Height: 193 cm
Bitrh Date: 30/10/1985
Club: Asystel Novara
When did you start playing volleyball and why did you choose this sport?
I started playing volleyball or actually I started learning to play in the fourth grade in the primary school. When I was 11 I played with my sister who trained volleyball and I often watched her. I liked it and I wanted to try it too so I started playing in the second league in Łancut. I played there for some time and at the age of 15 I decided to move to the School of Sport Championship in Sosnowiec where I spent 3 years. When I attended this school, I played for a national youth and junior team. In the last grade I passed school-leaving exams and decided to move to Bielsko. This is when I started playing in a professional league and then I started my career as a professional.
What was the biggest succeed and the worst defeat in your sport career?
My biggest success was participation in the Olympic Games which was my biggest dream. But also the biggest success is every medal I get on various championships. And the worst defeat… every lost match. But I did not have one single defeat that would discourage me from playing. Every defeat motivates me to work more.
How do you asses the season spent in the Russian league?
The season in the Russian league was very difficult especially because the teams were very demanding. This is a very good league where every team plays very well and no opponent is poor. The season was very tiring also due to the fact that we had to go on long journeys. In Italy a six-hour journey is the longest one as in Russia it is one of the shortest journey. I also gained a lot of experience in the Russian league since it is really difficult to play against tall opponents. I learnt a lot in Russia and I am happy that I played there.
After playing for a year in Russia, you moved to Italy. How would you compare these two leagues?
I moved to Italy after one year in Russia because it was my dream to play in Serie A. Comparing these to leagues I can say that they are both very good. The Italian league appears to be the best league in the world; however, the Russian league is nearly as good as them.
Was there anything that surprised you in Italy?
The Italian people surprised me as they are different from the Polish in mentality. They always smile, happy, they are always in a good mood. They are optimistic and they transfer this optimism onto other people. They infect with smile. It was surprising to me. I have not experienced any other surprises yet but playing here for a longer time I think I will be able to say something more.
Do you check on the actions of Polish volleyball players who play in Italy?
Generally I do not have an opportunity to follow the actions of players who play in Italy as I do not have Italian TV. However, I have Polish TV so my knowledge of this subject is based on the news from Poland. If there is any match broadcasted I try to watch it as soon as I am at home and have time. I do not only check on the Polish players’ actions who play in Italy but I watch Polish league’s matches as well. I am very interested in how my friends in Poland play.
How do you remember the Olympic Games in Beijing?
As I mentioned earlier, the Olympic Games were my dream and I have fond memories of them. It is difficult to describe these impressions. Emotions which the Olympic Games release are very beautiful and I will never forget them. They were my first Olympic Games and if health permits I would like to participate in the next ones as well. The atmosphere is amazing, the Olympic village, the best players from all over the world… I am really glad that I was there. Maybe we did not succeed in these Olympic Games but the fact that we participated in them was great.
If you were a coach and could create a team with players from all over the world, who would you choose?
I have never thought about such a situation as I cannot see myself in this role. But if I were supposed to imagine myself in the role of a coach, I would choose Valeskinha, Godina, Cardullo, Glinka, Paggi, Dziekiewicz, Jaqueline and Agata Mróz if she were alive… There are so many good players that I would have to think it over, but the ones I mentioned would be the hard core of the team.
What are your strong and weak points?
It is difficult to talk about my strong and weak points as someone else should say something about me. But I think that my strong points are psyche and ambition and weak points…..I don’t have any (laughing). No, for sure I have some but it is difficult to talk about them.
Have you got a favourite volleyball player (a role model in volleyball)?
My favourite volleyball player is Gosia Glinka and from among the male players - Giba.
Which country you played with the national team or the club in you remember the most and why?
I liked the most the Dominican Republic where I took part in the World Championships with the junior team. This is a very beautiful, exotic country. Although we lost all matches and we did not manage to qualify for the next round, the fact that couch let me play in this team, that I could go there, was an award for me. After the matches we went to the beach and sightseeing, we swam in the ocean, watched corals. It was definitely the best journey with the team. Another great place we visited was Puerto Rico. I really like such exotic journeys.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I like spending my free time with my family. The family is really important to me and, as I spend a lot of time on training and playing in matches, I try to visit them when have free time. I also love spending time with my fiancé, we go to the cinema or go on holidays together. I also like reading books.
How did you get your nickname “Chicken”?
My nickname comes from a trivial thing. When I was a young girl and played in the national team, I had an elastic band for hair with a duck. My friend from the team, Ania Brańska called me “kurczak” (eng. chicken) for the first time and the girls picked it up. Later in the senior team the girls changed “kurczak” into “chicken” and the name stuck.
Do you like watching horrors? What is your favourite film?
I don’t like watching horrors because they scare me unless I watch them in somebody’s company in the daytime. And my favourite film… I love comedies and documentaries. I don’t like science fiction films and film with a lot of violence. I like comedies the most but I cannot choose one favourite film.
What three things would you take with yourself to a desert island?
To a desert island I would take my fiancé so that I would not be bored. He is a very cheerful man.
A lot of candy. I wouldn’t survive on a desert island without them.
The third thing I would take would be a radio to let music play.
If you could be one person (famous or not) for one day, who would you be?
If I could change into someone else for one day, I would like to be a dancer. I have always wanted to learn to dance, go to a school. I like dancing very much so I could be a dancer.
What is your favourite Polish dish?
I love my mother’s cooking and my favourite dishes are cucumber soup and pierogi (dumplings with potato and cheese stuffing).
Which Polish place/city would you recommend to others?
The places in Poland that I would recommend others are those which I like very much, such as Cracow or Wroclaw. First of all they have beautiful old markets, beautiful architecture and culture. I would recommend them because there are really beautiful buildings. I like Wadowice because my boyfriend proposed to me, now my fiancé. Besides, I associate Wadowice with the Pope so this is a very important place to me. This is the place in Poland I like very much.
You said that playing in the Italian league and in the Olympic Games were your dreams. They came true, what are your next dreams?
The Olympic Games were my biggest dream, I always strived for them and I put all my effort into practicing so that I could participate in the Olympic Games and I did. My second dream was to play in the Italian league and it also came true. Now I don’t have any higher goal because one can’t have a sport goal higher than the Olympic Games. I still would like to play in the Italian league and keep developing, gain experience. But first of all I would like to be healthy because without it I will not be able to achieve anything. If I am blessed with good health, I would like to take part in the next Olympic Games but then I want to achieve something in them and not only to participate.
What is Ania Podolec like in private?
In private Ania Podolec is very cheerful and crazy. She has a thousand ideas per minute, she is always ready for challenges, crazy things. She likes dancing, eating and sleeping. At the beginning she is reserved and quiet but if she gets to know somebody well, she is vey lively and cheerful.
Thanks to Luca Santi for the pics.