Lucia Gonzalez Vega
Madrid, (EFE).- Olympic medalist at the 2012 Tokyo Olympics in synchronized swimming. Cooking lover and member of the Nomo restaurant group. Recently graduated in Fashion Design. After her goodbye to the competition, she is about to launch her first collection of sustainable swimsuits. Everything, made with materials collected from the sea that “return” to the water in the form of swimsuits.
Ona will continue to be linked to projects related to cooking, fashion and communication. She does not leave sport behind and works with the COE in the Maternity and Sports Commission to help athletes in the maternity process.
In an interview with EFE Ona Carbonell, the woman with the most medals in history in the Swimming World Cups and now versatile in various challenges, including business, talks about her retirement, her goals and her new projects.
-How does an athlete feel the day after retiring?
The official day after my withdrawal has been quite similar to the day before. The process has been progressive. In recent months I did not go to the CAR every day. In fact, I communicated my intention to retire to my coach and my team a few months ago, I told them that I needed time to finish getting used to the idea. I did it so that they could plan and face the season in the best possible way. It is true that it is strange, but I already have assimilated it.
– You always set yourself challenges, now what are your goals?
As future objectives I have in mind the Maternity and Sports Commission with the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) of which I am president and I am very excited. Also the swimsuit collection, from my TFG that I already presented a few months ago and now I want to make it happen and create my own swimwear brand. On the other hand, I have a section on TVE in Ahora o Nunca, about gastronomy. And more projects that I still can’t anticipate, but I’m doing everything and I will continue to be linked to sport in one way or another.
– At what stage is the swimsuit collection project?
I had been at my university for eight or nine years, I had parked my career on several occasions. I only had the TFG left and last year I thought I had to go for it. I was very clear that I wanted to make swimsuits. Already during my sports career I had the opportunity to design the swimsuits that we wore in the World Cups and the Olympic Games, but I wanted to make them for everyone, not just for the competition. And above all to make a sustainable bathroom collection, made from recycled plastic from the sea.
I have been involved in sustainability for a long time, and especially in our oceans and seas. It is a bathroom collection of recycled plastics from the sea. From the fabric of the swimsuit, to its lining, the thread with which I have sewn it and even the stones that are embedded are crystals collected on the beaches of Barcelona and Menorca that I have transformed. The idea is to use the waste that man has disposed of and transform it into small jewels that can be enjoyed again in the sea.
The project is called “Return” and is based on the circular economy of recycling. Everything begins and ends in the same place, the sea. The collection is made up of a total of 5 swimsuit looks with their accessories. The accessories are 100% natural linen and the dyes too. My intention with the project is to change the textile industry, one of the most polluting, to go from fast fashion to slow fashion, to give priority and importance to all processes and to the people involved in the process. Look for proximity and that the product is handmade. Even if it costs more money, I seek to encourage the consumer to consume less and better, so that the product lasts longer.
– Do you dream of one day designing the clothing for the Spanish delegation at the Olympics?
I would love one day to design the kit for the Spanish delegation for the Olympic Games. For me it would be quite a challenge, because they are very different patterns and sizes in each athlete and in each sport. I could already design the swimsuits for the national team to compete, but being able to dress a whole delegation for the Olympic Games would be super cool.
– Where and when can you buy the swimsuits?
I still can’t say. I’m sure they can be purchased online and there will be some very cool collaboration.
– How is the new Ona Carbonell linked to restaurants, gastronomy and business?
The gastronomy part has always enchanted me. I am a member of NOMO in Madrid. I am sure that I will continue to be linked in one way or another to gastronomy because what Masterchef gave me was extraordinary. He allowed me to learn more about Spanish gastronomy and learn to cook, as well as having a great relationship with great chefs from our country. Surely cool things will emerge in this sense, and even more so having always lived in the world of sports, because a fundamental part of your performance is what you eat.
Why wouldn’t you like to be a coach?
I would not like to be a coach because I believe that not because you are a good athlete you have to be a good coach or vice versa. Also, I like water so much that spending the same hours out of the water next to a pool I don’t think I could stand it. What I like is swimming. I don’t see myself, but I will always be connected to the sport and I will support my team.
– Do you still have a contract with Nike?
I continue with Nike and I am very grateful to all my sponsors, also to Isdin. With all of us we continue with the illusion of doing new things, there is a very good relationship. For me, my sponsors have been a fundamental part of my development as an athlete, my performance and the results obtained. Scholarships depend on results and may not be enough. It helps a lot, but my sponsors have allowed me to dedicate myself to what I’m passionate about.
– Fernando Carpena, president of the Spanish Swimming Federation, opened the doors for you after your farewell. Will you continue to be linked?
I will be linked to the federation, collaborating with the team and helping the image of the federation and I will do everything I can, without any doubt. I also have the Maternity and Sports Commission project with the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), which is a beautiful challenge that was born after Tokyo. After many talks and meetings, excels with Alejandro Blanco and with the COE, I hope to do many beautiful things and that they are reflected as soon as possible, and if it can be for the Paris Games, then great.