Ksenia Semenova/Youtube
WOGymnastikA caught up with former Russian gymnast Ksenia Semenova who is two time World champion and four time European champion.

Gigi: What have you been doing since your retirement?

Ksenia:  I work as a coach, I help my coach Marina Nazarova. I am also an international judge.

Gigi:  You have been in a relationship with Olympic medalist Denis Ablyazin since 2012 and you were engaged two years ago, are you now married? 

Ksenia: We haven't married yet. We didn't have time for that.

Gigi: You said in an interview that after the 2008 Olympic all around competition, you asked US Nastia Liukin who won the gold medal to let you hold her medal, did she let you hold it?  

Ksenia: Yes, Nastya allowed me to hold her medal

Gigi: How did the conversation go between you two?

Ksenia: I asked her with tears in my eyes to let me hold her medal and she said "of course " and hugged me. 

Gigi: Does Nastia speak Russian well?

Ksenia: She speaks pretty good Russian

Gigi: Because you wanted to compete in the all around at Beijing Olympics, you did not have enough time to upgrade your bars and beam routines which could have earned you an Olympic medal. If you were to go back in time, would you have concentrated on your best apparatuses and ditched the all around?

Ksenia: I would have competed in the all around competition. This was needed for the team. If I had the chance to return back in time, I would have started preparing for AA competition earlier. But I would have also reserved more time for my specialty events.

Gigi: Why didn't you train equally on all four events way before the Olympics (years before the Olympics)?

Ksenia: In my childhood, I had an injury that did not allow me to work on all 4 apparatuses. For 8 months I couldn't run or do split/twine. This was the reason I specialized on 2 events.
Ksenia Semenova with Denis Ablyazin

Gigi: Have you ever wished that you were born in a different decade thus competing under a different CoP that would fit your gymnastics more than the 2006-2008 one?

Ksenia: No, I love the current gymnastics more than the one from the past. 

Gigi: You are still involved in Russian gymnastics, who do you think will make the 2016 Olympic team?

Ksenia: Yes, I am on Round Lake practically every day. I will not make any predictions regarding the team. There are young girls who can compete for a place in the Rio team.

Gigi:  If you were the head coach of the Russian national team, what changes would you make?

Ksenia: Difficult question. I haven't thought about that.  Now the head coach is Evgeny Grebenkin- he is a very competent expert. I know him since childhood. As you can see our team is growing and we now have such brilliant gymnasts like Seda Tutkhalian  who can challenge Alyia and Vika for a medal. I trust him.

Gigi: Aliya said that she thinks that judges determine the podium winners before they even judge a routine, and that she understands that no matter how much effort she will put in her routine, US Simone Biles will still outscore her. What do you think?

Ksenia: Aliya and Simone are two very different gymnasts. Simone has power, strength, the most difficult tumbling. Aliya is has beauty, grace,femininity- she can show difficult tumbling combined with the most difficult turns. Simone has the kind of tumbling that even some of the boys can't perform, but this is primarily GYMNASTICS rather than acrobatics. I like Simone, she is gorgeous, but Aliya I love more .


Gigi: What about during your competitive career, were you content with  your scores, did you think that the judges scored the Russians fairly?

Ksenia: Yes I am happy with the scores I used to receive. There were other rules back then and judges used to score us a little bit different. 

Gigi: Speaking of Aliya, how is your relationships with her nowadays differ from when you were teammates?

Ksenia: Everything is great. Now it is different. We communicate better.


Gigi: What would you like to achieve in your life?

Ksenia: Of course I wanted to be an Olympic champion, but it didn't happened.  Now I want to make a career as a coach and a judge, to travel to different competitions. Because I love gymnastics and I think this is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing.

Interview by Gigi Farid

Special thanks to our Anastasia Bostanaru who provided translation for Ksenia and us.

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WOGymnastikA is a blog turned website which brings you the latest updates on women’s artistic gymnastics as well as exclusive interviews with your favorite gymnasts. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us on wogymnastika@gmail.com .

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