Zdravka Yordanova was born on December 9, 1950 in Sofia. Together with Svetla Ocsetova, she won the Olympic double sculls title in Montreal in 1976. Her first success was a bronze medal at the world championships in Nottingham (1975). Has a world title in 1978 at the championship in New Zealand. She is the winner of two silver medals from the world championships in Amsterdam (1977) and Bled (1979). She was announced as Sportsman 1 of Bulgaria for 1978. Since 1986, she has been working as a journalist. She was awarded the "Stara Planina" order, 1st degree, for special services to Bulgarian sports.
Zdravka Yordanova is a member of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee. She was Bulgaria's ambassador for sports, tolerance and fair play to the Council of Europe and a representative of our country in the international movement "Fair Play". Since 1991, he has been the chairman of the Bulgarian Federation of Veteran Athletes. He has been in the management of the Bulgarian sports totalizer for a year.
Mrs. Yordanova, do you have any injuries from your sports career?
- I am one of the lucky athletes who came out of the big sport without injuries. I only had one incident where a wharf on the Belmeken dam almost brushed my leg. The water had fallen low, and the wharf from which we leave with the boats remained about thirteen meters on land. It was over a ton and a half and the whole team struggled to lift it and get it back into the water by rolling it on oval logs. About thirty people raised the pier. We were barely peeling it off the ground. But the tree below began to spin and run over my leg like a roller. I let out a scream. Immediately, the teammates, who until then had barely peeled off the dock, lifted him half a meter off the ground. Who knows what horror they felt when I screamed. Under other circumstances, my leg would have gone haywire. However, the toe underneath was very wet and took the shape of my foot. Otherwise, there could have been very serious consequences. They immediately put my foot in the ice water and then took me to the doctor's office at the base in Belmeken, where they had all kinds of equipment. They took a picture and it turned out that there were no breaks in the ankle and heel, only skin abrasions. It turned out to be a happy coincidence. Just two months later it was the world championship in New Zealand where I won the title. If something had happened to my leg, it would have meant the end of my career altogether.
Only now I feel that there was trauma. My leg is swelling, it's uncomfortable. This is a bad legacy of sports. Otherwise, I have the usual ailments that every person experiences, let alone athletes who have gone through such a tough sport as rowing.
What are your complaints?
- Pain in the lower back. And those in the back are from sitting in front of the computer, not so much from sports. Although in rowing we are subjected to heavy load and bad current. About 50cm out of the water there is some eddying of the air when paddling that goes right through the waist area. The rhythmic movement with the paddles causes tendinovaginitis in the wrists. But, thank God, I have also been saved from this disease. I credit it to my good genes. Because many people around me suffered continuously from plexitis, tendovaginitis, problems in the knees and in all joints exposed to heavy load. If you are more graceful, you are more vulnerable. Things were pretty stable for me. Some time ago, a colleague of yours wrote that I inherited high blood pressure from sports. This is not true. High blood pressure came with age, with my weight, but not with sports.
Why did you gain weight?
- I have myself to blame for this, because I could have imposed a more careful diet. The bad thing is that
stopped rowing suddenly
I have two such moments. One is after the Olympics - almost six months of endless holidays, I did nothing. After that, my first training session was a 3200m test, which I won, but I was going to die. Because not training for six months and going straight to the track is scary and absolutely not recommended. After the end of my career, it happened again in the same way - I turned my back on sports for a long time. I occasionally skied, swam, and competed in veteran rowing events. Movement is absolutely necessary and especially a former athlete must at all costs continue with the sport.
Did you have to go on diets?
- That's the problem, I've never done diets. To this day, I am an opponent of diets, because the body needs everything. If you stop giving him anything, the first moment you give it to him, he hoards it, hoards it. So the correct setting is movement and a diet, but in no case a diet.
How was your high blood pressure diagnosed?
- Accidentally when I went to get my driver's license medical. The doctor doing the summary at the end just looked at me and said I had high blood pressure, that it was at least 170 or 180. Already intrigued, I asked to check and indeed it turned out to be 170. Very worried, I went to a cardiologist and they found out that I have to take pills.
Have you ever been hospitalized?
- It's happened to me. Except when my son was born, I had a scar on my leg that had to be operated on, and then I was in the hospital. And a few years ago I had a cold and got an acute inflammation.
What is your impression of Bulgarian he althcare?
- Both Bulgarian he alth care and Bulgarian sports need more care. They have started to sink and now it seems irreversible. Problems get worse instead of being solved. It seems to be done on purpose, not by accident. There is no goodwill to fix the system.
Personal interests come to the fore, who and in what way will be benefited, not what would be useful to the people.
How do you explain that many Bulgarians seek treatment abroad?
- There are probably many opportunities for these people to be treated in Bulgaria as well. Our doctors are very good. Either the awareness of the Bulgarians is not good enough, or some opportunities available to us are deliberately hidden, or artificial administrative obstacles are created. I often hear stories of how someone can't get treatment here due to completely stupid administrative reasons and ends up finding a way to go abroad. He pays a lot of money there, and hardly gets a better solution to his problem. Well, yes, in many cases it gets it, but at a huge cost.
Is it okay to do continuous donation campaigns?
- This is not right. At the same moment when we hear about incredible drains of money, about various schemes, etc., we appeal for help to the seriously ill, we are pulling on the thin string of compassion. Someone is making an image out of this thing, including the media, who organize such campaigns of their own. Why should donation campaigns be done when we have he alth insurance and everyone should have funds to use when needed.
For example, a campaign is now being made for the Olympic champion Norair Nourikyan to be treated abroad for lung cancer
- He did many consultations in Bulgaria and indeed the diagnosis was confirmed. He had to do more research, for which he went to Paris. Apparently, he also didn't find any other solution to reach the idea of going to the USA for treatment.
Is this the last chance?
- I hope it's not the last, I hope the person gets better. Now we are really determined to help him and get to the good end. $150,000 needed.
However, the Bulgarian sports bookmaker, where you work with Norayr Nurikyan, can't they release some amount?
- BST cannot make such decisions independently, they must be approved by the Ministry of Finance. There is such a proposal to allocate part of the required amount for treatment, but we are waiting for the approval of the ministry.
Finally - what do you personally do for yourself to be he althy?
- We live in a rather difficult time and a person must make an effort to avoid depression. He alth is primarily a matter of psychological adjustment. When a person stops living actively and becomes discouraged, he simply dies. That's why I live dynamically and I don't let myself go with the flow. Constant commitments keep me going. I deal with the veteran movement, with many sports and athletes, and so I myself am in constant motion. It is important to have plans ahead, to rely on yourself. God grant that everyone can rely on themselves until the end of their days.