I promised you to share with you some of the most inspiring stories of people I meet in my life. I feel so blessed and fortunate to be able to meet people that I meet and have the friends that I have.
This story that I am about to share with you is about a woman that I’ve met at the WBFF World Championship, we shared the same Pro Green Room and boy, was it fun! We clicked instantaneously with Svetlana and became friends since then. Every conversation we have is at least 3 hours long, haha, and it still is not enough – we always laugh and never reach the lows in our conversations, it’s always fun!
Svetlana is the Siberian spirit through and through! She is strong, she is hard-working, she is gorgeous and she has a very big and kind heart on top of that. This girl is a survivor and so few people know her story. Although her journey is much more complex, I am much honored to be able to tell a small part her story here.
Here is our recent interview:
1. Svetlana, how did you start in fitness?
After a serious back and multiple knee injuries I could no longer compete in moguls. I was feeling lost and depressed. When I started to walk again, I enrolled in a group fitness leader course.
To be honest I did not like fitness at the beginning. But I had promised myself that I will try a new career and would not give up. I set up a new goal and was trying to find my lost happiness.
After each workout my knee was swollen and my friend, who was a nurse, had to puncture my knee joint each time in order for me to be able to continue working out next day. It was painful and annoying but I decided to be patient. In a few months I became a certified fitness trainer.
A few months later me and my friend borrowed some money and opened fitness club in the city of Tomsk. Later we separated our businesses and each of us ran our own clubs. I successfully ran my enterprise for 5 years until I moved to Canada. I had the best team and wonderful people in my club. It was my family, my world, my life!
I started competing last year in the fitness competitions. I competed for the first time at the WBFF BC Championship in April 2010. I became an overall champion in Fitness Model category, got a PRO card and also placed 3rd in Bikini Model competition. It was great experience for me and it proved my theory that NOTHING CAN BEAT YOUR DESIRE.
September, 2010 I competed at the World Championships (it was my second competition ever) and I made the top 5. I plan to compete in the World Championship in August 2011 and I’m currently looking for a sponsorship.
I have always been an active child, but I never participated in any sport, I was not an athletic kid.
I never thought about being a professional athlete.
One day I went for a walk with my friends and saw freestyle skiers going down the slope and doing aerial jumps, flying through the air… I stopped and could not breathe. I felt something very strong and strange happening inside of me. I had such a strong emotion when I saw athletes doing flips in the air; I felt pain in my heart physically. Since that moment my life changed completely. I woke up in the morning and set a big long term goal to become a professional freestyle skier.
I was 16 years old and I never skied before in my life. It was too late to start professional mogul career. But I did not want to listen to anyone and I decided to do something I have never done before. I wanted to come out from my loser’s shell. I started to truly believe that one day people will see me competing at the International competitions.
In the summer time Freestyle skiers were training outside and I was sitting in the bushes every day and writing down all the exercises they performed. Then I repeated them myself at home (small apartment) and outside. My neighbors and my parents thought that I went crazy because I was spending all my time jumping on the stairs in my building and doing pull ups outside with a little boys. J I did it for a month and after I got some moves and knowledge down I approached the coach and asked for a try-out. It was a miracle, but I passed and was accepted into the sports school. But this was during the summer so I still had to prove myself in the winter as well. Being a mogul skier was my biggest dream, so I was ready to do whatever it takes!
When the first snow covered the land, we went training on the slope. I was scared that it could be my last day being on the team if my coach will see that I am not a skier. So when the coach said “go downhill with wide turns” I did not say anything. I just closed my eyes, pushed off and went straight down the slope… I hit a tree right away and had injured my hip. That was the day when my coach realized that I was crazy about moguls and decided to keep me. 🙂
The first year of skiing was horrible and very hard for me. I was falling down every second and even kids in my sports school laughed at me. But I believed in myself and focused all of my energy to get through that shame. It was my hope and I could not lose it. It was my chance to stop being a loser and to become strong.
My parents and my friends thought that I got mental. I was so focused and I did not want to miss not a minute to get closer to my dream. When I realized that I don’t have time and need to work 100 times more than other athletes I decided to go extreme with my training.
