Ona Carbonell’s premiere of her documentary ‘Starting Over’ kicked off with a bang
Spanish three-time Olympian in artistic swimming Ona Carbonell hosted the premiere of her documentary ‘Starting Over’ in Madrid on Tuesday night.
Ona Carbonell, the 3X Olympic Artistic Swimmer, Masterchef winner, and FINA’s most decorated female athlete, presented her new documentary on the big screen at Madrid's Cine Capitol Tuesday night: 'Ona Carbonell: Empezar de Nuevo' (Starting Over), in which she reveals her return to elite sport after becoming a mother.
The documentary of the Olympic medalist, which is now available on Rakuten TV, shows Carbonell’s most intimate story of motherhood, and the balance between family and professional life as an elite athlete. Through personal reflections, self-recorded videos, and intimate family scenes, we witness Carbonell’s gradual comeback to the sport after the birth of her son, Kai, and her preparation for her third Olympic Games with her teammates from the Spanish National Team of Artistic swimming.
Carbonell, who is six-months pregnant with her second child, was accompanied by great friends from television and sports, including several former artistic swimmers, this writer included. One of her closest childhood friends, former Olympic teammate, and Godmother to Kai, Irene Montrucchio reflected on last night’s experience.
“Ona’s documentary was spectacular and very emotional. To see everything so close and being pregnant, Ona’s fight and capability to get back to the sport after giving birth and being a mother was so impressive. The determination and strength it took Ona everyday is simply an example to follow,” said Montrucchio.
Carbonell started the night thanking all the people who played a part in her comeback, and in making the documentary. One of the names we heard repetitively is none other than the legendary Spanish Artistic Swimming coach Mayuko Fujiki. Fujiki, who worked with several different Olympic teams, played a crucial role in Carbonell’s career over the last few years, and especially in supporting her transition as a mother and an elite athlete.
Among the many other individuals she showed gratitude for were her teammates, the Spanish synchro team, as they like to call themselves. The team of nine, along with Fujiki and her assistant coach, were a delightful part of the documentary, bringing humor, love, teamwork and dedication to the big screen. These girls put a big smile on our faces last night at the Grande dame cinema in Madrid.
Carbonell’s intimate documentary does not only do justice to women athletes’ physical and mental strength, but it also showcases our sport of Artistic Swimming and all the hardships and dedication it comes with. It displays three major aspects of Carbonell's last 12 months: the ups and downs of the elite sport in a particularly uncertain year, the physical transformation of her body, and the emotional impact of motherhood.
And because there are only a few top athletes in the sport known to have made their comeback after giving birth, like Russian Olympic medalist, Svetlana Romashina, who is also showcased in the documentary talking about motherhood with Ona, hearing one of these women’s comeback stories is an emotional trip to perseverance.
Carbonnell spoke ahead of the documentary premiere with a few powerful words, “ Motherhood is still one of the handicaps that women have in sport and society. Women suffer and work so hard to balance their family and professional careers, and I hope this documentary helps this route become easier and more possible for more women. I hope this serves for a more equal society! It can be done! All women in sports or in other careers can make it. It can be done!”
You could feel how impacted everyone at the cinema theater was, how emotional Ona’s story was, and more importantly how the genuine humor that was both brought both on stage and in the documentary was the biggest light in the room.
As a sports journalist and a former Artistic Swimming Olympian who is still heavily involved in this sport, being part of this intimate event and watching this documentary surrounded by all of Ona’s admirers and support group, I am thrilled to share Ona’s documentary and I know it will shed more light on the difficulties of reconciling family and professional life, as well as women empowerment, optimism and the power of sport.
Where to watch Ona Carbonell’s ‘Empezar de nuevo’?
For viewers outside of Europe, you can watch the documentary on Rakuten TV, but you might need a good streaming VPN to allow you to instantly change your location to any other region. Read more here to access Rakuten TV.
For others with easier access, you just need to set up an account with an email address and you’ll be able to instantly enjoy the documentary.