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Olympic champs shine at Moscow Fashion Week

A whole of host of Russian Olympic gold medalists swapped the running track and the swimming pool for the catwalk, becoming models for Moscow's Fashion Week.

Life as a sports star may seem glamorous – they travel the world and stay in five star hotels, but in reality, most of their lives are spent training and are far from luxurious.

Therefore, it was a real treat for a group of elite Russian sportswomen to appear on the runway.

However, for Natalia Ishchenko, who's a three-time Olympic champion, she found it just as nerve-racking taking to the catwalk, as competing in the world's biggest sporting competition.

“I was really nervous today as I walked out onto the catwalk, perhaps even more so than when I am competing,” she told RT. “Thankfully, everything went well, but I just had this fear that I might fall down, as we're not that used to modeling.”

The event was organized by Anastasia Ermakova, the four-time Olympic synchronized swimming gold medalist.

She's reached the peak of her sport, but has always had an interest designing clothes – and it was a dream come true for her to create her own fashion show.

“This was like our Olympics, as it took me around four years to try and get this show ready,” Ermakova said. “It took a really long time to get everything ready, and only not that long ago did I realize that everything was in place to put this show on. We were very nervous ahead of the presentation because we put in so much time and effort."“There are a lot of fashion designers around at the moment, and I didn't want people to praise me just because I am a sportswoman. It takes a lot of work to put on a good fashion show, and I am glad that the public enjoyed my collection,” she added.  

Modeling is nothing new to a number of Russian sportswomen, and one of them, Stanislava Komarova, who now works as a TV presenter following a distinguished swimming career, says she loves every minute of it.

“I was always different from the majority of sportswomen, as I never turned up for training in a tracksuit,” she remembered. “I would always try to look different and dress well. I have been modeling since 2003 and even went to Japan to take part in a fashion show, and I have taken an interest in this since I was a child. First of all, I am not an athlete, but a woman – and like all women, I am interested in looking good.”

Anastasia's fashion show was well received, and the four-time Olympic champ now hopes her design business will go from strength to strength.

“In the future, I am not looking to mass produce clothes. Rather I will concentrate on designing for individual customers,” she explained. “I would like to open a boutique and work with each customer on a one-on-one basis, giving them input into what they will eventually wear. Some of the dresses from today's show will also be up for sale, so people can come into my showroom and have a look for themselves.”

While Anastasia can concentrate on her designing career, not all the sportswomen who took part are so lucky.

For the vast majority, they will swap the catwalk for the running track as soon as they return to their sporting careers.

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