Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Oleg Verniaev on tv

Oleg Verniaev has recently participated in a Ukrainian sports talk show "Politika chempionov".
I'm giving a summary here:
First, he's asked whether Ukrainian lawmakers need to start the parliament sessions with physical exercises (USSR used to be very big on "zaryadka" - a short sequence of exercises done in the morning to charge yourself for the day). He believes it's a pretty good idea because it makes people less lazy and motivates them to do things, even though he hates "zaryadka" for himself because it's too early in the day and he'd rather sleep some more.
He's asked about his Chinese team t-shirt in which he trains often. Oleg exchanged t-shirts with Deng Shudi in Rio and got two Chinese shirts for one Ukrainian (t-shirts are hot currency, apparently!)
Turns out that with all the Olympic winnings Oleg was able to buy himself Porsche Macan - it was his dream to have a Porshe, but he thought he'd never be able to afford it and now he suddenly could.
His other dream was to have a proper vacation abroad, but he couldn't do it, because he went to compete in Bundesliga in the fall and then the regular season started. He feels really tired and desperately needs a break, so he struck a deal with his coach that he'd take a short vacation break after Euros (he's participating in two AA World Cups before Euros). He and his coach haven't had a vacation in four years, so they both really need it.
After the Olympics he was surprised with his newfound fame. He says people recognize him on the streets, write him on social media and he really appreciates all this attention. He feels that he didn't become too full of himself because he never stopped training after the Olympics. His coach also keeps him in check and doesn't let him become too arrogant.
He talks about his recent trip to Iceland and how he learned there that they choose gymnasts to go to tournaments not by their results, but by whether the gymnasts are able to fund the trip themselves.
He really liked the modern gyms in Iceland and was surprised at how many facilities they had for such a small country.
He wasn't very impressed with Newark and New Jersey... Especially compared to the 2015 American Cup in Texas. He says the surroundings of his hotel were pretty grim and dirty, there were no stores around. Although, after the Cup he was invited to a Cuban restaurant with a view of Manhattan, so that was nice.
Turns out he has a fan club with hundreds of members in Japan!
He says he gets about 50 messages a day with "Hi! how are you?", and, of course, he's not able to answer all these people, but they don't understand and get offended that he ignores them.
He doesn't talk about politics with his Ukrainian friends who changed nationality (like Kuksenkov), because they're all focused on gymnastics and don't have time for politics.
He said he can't give much information about Oleg Stepko, but he really didn't like Stepko's last interview and got offended, especially with how Stepko said he doesn't have any friends in Ukraine and only talks to his mom (even though he apparently was in touch with Verniaev). Verniaev stopped all contacts with Stepko after this interview and doesn't think they'll be in touch again.
Verniaev doesn't want to change nationality and doesn't consider any offers - he can imagine himself competing for another country despite all the difficulties he has in Ukraine.

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