The unofficial face of Russian ice hockey team HC Spartak, Yulia Ushakova, has stated that she would be happy if her newly published photographs, in which she tries on men's hockey gear, trigger accusations of sexism in the media.
The 28-year-old, who hosts the ‘Silovoy Priyom’ show on the HC Spartak website, says that excessive attention to her eye-catching photo shoots helps to raise the popularity of ice hockey.
“I’m working with the Spartak hockey team and all my photo sessions are aimed at attracting the attention of my social media followers and ice hockey fans who will associate me with the team,” Ushakova told RT Sport.
“Soon I will have a similar photo shoot on the ice. An attractive girl wearing a man’s equipment is always sexy,” she added.
In October, Spartak was accused of sexism after posting a raunchy picture of Ushakova lying near-naked on a treatment table, after the presenter was mistakenly identified by some journalists as a player with Spartak's female team (which, in fact, doesn't exist).
The former professional bodybuilder stressed that the accusations from the media only brought her more internet fame, helping to promote Spartak and ice hockey in general.
“If media react to this photo shoot as they did last time I will only be happy. I wish the press would paid more attention to sport-related things rather than concentrating on show business bulls**t,” she said.
“Such photo sessions popularize sport, attracting more people to stadiums. I love taking part in football and hockey-themed photo shoots, they are aesthetic and beautiful.
It’s bright, eye-catching and quite decent, without any vulgar implication. No private parts can be seen in the pictures, so, yes, such photo shoots help to popularize hockey.
When asked whether she'd tried to play hockey herself, Ushakova said that her goaltending experience was not quite successful.
“Yes, I tried to play hockey and even attempted to take up the role of a goaltender. My brother taught me to skate, but honestly, he failed. The only thing we succeeded in doing was to skate backwards and hold a stick.”
Ushakova also revealed that she preferred to end her career after reaching all heights and goals she had set.
“I received an honored master of sports in body fitness (one of the most prestigious titles in Russia) achieving the goal I had dreamt of,” she said.
“So I retired in my prime as I had no motivation to continue performing. There was no other reason for my retirement. Anyway, my work is connected with sport and journalism, so I found a balance.”
Talking about her future dreams, the provocative presenter said she wants to start her own business, connected in some way with sports promotion.
“I will continue following the same path that I've chosen. Honestly, I’m dreaming of opening a PR agency one day which will promote sports teams. I think this would be really a great achievement and a big deal for me.”