I set up a goal to do splits (which helped me to perform better mogul jumps), I was stretching every 3 hours every day and I even set up an alarm at night as well, so I could do it faster 🙂
Rocky was my hero and the example of how I needed to train.
It is only a few months of snow in Russia, even in Siberia, so I decided not to miss my ski practice and at the summer-spring time I was working on my technique in my apartment, I was jumping over old clothes on the floor wearing ski boots and skies. My neighbors definitely was not happy at that point 🙂
Within a year of intense practices I started to compete in my region. Next year I went to Russian Championship and it was also the first time when I saw real mountains. Mogul course was placed in the middle of the slope and looked very scary to me. In Siberia we trained on just a small 200 meters hill. So I fell several times until I finished my course in the first big competition and I bet it was very funny to watch my performance. After that trip I started training as hard as I could.
Later I competed with the National Russian Olympic team for several years. It was an amazing time of my life! Mogul gives you an enormous adrenaline kick, a feeling which is just beyond words! I loved speed, power and I felt like a hero 🙂
I always admired brave people and that was something I was missing.
When I was a teenager in order to get fearless, I planned to overcome my fears by facing them. It sounds crazy now, but to overcome fears I walked on the edge of the roof of 9-story apartment complex (a little stupid, huh? J) Once after watching a scary movie, I decided to force myself to walk across a cemetery in the middle of the night alone. To clarify, Russian cemeteries are far worse than well taken care of and gated North-American cemeteries.
The one I walked through was very old and reminded me of a scene from a horror movie. I walked to one end of the cemetery and then got so scared and ran as fast as an Olympic champion on the way back. I guess my experiment failed 🙂
The very first mogul jump was also extremely scary for me. I didn’t sleep the entire night prior to this event and my knees where shaking. But every time I overcame small challenges, it helped me build my confidence more and more.
I stopped competing in Moguls because of my injuries. I only can enjoy light skiing as a “tourist” now..
3. I know you have the Siberian spirit, large Russian soul and such a natural beauty that radiates from the inside out. Svetlana, what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome in your life as a person and how did you deal with it?
Thank you so much for your kind words Natalia! It means a lot to me.
My biggest obstacle that I had to overcome was the suicide attempts. I had serious psychological trauma when I was 6 years old. It had a huge influence in my life. I was scared, hopeless child with no confidence. I was behaving and feeling like a loser. I was a loser in everything and most importantly in my mind.
Sport saved me. It gave me desire to live and it gave me hope. I decided to build my new happy life with successful me in it.
A few years later when I was in my best shape, I got serious back injury. I jumped too high, lost control and couldn’t land properly. All my dreams and hopes were ruined again.
It was difficult for me to stay in the bed for quite a long time. DOCTORS TOLD ME THAT I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO COMPETE AGAIN. I REFUSED TO BELIEVE IT.
I discovered a book called, “Story of a real man”, which told the tale of an amputee. I’ve read it multiple times. It made me realize the great power of the human spirit! I began training in my bed with weights first and when I started to walk again. I started to train harder than ever before. One year later, I returned to the sport to compete with the Russian National team.
And I am happy it happened to me because it changed my personality in many ways and helped me to become a stronger person.
4. What is your business now?
I work as a personal and online trainer at http://www.svetafitness.com/
I also teach group fitness classes and do modeling projects.
5. What are your goals in the near future?
I want to become successful in a new country and then help and inspire people worldwide! 🙂
6. Where can my readers find you?
Svetlana, thank you so much for sharing your incredible story with us. You are a true beauty inside and out, strong, determined and very honest! I know that your story will help so many people to stop being afraid to follow their dreams. You are the epitome of hard worker, who truly believes in her dream, prevailing any obstacles on the way to the ultimate goal.
You overcame tough life and avoided the bad influences by training hard and following your dream. You overcame the injury that could easily paralyze you for life and kept training to not just walk again, but compete in the Russian National Championship and win.
You moved to another country and you are following your goals with the determination and strength of Siberian Tigress.
I wish you all the success in the world and can’t wait to see you on stage shining like a star that you are.
Now get up and follow your dream!
Click and read the interview at nataliamuntean.com