04.11.2023–08.07.2024 MOSCOW, VDNH


Russian mermaids: three-time Olympic champion Alla Shishkina met with the guests of the RUSSIA EXPO

Russian mermaids: three-time Olympic champion Alla Shishkina met with the guests of the RUSSIA EXPO
Expo News
Photo: Maxim Blinov/RIA News

The Russian Society "Knowledge" organized a meeting with Alla Shishkina, three-time Olympic champion in group exercises, 14-time world champion, six-time European champion.

Alla Shishkina told about the beginning of her career as a synchronized swimmer and shared her opinion about the current state of this sport in Russia.

"My story of acquaintance with synchronized swimming is not quite ordinary. Usually, children are brought to the sport by their parents. But at the age of seven I saw the competitions on TV, the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, when our national team took only fourth place in group exercises — but the team still performed brilliantly, and at the next Games, in Sydney in 2000, they won. It was then that I first saw beautiful smiling girls in shiny swimsuits. Besides, I always liked to swim and dance — I think synchronized swimming is the perfect sport that combines everything. After that I begged my parents to take me to the pool. I am very grateful to them for listening to me," Alla Shishkina said.

The three-time Olympic champion also told how the Russian synchronized swimming team got the unofficial name "Russian mermaids".

"We were often called either 'goldfish' or 'mermaids'. When we have already built up a long history of victories, when it became clear that the Russian school of synchronized swimming is the trendsetter in the world, of course, we wanted to add the word "Russian" to the "mermaids". To make it clear that the coolest "mermaids" are from Russia. That's how this name appeared," said Alla Shishkina.

The athlete also shared her opinion on the decision of the Congress of the International Swimming Federation to rename synchronized swimming in artistic swimming.

"For me it was a bit strange. As it seems to me, the spectacularity of our sport lies precisely in perfect synchronization - this is what the Russian team is famous for, as well as artistry. The spectators see eight to ten athletes, and they all work as one. People do not think that this is the result of hours of training and hard work. Now the rules have changed and everything has been reduced to banal technique, and there is practically no artistry as such. It's very frustrating. Personally, I am against the new rules. In my opinion, it was better before. My career as a synchronized swimmer fell on the golden age of synchronized swimming, when it was both beautiful, artistic and synchronized," said the gold medal winner of London-2012, Rio-2016 and Tokyo-2020.

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