85-year-old diver from the United States, Ibone De Belausteguigoitia, revealed the secrets to living a happy life in an interview with a sports reporter of the Kazan 2015 OC’s Press Office. Within only two days she managed to grab two gold medals in the 1m and 3m springboard events. Tomorrow the world champion and Conroe Diving Club member will execute 3 platform dives.
After being awarded yet another medal, Ibone watches how other athletes climb the podium and receive their trophies. With all this bustle and hustle in the background, she speaks without any haste as if she is having a tea table talk at home. Taking questions from the journalist, she easily breaks the ice and always makes eye contact when giving the answers. It’s been only a few days since the American diver arrived in Kazan, so far she hasn’t seen any tourist attractions but the Kremlin is certainly the first thing on her list. It is not her first time in Russia, she has already been to Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Ibone De Belausteguigoitia has been taking part in the World Masters Championships since 1988, starting in the 50-54 age group. She was born in Spain in 1930 in a family of athletes. First the diver started training all by herself after seeing diving competitions on TV. Later on, after a year of being trained by a coach, she was included in the Mexican national team and as one of the nation’s six best divers Ibone De Belausteguigoitia went to compete in the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, during a practice she injured her wrist but she still competed and finished only 17th. Ibone also performed at numerous Mexican national championships, Central American and the Caribbean competitions. Since 1984, she has been taking part in dozens of Masters championships, grabbing more than 100 gold medals in the springboard and platform events, which also let her travel around the entire world.
– I used to train in the mornings from Monday to Friday and I keep doing it now. Besides, I also have some household chores to do. Since I’ve already retired I enjoy my life now.
– What Masters tournament do you remember the most?
– The first Masters tournament in Toronto. I grabbed springboard and platform gold back there. Nowadays there are various diving events: 1m springboard, 3m springboard; back then it was not like this. I also compete in the 5m springboard event but when you are over 60 years old the 10m platform is an impossible height for you.
– Are you afraid of diving?
– I guess, now I am. I used to dive from the 10m platform but now it’s a bit scary for me.
– And are you nervous about the springboard dives?
– Yes, all the time! Every competition is always something new. Every time I am about to dive my heart beats like a drum. For me, the 3m springboard event is easier than the 1m springboard because the height is higher which gives me more time to execute different kinds of elements.
– How do you like the Championships?
– Everything is great! I meet new people from different countries all the time. I’ve met you for example. I’ve already known the majority of the athletes before because we compete together at various tournaments. Evgenia Stepanova from St. Petersburg for example has taken part in a lot of diving events. However new athletes also appear at the Championships.
– How does your family feel about you competing at these Championships?
– They are not worried at all.
– Are you satisfied with your performance?
– Everything can happen during the event but I am alive and kicking and I am happy about it (laughs).
– What is the secret to your success?
– Regular practices. You should always a proper level of physical fitness. Every day from Monday to Friday I exercise about half an hour, then during 20 minutes I dive. The Conroe Diving Club, the club I am a member of, is situated rather close to my house, within only 10-minute walk, I can train there practically every single day.
– When are you planning to leave sport?
– Definitely not now. I’m going to do it as long as I can. I stay fit and healthy due to the sport; I am always in a good mood. I’ve been into diving since I was young. Swimming seems to be easier; I can do that in the future instead of diving.
– What would you wish young athletes?
– Keep self-developing, never give up! Constant practices today will make you stronger tomorrow!
Press Office of Organising Committee for 16th FINA World Championships