve, not just maintain the same level.

As a a treat for the fans, here is Angélica's brilliant, samba-accompanied clubs routine, which I love because it just sizzles with risk, speed and expression:

Among the pages that she liked on Facebook, Angélica has listed those of the Ukranian Alina Maksimenko, and the Bulgarians Maria Petrova and Silvia Miteva.

I wish Angélica the best of luck with every endeavor and hope she inspires many Brazilian girls to choose our favorite sport. As for her savvy opinion about the Brazilian soccer team, I secretly hope the soccer stars read what she said and take it to heart!


Happy Birthday to Diana Popova!

December 10 is the birthday of an absolutely unique gymnastics performer, the Bulgarian Diana Popova. More than 20 years ago, at the European Junior Championship, she won gold with hoop and ribbon. Since then she also won a number of medals at European and world championship, including the team gold at the EC in Stuttgart' 92  and a bronze with rope at the WC in Budapest'96.

Here is a rather old hoop routine that I just love: