Interview: María José Fernández Ostolaza 
From G&A Magazine issue 11- By Silvia Roca
The new Spanish RSG Selector faces with illusion the challenge of equalizing the gold medal of the Atlanta Games.
    María Fernandez has relevated Emilia Boneva and right now is the maximum head of Spanish rhythmics. Continuing the success of the Bulgarian won't be easy, but she's convinced of that the experience got with her may be decisive.
    After the gold medal got by Marta Baldó, Nuria Cabanillas, Estela Giménez, Lorena Guréndez, Tania Lamarca and Estíbaliz Martínez at Atlanta '96, the Spanish RSG team became orphan and, little by little, it broke up.
    The selector then, Emilia Boneva, kept her promise and quit the ribbons, the clubs, the balls, the ropes and the hoops and  the majority of the gymnasts decided to not repeat the olympic cycle.
    María José Fernández Ostolaza, Boneva's assistant, took the charge and started to make a team which objective is in Sydney 2000.
    The National Selector  recognizes that the starting was not easy, but actually "exists a relief for the next Olympic Games. A group must be joined and that takes time and work, but at the present time we are already thinking on Sydney".
    Preparing the Games requires many efforts and sacrifices. Gymnasts and technicians have to give up many things and be almost exclusively dedicated to the movements, choreographs, techniques, jumps, ... Because of that, María José Fernández understands that the majority of the gymnasts have quit the team. "An Olympic cycle is long and hard. The gymnasts have a complicated age and that supposes loosing four years of school. In fact, the age is one of the matters that are being more discussed, but logically, working with young gymnasts has good and bad things"
    No doubt, María José Fernández has very high goals. After the gold medal got in Atlanta '96, knows that she will receive very hard remands, but she's not afraid. She doesn't reject being on the top of the podium because "There is quality for getting it. Anyway, it is still soon to say it. We still need putting many hours, working very hard, qualifying, knowing the rivals and fighting for it".
    Emilia Boneva's shadow is very heavy in Spain, because her conception of gymnastics and her way of work has changed rhythmics in our country.
    There is a before and an after Emilia Boneva. María José Fernández is the one who has to write the history of that after and knows that she will not be able to avoid the comparisons with her predecessor. "Emilia has taught us everything during fourteen years and I think that she will be unique. She is the knowledge. It's very important for me continuing her work, but I have my career an it's out of hers".
    Since María José Fernández assumed the direction of the national team has travelled a lot. She has gone from competition to competition looking for new talents that would give success to Spain, but not only immediately. One of the goals of the selector is making groups of lower levels for making the relief gradually, on a natural way. On this matter, she says that "On Children Category, the gymnasts are very well trained. Their coaches have given priority to the ballet and the body technic and I like it because shows an important consciousness". She also considers that the Spanish have a very good base technic, something that top countries like Bulgaria or Russia have forgotten a bit about it on the last years. Never the less, states that  if there is something that differences Spanish gymnastics respect of the big powers is "its character". Like that, its force, its courage and its rage still have to impose many times on all over the World.
María, with Cid Tostado, during a training session.

Spanish RSG