Paralympic champion Olesya Vladykina has already been on the pages of Cosmo under the heading "A Difficult Story", and since then the entire editorial staff are its devoted fans. We were especially pleased to meet her again and talk this time about beauty, charity and the Paralympics in Sochi.
Olesya, you are the Ambassador of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. What are your responsibilities? I became ambassador in 2010 in Wiesler, Canada. My first project was an ice performance with our Olympic champion Ilya Kulik. Imagine, I mastered skating in a month and a half! Swimmers are generally not recommended to ride, in order to correctly perform movements in the water, the ankle must remain soft. And figure skating, on the contrary, strengthens him. So my coach was not happy with the idea, but I went for it anyway.
As for responsibilities: the ambassador must first of all inform. That is why we constantly give lessons in schools, orphanages, universities, travel around the country, talk about the Games, their history, classifications, speak on radio and television. We chose the mascot of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (I was on the jury), presented torches, ran the Paralympic torch relay. There is actually a lot going on. Sport affects different spheres of life; you can always find some kind of intersection with cinema, business, and even glossy magazines. (Smiles.)
I am grateful for any support from me as an athlete, a person with physical disabilities - this means that the attitude of society towards us is changing. I have heard from some people that it is hard for them to watch the competitions of the Paralympians: they say, athletes with physical disabilities cause a feeling of pity. But, in my opinion, if a person trains, defends the honor of the country at world-class championships, there is not and cannot be anything pitiful.
You will also be the mayor of the Paralympic Village … Yes, I have such an honorable mission, I will not be left idle. (Laughs.) I will meet delegations, teams, take part in raising flags. I used to come to these villages as an athlete and give a welcome speech. Now I'm interested in being on the other side. It's good that there are both the Olympics and the Paralympics. But I would not divide the athletes so sharply. It seems to me that our country lacks inclusiveness - the inclusion of absolutely all people in the life of society. In the future, my activity will be aimed at uniting competitions, if not on a global scale, but at least at the level of children's holidays. Children should grow up together, this is education of tolerance and kindness. I saw how kids run headlong from a person who does not have an arm or a leg. It should not be.
Do you personally feel offended by such a reaction of people? When I was left without an arm, at first I was in a state of shock. I had to get used to the new reflection in the mirror. Until now, in my dreams I see myself as before … But I have no negativity and resentment about fate. It's a shame to complain, because I was still alive! At first, it was uncomfortable to be in the spotlight. I've always been a pretty shy person. And so at first I wore stoles, tried to take pictures only from the right side, and then I learned to love myself for who I am.
How is your personal life going? It has become much brighter. (Laughs) I've got a lot of fans. I dream of a family, children. I want the union to be strong, real, so I'm ready to wait until I meet the very one. Now I am focused on sports, on victories, and it is difficult for me to imagine myself as a wife and mother. This is also why I admire Natasha Vodianova - how harmoniously she is able to combine work, social activities and raising children. I think this is a talent!
Beautiful people usually get on the covers of glossy magazines. What is beauty to you? Oh, when I look at magazines, it seems to me that all the girls are much prettier than me! And I like different types. But first of all, beauty for me is in the expression of the eyes. Kindness and nobility make the face spiritualized. It is impossible to love, to live with an outwardly beautiful person, but insidious and evil by nature. Beauty is also manifested in the love of life. It attracts like a magnet.
Why did you become involved in social activities? She could just focus on rebuilding from the ashes. I guess I was able to recover pretty quickly. (Laughs.) There is no need to dwell on your misfortune. I believe that I have chosen the right path. At the moment when the accident happened, I did not know what to do, how to live on. There was very little information about the Paralympic movement, it took a long time to get the right contacts, so now I want to help others. I believe that I am doing someone good by telling about my history, about victories, about Paralympic sports. Many, having learned about me, begin to think: “Well, this girl Olesya lost her arm as a result of the accident, but did not break. She found the strength to live on, develop and achieved success - she twice won Paralympics gold. It means that we will succeed”.
Interviewed by Inna Lokteva