Interview with Irina Veselova by Juan Carlos Lopez and Robert Samborsky
1. You were a russian powerlifting champion, track & field champion and bodybuilding champion. What made you decide to come back after 6 years away from competition?
I was always involved, i didn't stop training. It's just i took a break which had to do with both me relocating to united states with my ex-husband and was concentrating more on my ex- husbands career. Also from financial point it wasn't possible at the time to live the bodybuilding style for both of us. Now that am a single woman it gave me a chance to finally concentrate on myself and do what i love most.
2. Why did you initially decide figure? Why the switch from figure to bodybuilding?
6 years away from competition i lost a lot of muscle size and figure was more natural at the time. However i am and always will be bodybuilder in my heart. After i competed in figure some judges made a point that i was a little too muscular for figure and at the same time suggested i needed to bring my legs up to match my upper body. Training for bodybuilding gave an opportunity to improve my legs.
3. Between your last figure competition and bodybuilding you only had 8 weeks to prepare. How hard was the transition?
That was the toughest 8 weeks in my life. Within those 8 weeks i had to gain more size, come in tighter, improve my posing for bodybuilding competition and at the same time Evgeny Mishin and i started our divorce proceedings, i had to change my last name and also i had to move to another town. So it wasn't easy, but like i said before i have no regrets.
4. Are you staying with bodybuilding or will continue in figure? When will we see you next on stage and what can we expect?
Right now i need a break both physically and mentally.
5. You have a huge following in europe, but what do you think about fans in us and how are you treated here?
Fans in USA are great. This sport here is much more popular than in europe. I get a lot of positive feedback and i feel i have a good fans base, as i believe i do look different than other girls in figure and that my true fans really appreciate my look and support me no matter where i place, as i believe that they support me more as an athlete and what i represent than rather how i place. And for that I am grateful and will remain true to myself and do what's best for me and my supporters.
6. You recently got divorced from your husband IFBB pro Evgeny Mishin, can you say something about that? Was bodybuilding the reason of your break up?
No bodybuilding wasn't the reason for our divorce. I would say that bodybuilding was the reason why we met and one of the major positive contributions to or marriage in a first place.
7. You train in the same gym as new fitness pro Erin Riley In fact you even competed on the same stage in figure last year at NPC gold's classic, where you won the overall. What can you say about erin and are you friends, train together, etc?
Yes we both train at Apollon gym in edison, nj.
8. After your bodybuilding pro debut some people said were giving you props for making such quick transition and predict that you will make a huge impact in the future and even compare you to fellow russian Valentina Chepiga How do you feel about that?
Without a doubt that is very nice to hear such comments. But i think all we have in common is that we both come form eastern block me form Russia and Valentina Chepiga from Ukraine. We are both foreigners living in USA and neither one of us is a massive girl.
9. As much as there were compliments about your move to bodybuilding, there was also some level of criticism, what can you say about that?
10. What are some things that you would like to change about the women's bodybuilding or figure?
In bodybuilding i would like to see judges finally keeping their promise and rewarding women that truly represent women's bodybuilding. I believe that women's bodybuilding should be represented by such physiques like valentina or Lenda Women bodybuilders should be muscular yet feminine, proportionate and not "overly muscular". The criteria of 20% less muscles is obviously not enforced. Women are forced to go to extremes in order to compete by today's standard and that is something most women don't want to do and i guess i am falling in to that category myself. After "trying" to compete in bodybuilding i realized that i am not willing to do "all" that is required in order to be the best. I still want to remain muscular, yet feminine. I do hope that judges will reconsider the standard of women's bodybuilding and we will see more women compete in both IFBB and NPC (where in some shows there are no competitors at all, because of the decline in female bodybuilding popularity).
11. What would you like to add or who would you like to thank for support.
I want to thank my friends whose support and friendship helped through this year. It's Robert & Marina Samborsky, Alex Fedora, Alex Timoshenko (iron-bull), Denis Tsygankov, Aleksey Kash, Erin Riley, Jeff Conway, Kevin Mulhall.