Gelena Topilina held an Olympic lesson for the participants of the Football for Friendship program

The Olympic lesson with the 2016 Games winner, Synchronized Swimmer Gelena Topilina was held on June 9, in the Spartak Academy, named after Fyodor Cherenkov. This event was part of the Gazprom’s international children’s social program Football for Friendship and the Olympic Patrol educational project of the ROC.

The event was attended by about 40 young journalists and football players of the international Friendship Camp. They listened with interest to Dmitry Manevich, Head of Marketing and Commercial Programs Department of the ROC, who told them about the history of the Olympic Games and the Olympic movement, main Olympic values, gave examples of honest and noble behavior of famous athletes.

After that, boys and girls from different countries of the world literally assailed the Olympic champion in Synchronized Swimming Gelena Topilina with questions. Young  reporters and football players were interested in everything: when the athlete first came to the pool, how many hours a day she spent training, who helped her approach the main goal, what emotions the Russian woman experienced after winning the gold Olympic medal at the Games in Rio de Janeiro, whether she was going to continue her sports career, etc.

– Before Synchronized Swimming I one month he was engaged in Artistic Gymnastics, then one month of a Rhythmic Gymnastics and three months of Figure  Skating. I didn’t like any of these. But when I was 5 my parents took me to the swimming pool to watch synchronized swimmers training, I loved this sport at first sight,  said Gelena Topilina. – Most of all then I liked the blue color of the water, in which the girls were like fairytale mermaids. And I wanted to be a mermaid too!

The athlete admitted that there was a difficult moment in her career when she wanted to give up professional sports.

– At the age of 19 I left the Russian team for family reasons and switched to studies. But six months later I decided to try again. I gave myself the word, that if I can return to the highest level, I would never retreat, said Gelena Topilina. – In the national Synchronized  Swimming team, the girls train for 12 hours a day. Loads are very heavy. In addition, it is a very traumatic sport, as all the sifts are performed without touching the bottom of the pool and there is a risk that someone will fall on you. Once during training session I got a strong blow to the neck and then I was recovering for a long time. Fortunately, everything was fine, and 17 years of hard training eventually culminated in the Olympic gold medal, which I dreamed of all my life…

Each answer of the Russian synchronized swimming star was accompanied by loud applause, and at the end of the improvised press conference in memory of the meeting with the Olympic champion, the children received cards with a photo and an autograph of Gelena Topilina.

The Olympic Patrol sports and education project is part of the Russian Olympic Committee’s Olympic Country program, aimed at promoting the development of mass sports, as part of the international Sport for All movement. During its existence (since July 2014) more than 150,000 children and more than 200 Olympic Champions and prize-winners took part in it.

International children’s social program Football for Friendship has been implemented by the Gazprom company since 2013. The key values promoted by the program participants are friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, loyalty, victory, traditions and honor.

Participants are young players (boys and girls, including those with disabilities), as well as young journalists aged 12, from 211 countries covering Football for Friendship events within the International Children’s Press Center.

Over the past five years, more than 3.7 thousand children took part in the program. The total number people, supporting the project is more than 1.2 million. The project was awarded with 16 international and Russian awards in the field of social responsibility and communication.

In 2018, the final events of the Football for Friendship program will be coincided with the FIFA World Cup in Russia.