It’s the first time that a Latin American city is hosting the Summer Olympics, which is having it’s 31st anniversary. There couldn’t be a better fitting city than Rio de Janeiro for the olympics, with it’s beautiful beaches, wonderful nature and world-famous Maracana Stadium. The highly-anticipated 2016 Summer Olympics with “Live Your Passion” as it’s motto, will last for 19 days with 42 different branches, taking place between August 5 – 21. We spoke to Ramil Guliyev, Işıl Alben and Viktoria Zeynep Güneş, who are some of the representatives of Turkey. What these athletes, who are participating in completely different branches, have in common, is their passion.
What made you choose sports and athletics?
I was born in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan on 1990. I grew up in a family of athletes, so sports was a part of my life. I tried different branches when I started back in 2004. Then, a sprinter himself, my father steered me towards athletics.
What’s your routine for when you are preparing for the olympics?
Success does not come easy in sports. I work a lot and challenge myself to reach my goals for the preparation period. This period is a hard one for me as it is to all athletes. Especially before olympics, we train even harder.
If you were to make a playlist for training, which songs would be on it?
I choose different tunes depending on my psychological state at that moment. If I were to make a playlist, it would be composed of electronic, rap and pop songs. I like running to clas- sical music from time to time as well.
The slogan of this year’s olympics is“Live your Passion.”Do you think you are living your passion?
Absolutely! Running is living for me. Yes I have to bear with so many difficulties, but the feelings I get when I’m on the track and running, and when the race is over, are priceless for me. I don’t think I can live without these feelings. I feel like I was born to run.
Who / what are the things that supported you the most while preparing for the Olympics?
My biggest motivation is my dream of winning an Olympic medallion. As a sportsman, if you have a dream, you have to work really hard at it and believe in yourself. At that point, I need a lot of psychological support. My family and our team director Mihriban Oğuz – who is the reason why I pursue this career – are my biggest supporters. Having a sponsor who helps out with performances, is innovative, and provides es- thetic products, exceeding my passion for winning.
Was there anything that led you down? How did you push through your own limits?
As a small kid, I used to get sick frequently. Because of my situation, my family didn’t really want me to do sports. I was always picked last because of my height. However I did achieve my goal because of the love I have for basketball, because I worked hard at it, and because I built up my confidence.
The Olympics slogan for this year is “Live Your Passion!” What is your passion in life?
My passion is basketball, which I don’t think will ever change. I took a basketball in my hand in first grade, and I never let go.
VİKTORİA ZEYNEP GÜNEŞ
YÜZÜCÜ / SWIMMER
How did you start your swimming career?
I became a professional after World Championship in Barcelona in 2013. It was my first international adult competition. I swam there during two finals. I was fifteen years old and I had just started going to international meetings. It was a good experience and a big step for my future career.
As a result of this journey, you couldn’t swim for a while. How did you catch up? What kept you motivated during that time?
I did not stop swimming. I trained all the time during my journey. However I couldn’t compete at the races. It was a 1,5 year-long period. It was a little bit hard for me because I was at the age when I wanted to show myself off. But I knew my goals and I understood that I just needed to wait until I could race again.
You are only 17 and you already have won the gold medal many times. What are your expectations from Rio Olympics?
It will be my first Olympic games, and I want to show my best and to try to enjoy myself by swimming.