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‘Russia to extend synch swimming dominance in London’

One of the best synchronized swimmers of all time, Maria Kiseleva, talked to RT about Russia’s prospects in London and the three Olympic golds she brought her country.

­“The American and Canadian synchronized swimmers were virtually unbeatable for two decades and team Russia were unable to move above fourth place,” Kiseleva stressed. “However, our three golds at the 1997 World Cup in China announced that we had arrived. We've had quite a solid winning run since then, and I hope we'll continue our dominance in London.”

“It's very hard to reach the summit, but I believe it's even more difficult to stay at the top consistently,” she added.

Kiseleva has won three Olympic gold medals, with two of them coming in duet and team competition in Sydney 2000 and the other one in team competition at the Athens Games four years later.

“All of the Olympics that I've participated in were very different from each other emotionally,”
the Russian remembered. “The Athens Games were the first time I hit the Olympic stage without any nervousness. But it all came back when our music shut off during our final performance. You wouldn't wish those feelings on your worst enemy. This has never happened in synchronized swimming before, and the judge told us to stop. We didn't know if we'd get another go, but then Japanese fans started cheering us on. We eventually got our second chance and won gold, despite the music stopping several more times.”

After quitting the pool, Kiseleva has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, also being the host of the Russian version of the TV show The Weakest Link.

“I was a synchronized swimmer, while also studying physical education, but I always wanted to try my hand at something else,”
she said. “It was sad to see my sport get very little media exposure, so I thought ‘Why not start writing about it myself?’ That gave me the motivation to start attending the journalism faculty at Moscow State University.”

The synchronized swimmers are to join the Olympic action on Sunday, August 5.