Sergei Chernyshov (Bumblebee), the winner of the first gold medal in breakdancing in the history of the Olympic Games came to his native Voronezh from Argentina for only two days. The champion talked to his relatives, friends, and trainees, and flew away again – this time to the USA. The 2018 Silverback Open Championship which is considered equal to a world championship among dancers was held in Philadelphia from October 27 to 28.

RIA “Voronezh” journalists met Sergei Chernyshov prior to his departure to America. The conversation took place in the dance studio where the young man teaches.

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The Olympian champion confessed that after Argentina he was tired both emotionally and physically, so he would answer the questions in a low voice. He also asked to be addressed on a first-name basis.

“The Olympics mean hype”

– I can rarely be seen like this. Usually, I’m more emotional and loud, - Sergei says reclining on a soft sofa in a small room stuffed with dance stage props. – But I’m not complaining, I’ve dreamt about such an active life since I was a kid: to do what I love doing and travel around the world for free thanks to it.

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– How does the organism react to time zone changes?

– It’s already fine now. As a child, I had problems with my immunity. I often used to get sick, but since then I’ve improved my endurance and trained. Sometimes I have problems with my daily regime. For example, after I came to Argentina, I woke up at 7:00 for three days in a row no matter what time I’d gone to sleep at. I woke up as if it was to an alarm clock. Then I re-adapted and slept until late in the morning, although usually, I don’t sleep for more than eight hours a day. Some say that prior to a tournament one needs to train in accordance with the time zone he’s about to go to, meaning that if I was to fly to America tomorrow, I would have to train at night. I think that’s nonsense. The human organism is smart, it will adjust automatically. A day or two of adaptation and everything will be alright.

– And what is this upcoming tournament in Philadelphia? Is it so important you need to fly across the ocean again without even taking a rest?

– It’s alright. I’m adequate t estimating my energy reserves and think that as long as I’m young, there is a lot I can squeeze out of myself. It is where one of the largest world championships will be held. It has no age restrictions, i.e. dancers of different age compete against each other. Last year, I and the boys took the second place in the 3 vs 3 category. This time I was invited to the top-16 (without qualification rounds - RIA “Voronezh”), to the 1 vs 1 category. This tournament is very important to me.

– More important than the Youth Olympic Games? If you compare the Olympic in Buenos Aires with the tournament in Philadelphia, which one is more prestigious?

– It is hard to say. It was the first Olympics ever to include a breakdance competition. There is no exact impression regarding the Olympics yet. Right now, the Olympics mean hype to us. Everyone’s under the impression, but there are certain nuances in terms of organization that we don’t understand yet.

“A “bronze” as good as gold”

– You’re talking about the pair forming system for the mixed team doubles (a competition where pairs consist of a boy and a girl). I heard the TV journalists raging because of it.

– Yes, it was a strange system. I didn’t like it, it turned out silly. They formed the pairs on “the strongest boy joins the weakest girl” basis. And vice versa, supposedly to strike the happy medium. But the weakest boy is always much stronger physically than the weakest girl. In breakdancing, boys dominate over girls in physiological terms, so “the strongest girl and the weakest boy” pair will always be better than “the strongest boy and the weakest girl”. As a result, I won all my rounds, but I couldn’t dance for my partner (b-girl Ella from Austria).

– Was it hurtful to receive the bronze? After all, you could have gone home with two gold medals. You only lacked a couple of hundredths of points for the finals. Did you feel an urge to tell the Austrian b-girl what you thought afterward? Everyone saw that it was her who was weighing you down.

– It wasn’t hurtful. No one there took the mixed team doubles seriously, it felt like it was an after-party following the main competition. Everyone went there to compete one on one. When I teamed up with Ella, I wasn’t’ expecting a medal at all. A journalist in Argentina said that this bronze was as good as gold. It would be wrong for a girl with such a skill to receive a gold medal. Even a bronze was a big achievement for her.

“Something had gone wrong”

– That’s right, everyone will remember you as the winner of the individual rounds. And your semi-finals with the Japanese dancer were simply crazy in terms of tension. When it comes to the level of skills and emotions, these semi-finals were as good as the finals.

– Well, even before the start of the Olympics everyone thought that it would be me and the Japanese athlete who would enter the finals. We’re on the same skill level, better than many other athletes there. I’m not exalting myself or him, my words are objective.

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– So how did it happen that you two met in the semi-finals? Was it because of the draw in the qualification rounds?

– No, it was about the results of the first qualification day. I made a tie in the first round that time. I thought I was up for it, but something had gone wrong. I’m always slow at the start but fast to the finish. As a result, I was in the third place after the first day, so me and the Japanese dancer ended up in the semi-finals.

