Vladimir Klichko during an interview with Zhanna Nemtsova
a guest "Nemtsova.Interview" – ex-world champion in boxing heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. The brother of the mayor of Kiev Vitali Klitschko explained why doping has become a system in some countries, why athletes are forced to accept it, and why the political struggle is more dangerous than boxing.
Wladimir Klitschko also spoke about his plans after the end of his sports career and expressed his hope for a resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Zhanna Nemtsova: Last year you decided to finish your sports career and said, I quote: "Never say never". Are you going to return to the boxing ring?
Wladimir Klitschko: People can change their activities many times over their lifetime. Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger: he was an athlete, then he became an actor, then a politician, went into politics from politics, and now he is dealing with environmental problems. But if I go to the ring now, then only for charity.
– But you left professional boxing?
Vladimir Klichko during an interview with Zhanna Nemtsova
– For the past 27 years I’ve been doing sports, and it was a wonderful time. I traveled a lot around the world and learned a lot, I achieved what I could not even dream about. I’m happy that I chose this path, and did not become a doctor.
That is, instead of treating people, I, in fact, sent these people to the doctors for medical help, and he also at some point found himself after the fighting in the hospital, but this is all life experience. Sport is something incredible. I will quote the statement of Nelson Mandela: "Sport can change the world, because it is global".
– Now you are trying to change the world and after building a professional sports career you are building something new. What do you do?
– We are with you in Kiev in the office of the Klitschko Foundation. He has been implementing various projects for the sixteenth consecutive year. Our focus is sports and education. For the whole period of the foundation’s existence, about half a million children took part in its various programs. Vitaly and I are convinced that this is the right way.
– I think you are well aware of the widespread attitude towards athletes, and boxers are no exception. So, in the minds of many athletes do not differ intellectually. Do you want to break this stereotype?
– You said it right, it’s a stereotype. And stereotypes are everywhere. It is believed that all journalists can be bought, all politicians lie. All sportsmen are idiots, all tennis players are lesbians, and all singers are homosexuals. Yes, there is stereotypical thinking, when people of a certain occupation are given certain traits.
– I’m not a sports journalist, but I got the impression that speed increases in professional sports. Are athletes really unable to show outstanding results without doping now?
– They can.
– How do you assess the recent doping scandals?
– There was a lot of smoke and fire. If we look back, we will see that many of our favorite sportsmen used dope. At the same time, they represented certain countries. Of course, this happened with athletes from many countries, but I’m talking about trends, about a certain system, and not about one-time cases.
The use of doping is a betrayal of the very philosophy that underlies the sport. Sport is a competition for the purpose of victory. But if one of the opponents uses dope, and the other does not, then this is a fraud. You are deceiving your fans. You deceive your colleagues, you are deceiving yourself.
– But why do some athletes still use dope? They are forced to do this? That is, are these deliberate actions of states that are interested in their athletes showing results?
– Absolutely. After all, this is a competition between countries for a place in the top five or the top ten in the Olympic classification. Each country wants to make an impression, wants to act with dignity. And the athletes in this case represent the state. The more medals – the better the country. There are different kinds of sports. Take, for example, running. Yes, you showed the best result in the race through doping. Oh well. Sooner or later you will be caught using dope.
In boxing, you must defeat the opponent. In the history of this sport there are many examples of deaths. If you used dope and killed your opponent during the fight, it’s completely different. Therefore, if in the doping run does not lead to fatal consequences, then in boxing everything can end in tragedy.
– Do you think that the latest revelations can change the situation with doping?
– Of course, in recent years WADA has done a lot, and they are improving their system (anti-doping – Ed.). All sportsmen must undergo doping control. To be pure is the moral obligation of every athlete.
– You often talk about your older brother Vitali. He is now the mayor of Kiev. Do you support your brother in his pursuit of politics in Ukraine?
– I support my brother the last 42 years. He’s a great guy. And he faces such challenges, which few could cope with. He does not have a special education in politics, he learns everything in practice. I know how difficult Vitali is. But he is improving. The main thing is that he has progressive views.
In sport, too, there are challenges, but there are rules of the game, but in politics they are not. Unfortunately, this is not like in boxing, where you can just break your nose or put a black eye. In politics, the consequences can be much more serious. You know it like no other.
– You probably know that your brother is often ridiculed. How do you feel when you see this on the Internet?
– You know, it’s like weather. If you walk in a T-shirt and shorts in winter, you can freeze. To this you need to be prepared if you are engaged in politics. We must be ready for criticism, and, of course, for ridicule. You have to be thick-skinned, otherwise you should not engage in politics.
– Russian-Ukrainian relations deteriorated dramatically after the annexation of the Crimea. How did all this affect you?
– Life throws many challenges. Today, in principle, we can not talk about any relations between Russia and Ukraine. They have incredibly deteriorated because of differences in interests, different perceptions of life and expectations. As a result, people are dying every day, Ukrainian soldiers are trampled by boots of foreign soldiers and military equipment. And these lives can not be returned.
Athletes say that you can not blame the whole country. You can not say that all Russians are bad. Not all. How can you not say that all Ukrainians are bad. Or the Germans. But I want to say that I’m an optimist. History develops, bad periods are repeated, and good ones. I hope that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will eventually be resolved.
– Mr. Klitschko, Russia will host the FIFA World Cup this summer. Do you think that the Russian government uses major sports festivals as a political tool?
– Yes, absolutely for sure.
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