LUISA MARÍA LÓPEZ LEÓN She was born in Camas (Seville)
Long Jumping Spanish Champion Interviewed by year 4 students CEIP Argantonio
Comenius project “Sports Beyond Borders”
Juan: When did you start practising long jumping and why? L.L: At 11/12 years old. As a professional at 17/18 years old. I liked it very much, and it was very motivating to me. Beatriz: Did you find many difficulties? L.L.: I didn’t find many difficulties really, since my parents encouraged me from the very beginning and I did great efforts to keep my good marks at school too. María: When did you get your first golden medal? L.L: At 12, in the under-16 category, at a provincial championship. Sergio: Have your parents ever gone to see your competitions? L.L: Yes, they have supported me a lot; they also watched the competitions on TV. At that time there weren’t any mobile phones, so I had to ring them up from a phone box. If I had won they congratulated me, if not, they cheered me to go on.
Laura: Have you ever been sorry about being a great sportswoman? L.L: No, never. I learnt from troubles.
Lola: How many hours do you train a day? L.L: It depends on your age. When you grow up you train more hours, even Saturdays and Sundays. If it is not competition time the training is lighter. If you have a competition ahead you train harder. Ignacio: Of all your medals, which one do you appreciate more? L.L: The Latin American medal. It was my best international record, and in my hometown. Mari Carmen: How many medals have you got? L.L: 60 medals in total, of all categories.
Elisa: At the beginning, did you think you were going to go so far? L.L.: No, not really. At the beginning you go to train with your friends, because you like it. Then, when you get a higher level you always try to get better records. Laura M.: How did you feel when you were a Spanish Champion for the first time? L.L.: It was very moving. It was something special when I stepped up onto the podium. Julio: Have you ever had injuries? L.L.: Yes! Many: legs, feet, back...This is a sporting speciality in which you have lots of injuries. And I’m lucky, I think I’m one of the few jumpers in Spain who has no leg surgery. When you recover from an injury you feel stronger and it’s good for your self-development. Alberto: Were you nervous before a championship? L.L.: Yes! Absolutely. It was a mixture of fear, excitement and happiness. However, the very moment to get ready at the line to jump you forget about everything. Nerves help you to be alert and if you control them (you also train this) they are good. How? First, you visualize what you are going to do; second, have positive thinking; then breath; also you can listen to music; and finally put your mind in blank. I like this feeling. You can also do this before your tests. Alba: Why did you leave your sports career? L.L.: Because of my age (30) I felt like getting a job after finishing my studies. When you are a sportswoman you have to be at your 100% to reach your goals, it’s not a hobby. I didn’t feel frustrated, but satisfied, since I had given my best. Javier: What is the furthest country you have been competing to? L.L.: Oslo. I wasn’t able to go to a championship in Argentina because I had to do my exams at college.
Beatriz: Was travelling annoying to you? L.L.: No, not really. It was just a routine. I always knew I had to compete at the weekends. The most irritating thing was to unpack my luggage. I had my suitcase full of sand from the jumping pit! Marta: Nowadays, do you still do long jumping? L.L.: No, I don’t. But I do a lot of sports (cycling, jogging…) because I feel better when I do sports. Iván: Has your family supported you in your dream? L.L.: Yes, because they could see I was very encouraged about it from very young, and at the same time it didn’t affect to my studies in a negative way. Sports never took up my time, it gave me energy.
Clara: How did you feel when you were away from home? L.L.: I had conflicting thoughts. On one hand, I was very happy because I was doing my favourite thing. On the other hand, I missed them very much. I’ve always had my parents’ support, we spoke on the phone and they cheered me a lot.
Conrado: Who is your favourite sportsman/woman? L.L.: I love sports in general. Every sportsman or sporstwoman deserves my respect, the winner and the last one. The only thing I do not like are unsporting attitudes, or the lack of fair play. I have two idols, the jumpers Galina Chistyakova (from Ukraine) and Mike Powell (from Philadelphia, the USA) Marina: For you… what’s the best thing about doing sports? Everything, if you live it in healthy way. But most of all, it’s good if you channel it to your own character. It helps you in your whole life.
Thank you very much, Luisa. We’ve learnt a lot from you! Castilleja de Guzmán (Seville), 9th December 2011.