– The Japanese athlete was the front-runner at the Olympics. Was it scary to compete against him, honestly?

– With the Japanese boy, it was a battle of circumstances, when everything is in the moment: it is a matter of what you do and what your opponent does. Everything was on the edge. The support of my close played had a big role in it. There were so many calls prior to the competition, on the finals day. My victory is not mine alone, but of all those who supported me. The fact that I was representing my country was also a great motivation. It gave me strength knowing that I was a part of the Russian National Team which had become the leader in the number of medals since the very first day. Our guys had demonstrated such power from the very start! You enter the National Team’s headquarters and see pieces of paper with congratulations to the medalists on a special wall. Each day someone was congratulated. And there were so many of those pieces of paper! We could have organized tours to our headquarters for the foreign athletes – no one else had so many rewards. We have 59 medals, 29 of them gold.

“I don’t know what country I will live in”

– In the finals with the French dancer, it was clear from the start that you would be the Olympic Champion. Your opponent’s skill level was significantly lower. Did you realize that you were to become the Olympic Champion after you beat the Japanese boy?

– I didn’t realize that I was the Olympic Champion for a whole week after I had won. The understanding always comes later. But nothing has changed in my worldview after receiving this medal. I’m the same as I ever was. Of course, I’m glad that I have something to do with the first gold medal in breakdancing, with the fact that it has gone to Russia. In this trip, I felt proud about belonging to this country. The power of the Russian spirit is felt especially strongly during championships. The patriotism inside me awoke at the Olympics.

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– And what country are you planning to live in?

– I really don’t know. I’ve been to a lot of places in the last two years. For example, the USA: when you go there for the first time, you get a “wow” feeling, but when you come to stay there for a while, you see the flaws. And it’s the same in every country. Honestly, I don’t know yet where I’ll end up in the future.

– Can we at least count on you performing for Russian even if you live abroad?

– Yes!

“I don’t know anything about the prize money yet”

– Seryozha, this will be read by boys and girls who are into breakdancing. And they will have a question: how did you end up at the Olympics?

– There was a three-stage selection within a year. The first was a remote one. I sent a video about myself. There were 4 thousand applications filed from all over the world. After that, all the selected athletes had to prove their worth during the continental stages depending on the location of the country they were from. I competed in Germany. There were also competitions in the USA and Japan as part of this stage. I took the first place in Germany. Following the second stage, 60 people had been selected to meet at the Youth World Championship. Out of those 60, 12 athletes were sent to the Olympics – one from each country. I took the second place there after losing to the Japanese boy whom I would later defeat at the Olympics.

– Medalists of the adult Olympics are given cars and good prize money. Were you in turn congratulated by the chief executives of the country?

– At the airport, an Aide to the President read a letter of congratulation to us. He said that we would receive grants, that a meeting would be appointed later. That’s all we know. The Olympics do not involve prize money. It all depends on the country. We’ll see how generous it will be to us./p>

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“I’ve entered a technical university, but I dream of becoming an actor”

– You’re in amazing shape, how often do you train?

– 4 to 6 hours every day. To tell the truth, I’ve recently entered a technical university, so I’ll have to spend time on education as well.

– What’s your specialty?

– Expertise and real estate management.

– Did you go there just for the sake of a higher education degree?

– Yes. But I will attend the lectures when I’m in Voronezh. I’m not ruling out the possibility of making use of the received knowledge. I don’t think that training and competitions are a reason not to study. I’ve always tried to balance breakdancing with schooling. I’ve passed the USE with good grades, no Cs. Even if you’re a great and merited athlete, you must never forget about education. Finding the time to study is hard, but it is possible. Actually, I dream of entering a drama university in Moscow. But I realize that once I start studying there, I will have to forget about everything except studying. And I would love to throw myself into studying, but I cannot give up on breakdancing right now. Bat it’s not a big deal – I still have time for the second higher education at the drama university.

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“I’ve tried everything, but I will not ruin my life with bad habits”

– In the interview you gave right after winning the Olympics, you said you dedicated the victory to your father.

– Yes. He is a father, a coach and a friend to me at the same time. He covers all my flanks. I’ve never seen a relationship as one between me and him anywhere. I have no secrets from him, he understands my young man’s needs, he knows about all the bad habits that can arise at my age from his own experience.

– Do you have bad habits?

– I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. You have to be a fool to ruin your life with such things, but I’m not hiding the fact that I’ve tried it. Everyone has, don’t trust those who claim not to have done it ever.

– You’re only 18 and you already have an Olympic medal. What else do you dream of as a dancer?

– I dream of breakdancing to be included in the adult Olympic Games, and of wining the gold in it, of course.