Svetlana Zasipkina (URS)

The three lives of dolly
From "Ogonyok" magazine, Translation by Tara Kennaway

Internet search systems know Svetlana Zasipkina first of all as the actress playing the main role in the Isaak Friberg's psychological drama "Dolly". Finding the sporting biography of Zasipkina on the world wide web is not so simple.

A gymnastics career came for 6 year old Svetlana when she was in kindergarten where she was noticed by a coach. Then began daily 8 hour training sessions. Her sporting destiny was coming along nicely when Zasipkina injured her spine and was no longer able to jump. She was no longer of interest to sport and in 1988 at 16 years of age she turned to cinema.

"I saw a new field of interest and switched" said Svetlana. "I went to Friberg's audition to keep a friend company but it turned out that he gave me the role." The film tells the story of a young gymnast who leaves elite sport due to injury. Basically Zasipkina had been invited to play herself.

For thousands of gymnasts doing gymnastics "Dolly" became a cult film and Zasipkina became a role model. She later went on to act in theatre and for more than a year played the role of Friday in Teatr Luna's production of "Young Robinson's dreams". However, her acting career was cut off just as abruptly as her sporting one. In 1989 Svetlana got married and her husband gave her an ultmatum: either him or the Arts. Zasipkina disappeared from the public eye and after 5 years divorced her first husband. "Now I understand that I made a mistake" she says. "You shouldn't ever do anything just for the sake of love. That includes quitting an interesting job".

In 1991 Svetlana started studying at the Sports Institute where she was working to become a gymnastics coach. But then her friend opened a private veterinary clinic. Sparked with enthusiasm Svetlana decided to do the same, but only after getting the necessary education. However, after graduating from Veterinary Academy Svetlana once again changed her priorities and decided to go into business.

Her little supermarked ran to ruins and she had no desire to resurrect her grocery business. But none the less she now has her own industrial business. Now as ever Svetlana is stregthening her practical activity with education: she's studying at the economic faculty of the Gubkin Academy of Oil and Gas. It's her third higher education. And third life after sport and cinema.

Svetlana Zasipkina has kept her warm relationship with director Isaac Friberg and would be prepared to make a film with him again if he so asked. It's still hard for her to talk about gymnastics even now and when a competition is being shown on TV she immediately turns it off.

. This page was created April 17, 2005.


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