‘Iron Lady’ Hosszu chasing Olympic medal dream

August 27, 2014 - 12:36:57 am
Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu gestures on sidelines of the press conference yesterday in Doha held to reveal details of the FINA World Cup.   PIC: ABDUL BASIT

BY RIZWAN REHMAT

DOHA: Katinka Hosszu, the Hungarian swimmer nicknamed “Iron Lady’, feels an elusive Olympic medal would add sparkle to what many consider is an amazing career.

The 25-year-old swimmer has dominated the world of swimming but is yet to win an Olympic medal despite competing at three editions of the Summer Games.

Competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Hosszu finished fourth in the final of the Women’s 400 Meter individual medley, with a time of 4:33.49.

“Of course, it is disappointing. Every athlete who goes to the Games, goes there with a dream. It was really hard for me to come back from there (without a medal),” Hosszu said yesterday.

“I felt a lot of pressure before London and I really, really wanted to do it (win a medal) at the London Games. It didn’t happen. Hopefully it will happen at Rio,” she added.

Excerpts from a detailed chat with the star swimmer: 

Question: Are you satisfied with your career achievements?

Answer: Yes. I actually said this before that the Olympics title is what I don’t have. But if I were to stop swimming for some strange reason right now I think I will be happy with my career so far. Definitely my goal is to get the Olympic medal. But I feel I have done a lot in swimming already. So, yes, I am pretty satisfied.

Question: Was it disappointing to miss out on a medal at the London Games?

Answer: Of course, it is disappointing. Every athlete who goes to the Games, goes there with a dream. It was really hard for me to come back from there (without a medal). The last two years I have been doing great. I never felt better before. I actually feel like I have learned a lot from London. I don’t fear failure anymore. I just try to do my best. I already had that big disappointment so I am not scared of it anymore. I felt a lot of pressure before London and I really, really wanted to do it (win a medal) at the London Games. It didn’t happen. Hopefully it will happen at Rio. Now I am okay. I think I have done a lot in the past two years.

Question: As a swimmer do you go for short-term goals or long-term goals?

Answer: Both, definitely. My long-term goal is pretty far away because we have the 2021 World Champions in Budapest. We (Hungary) will be hosting it. So I am actually thinking about it already. I kinda wanna swim there at the 2021 World Championships. Of course there is something like Games closer to that - my goal is to be on the podium there. I have short-term goals also.  I want to do well at each competition I go to. I have goals for each event. I have goals for tomorrow (FINA World Cup in Doha). I will probably be swimming in a lot of races here. I am pretty excited.

Question: How do you cope with the husband-coach partnership?

Answer: It was hard at the first four years when he started out coaching me. We had to figure out how to become coach and swimmer in the pool. Now it’s been two years and we are starting to learn to deal with this different relationship. We kind of leave the swimming-coach relationship in the pool. Outside the pool we are husband and wife. 

Question: How was your performance in Berlin?

Answer: I was pretty happy how I did in Berlin. You know I had a goal to do some best times. I had competed in nine individual races so I am pretty happy. I got six medals. I think we are doing so fast.

Question: Was it disappointing to come short of a world record?

Answer: You know, falling short of a world record was not disappointing because it means you are doing pretty well. And it is something I really want to do, I want to break a world record. It has been five years since I have been chasing this record. That’s my big goal. It’s still my goal. I still haven’t achieved it.

Question: Where did the “Iron Lady” title come from?

Answer: Actually it is been two years when the Chinese gave it to me. I was doing the Worlds in Beijing. I did a lot of races. I beat Olympic champions. And they were like ‘how do you do that?’ Are you made of iron?’ And they started calling me ‘Iron Lady’. I didn’t care about it then. The international swimming media loved it so it kind of stuck. I thought I will just go with it and I liked it. So we will see how it goes. Let’s see - maybe we can be a strong brand.

Question: Has the “Iron Lady’ reached her peak as a swimmer?

Answer: I want to get better. You know I feel like I have so much to improve on - mentally and physically. I want to get better every day.

THE PENINSULA

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