It would appear NBC has a biggest winner. At least from the perspective of those who enjoy seeing Anna Kournikova. That constituency includes the editorial staff at elliottharris.com. What a surprise.
The former tennis starlet has joined the training staff for the NBC show that has its season debut Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. (Chicago time). She participated in a media conference call on Monday and had all the answers. Having been on the scene since she was a teen obviously has helped Anna, 30, deal with questions such as: “What would you tell people who think you just got picked for the show because you’re pretty?”
Answered Anna: “I love that you asked that question. People always ask me, ‘How can you relate to the contestants? They are obese, and they are this and that,’ and I am like, ‘Listen, I get criticized and judged all the time, whether it’s ‘Oh, she’s just too pretty! She’s not good enough! She wasn’t a good athlete!’ But to be a top 10 in the world at something? I’m sure you would like to be a top 10 journalist in the world, right? That wouldn’t be so bad. So to be a top 10 tennis player in the world, I must have been doing something right, and I have achieved everything with my pure hard work and dedication, and I came from the Soviet Union, from really nothing, from a very, very modest background.
“That’s what I tell the contestants. That’s how I can relate to them. That’s how I can understand them. I know what it’s like to be judged and criticized, whether it’s because of your weight or because of how you look or people looking at you, they have all these preconceived notions, and I’m OK with that. The only thing I can do, and the only thing I control is I can work hard, be the best human being I can, and that’s it!”
Of being part of the cast that will replace Jillian Michaels, Anna said:
“I was the one who went after this opportunity to be on ‘The Biggest Loser,’ to be able to have the opportunity to train with these people and help them become healthier. I’ve worked with the best nutritionists, the best psychologists, the best coaches, the best trainers — all those things — and I’ve stored all that information. I’ve used my body as a tool my whole life, on a tennis court, being a professional athlete/ So for me, it was just literally instead of listening to all the information that was thrown at me, I was just repeating it and voicing it to the contestants and sharing it with them.
“I didn’t feel like I was replacing anyone or trying to fill in anybody’s shoes. Not at all. We all have our own styles. For me the biggest draw [to be on the program] was that I had all this knowledge and I lived and breathed sports, fitness, nutrition, well-being and helping people. It was a completely natural role for me. And maybe I’ve never train-trained people, like Dolvett [Quince, another newcomer to the show], clients and people in a gym every day, [but] my profession was being an athlete, and I just have to repeat everything [I learned] to the people I’m training now.”
Maybe some of us should set up some exercise equipment near the TV and use it while we watch ‘The Biggest Loser’ rather than sit on the sofa (which some of us otherwise might be inclined to do). Maybe.
If things go as planned around here (and occasionally they actually do), there will be more Anna coming Thursday.