Svetlana Bolshakova

Brons en blond: Svetlana Bolshakova. Een naam stuiterend als een hink-stap-sprongmetrum. Meer balletdanseres dan atlete.

De natie had nog nooit van haar gehoord, maar daar stond ze wel omzwachteld met een Belgische tricolore onder de Spaanse zon. Derde in haar discipline. Huilend van opwinding, trots en glimmend geluk. Veertien en een halve meter: nationaliteit valt soms in winnende afstanden te meten.

Hink-stap-springers, de gehavende antilopen van de atletiek.

Van Rusland afkomstig, Europees van allure, maar in de liefde is ze Belgisch. Modern ook: haar man, hoogspringer Stijn Stroobants, offerde zijn carrière op voor haar, en niet zonder resultaat. Atletenkoppels weten meer dan andere paren dat succes in het leven nooit alleen komt. Eerst moet je samen de sprong wagen, desnoods in drie stappen, desgewenst de een die de ander draagt. Overleven is daarna bijzaak.

Sterven op de piste is samen net niet doodgaan, mooier, tragischer kan haast niet.

Bolshakova, klinkt fors en boers, en roept het beeld op van zure suikerbieten in een hongerwinter. Praatlulletjes vermoeden een personage van Dostojevski. Maar als je Svetlana aanschouwt, weet je: apollinische steppeschoonheid. Een Oudrussisch icoon neergestreken in een vlak geharkte zandbak.

In een interview zegt ze: “Elke taal is een wereld op zich, met zijn eigen humor.” Het Nederlands, verontschuldigt ze zich vervolgens, is ze nog niet volledig machtig. Een haperend ballet, haar spreken, Tsjaikovski met een kink in. Je zou haar daarvoor bijna gelukkig prijzen. Dan toch iemand in Vlaanderen die De Wever niet grappig vindt.

Svetlana? Misschien wel één der laatste Belgen!

Bronzen medaillewinnaar Svetlana

“Elke taal is een wereld op zich, met zijn eigen humor.”

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