Sport and beauty
Some men say that sport is not for girls, thinking that women belong at the stove, wearing high heels and bright lipstick. Others concede that aerobics and yoga are a good idea, since they help a girl stay in shape. Those with a more modern frame of mind realise that women have a real contribution to make to today’s sport and that our charming tennis-players, beautiful rhythmic gymnasts, basketballers and handball-players, as well as a host of other athletes, are making a real name for themselves in the international sporting arena. Each is magnificent in their own way and Belarus is certainly a land of beauties. We are a sporting nation; it may be hard to find so much grace among sportswomen of other countries
Who wouldn’t be enchanted by Inna Zhukova’s rhythmic gymnastics? Her team won silver at the Olympics in Beijing, capping her career worthily, but her path to success has taken great effort and dedication, making her a model for others. She is always cheerful and friendly, womanly and gracious. Now retired from her sport, she works in the advertising department of an insurance company. “I like this work,” she says. “Of course, I don’t understand all the details, but I’m trying. I’m used to being a leader, having been a professional sportswoman. My motto remains: learn, learn and, once again, learn. I like business and working with men in my new job, they look so elegant in their suits and ties. The only difficult thing for me is to keep still; I have so much energy! Sometimes, in the middle of the day, I’ll decide to go into the crab position or stretch out in some fashion. Rather than walking from cabinet to cabinet, I tend to run. Old habits die hard. I used to think of taking modeling courses but I don’t think I could make them the most important thing in my life. They are a good supplement to income though. I enjoy photo sessions; I had one last in 2006 and it sticks in my memory. I felt like a real model. I would never have agreed to be photographed naked though — you need to keep some mystery and privacy...”
Alina Tumilovich, Olesya Babushkina, Anastasia Ivankova, Glafira Martinovich, Zinaida Lunina and Ksenia Sankovich won bronze in Beijing; all are beauties representing our sporting country and, when they appear together in evening dress, men can hardly take their eyes off them. Ksenia Sankovich, with her seductive gypsy-like beauty, likes fortunetelling and knows almost everything about her team mates. “Zina will always have a bright sparkle of kindness and love; it’s impossible to overlook,” she asserts, reading the cards. “Glafira is experienced yet enigmatic; she likes to fool about. Nastya is eager and sociable; she loves to chat. As for Alina, I know her like my own hand and will always hold our friendship dear. Olesya is quiet, calm and the most fair-minded of our team. We trust her with our innermost secrets…” It’s impossible not to love them all.
Lera Kurilskaya, another Belarusian gymnast, has been driving the whole of Europe mad with her beauty! In 2007, at 19 years old, the young belle won the international beauty contest ‘Junior Miss Europe and the World’. After she finished her career, she became a model with the National Beauty School and entered the Institute of Modern Knowledge as an interior designer.
If you’re still convinced that sport is no place for girls (and see rhythmic gymnastics as more of an art than a sport) you should recall Julia Nesterenko’s Olympic gold in Athens, for the hundred metres. The gorgeous blonde is as graceful as a deer; nature created a miracle when it gave birth to Julia. Another bombshell is Oksana Menkova — our Olympic hammer throwing champion. Tall and slim, she defies all stereotypes of how an athlete of her sport should appear.
Talented biathlete Dasha Domracheva has a great future; she already leads the junior Belarusian team and has brains to match her athletic prowess. She recently had the honour of choosing between the Belarusian State Economic University and the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture (selecting the former). She is studying tourism management and dreams of becoming a designer after her sporting career (her parents are famous architects). Dasha is cheerful and shows her emotions easily, always striving to do her best. She views her success to date with a level head, convinced that her main victories lie ahead. Her mascots are her favourite pink bandanna, training vest and rifle butt. Like the sun, she spreads warmth and light to all around her; she is a wonderful girl.
Belarusian women’s teams have been doing very well in recent years. Think of our basketball team, which took silver at the Europe-2007 championship, and the participants of the Olympic Games in Beijing? TV broadcasters couldn’t keep their cameras off Anastasia Veremeenko and Tatyana Troina; our Belarusian team leaders appeared on TV-screens more often than anybody else. Troina’s fame partly stems from steamy photos of the basketballer in a newspaper (male readers were overjoyed). Meanwhile, our handball team beauties are worthy of inspiring artists — particularly Irina Mogilina, who stole the show at the recent European championship.
Alas, we lack space to enumerate every Belarusian sporting lovely — there are so many of them! However, I’m sure my examples are sufficient to shame those who still insist sport is not for girls. Our female athletes are just as successful as their male counterparts. Think of how stale and dull sport would be without them. They are poetry in motion. Let’s love sport… and women.