Tatyana Lebedeva: "Athletes remain good performers after their sports career"

Tatyana Lebedeva: "Athletes remain good performers after their sports career"

The guest of the program 'Tribune', the member of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy, Tatyana Lebedeva, senator from the Volgograd region and repeat World and European champion and Olympic champion in athletics.

The continuation of Tatyana Lebedeva: “Patriotism means knowledge of and respect for history”

- A lot of money is invested in Russian hockey and football, but sometimes the results are disappointing. They used to say that there was no money. Now we have enough money, but there are still no good results. So what do they need to win?

- Why do we have such a situation in football and hockey? It is necessary to introduce a limit on foreign players. Their number should not be infinite. We understand that this is a business, a lot of money, but still we need a trilateral agreement between the CHL and the Ministry of Sports. Because the Ministry of Sports is responsible for the result: why a football or hockey team has such a result. The ministry cannot control the situation. They are necessary, because the skills and professionalism of an athlete depends on his performance. The more athletes perform, the more they obtain experience. Every competition involves some stress and experience.

The more athletes perform, the better they are. But the majority of Russian athletes are on the bench. They are good, but the amount of time in competition is minimal. Of course, they do not receive fresh experience. But we have prospects and talents. Now the Ministry of Sports for professional sports has brought all Olympic bases to conformity: rebuilt them, upgraded, as well as built new ones. There are no reasons to find fault. Just train for the competitions! The Ministry does its best. Maybe now they will deal with the University Sports in order to develop this field, not to speak of mass sports. Although there is a double-edged sword. The Ministry cannot embrace the boundless, neither can it organize regional competitions. But on the other hand, it should strongly support community organizations, regional federations, as all regional ministries carry them out. If they have an active position, we need to help them and subsidize. We should have relations in order to make sure that the new athletes are being ‘’brought up.’’

If we speak about athletics, now Azerbaijan has hosted the third league, we organized a super-league in Cheboksary. Last year our team lost to Germany. After the first day only 1-2 points separated us from Germany. It was a dangerous situation. On the second day, when all our athletes began to win, it was as if some flap had disappeared, and we topped the rankings with a break-away of 20. This is probably also good, because when you win in all disciplines, then competitions become uninteresting.

- What does it depend on? I ask you not as a politician, a senator, but as an Olympic champion.

- Impartial people should work in the Russian sports federations, people engaged in sports. Not those who are ready to invest money. [The head coach on track and field athletics] Yury Borzakovsky did not sleep at night, he was concerned about the results. He says that the main person is the athlete. He always congratulated them, even if the athletes won second or third places, because they still struggled. The President of the European Athletics Association, Svein Arne Hansen from Norway, always did the same. He says that athletes should feel that they are the main people here. The spectators came to see them: officials, functionaries. When athletes realize this, they perform as well as they can. The main thing is to believe in them, not only friends and coaches, but also onlookers and even the officials who came to support them.

Our team is young. We even have a lot of new athletes, whom even I don't know. I made acquaintance with them during the competitions. And I saw that they had a good team spirit. Athletics is an individual kind of sport, but these combined team competitions unite the team, when they support each other. When we overtake our opponents it is a score. And we feel it. There are no trifles in professional sports.

- Does your recipe consist of a competent organization, a psychological mood and the right attitude towards the athletes?

- It does. It consists of head coaches’ and officials’ attitude towards the athletes, as they need to know that the athlete is the main person. Not an official, and not even the Minister of Sports. All the conditions should be provided in accordance with their results. Firstly results, and only then all the conditions. So when we see the athelete's result, he receives certain opportunities. As the saying goes, winner takes all.

Why can't children become Olympic champions at once? They can be physically strong, but mentally they are not ready. When you train and perform, you have this balance. When you feel that you are well-prepared, you have a normal psychological state. The coach, psychologist, family also play an important role. You cannot put pressure on an athlete with family difficulties, or any global problems. If something happens, you should try to limit it. Sometimes people say that athletes are unsociable. They are not unsociable, they are just motivated and focused. And when he has the main aim of winning, he does his best, as his dream is to win gold at the Olympic Games and the European Championships. He has a top priority – victory. His family is in second place, friends are in third place. The coach and the family need to understand this if professional sport is his profession. They need to help him, and not waste his energy.

A sports career is not long. So when it ends, athletes remain active and willing to continue to learn. Athletes are very good performers, because they always trust the coach and their psychologist. When he understands that competent professionals are working with him, he can continue and life can take place, and because of the hard work he does not hold. The main thing you need is to support him, his faith in himself, an athlete should realize that he can rely on you. In this way he can do his best.

Now we are trying to attract active athletes, who lead a healthy lifestyle, meet with students, with pupils. We try to support them, and maintain our contacts. Because when we were children we dreamed of becoming Olympic champions. At the age of 18 I saw an Olympic champion for the first tine, shook his hand. It was an important event for me. Therefore, we want every child in every region of our country to be able to see a champion and believe that it is possible and you also can achieve this. The main thing is to believe it, never to give up, and to believe that we are all born under a lucky star. And people will be thankful for your activity if we believe and try to achieve it.