Akshay Kumar has a new aspiration. He wants to learn gymnastics on par with the Russian Olympics winner Ivan Ivankov. "My favourite Olympian sportsperson is Ivan. And as I watch his skills I want to now learn it so that I could apply it to my own dancing and fights on screen. I think gymnastics are the hardest and most dangerous sports in the world. He was unbelievably graceful. Ivan's agility and power is unbelievable. I want to try for it. In India my favourite sportsperson would have to be Sachin Tendulkar."
And cricket is the sport that Akshay needs to brush up for a forthcoming film. In fact the actor has asked the star-batsman to give him tips for his role as a cricketer in a forthcoming film. Says Akshay, "I had to ask my director for a few days off from his tight schedule of Khatta Meetha. He kindly agreed. Now I'm very, very excited to be part of something as prestigious as the Winter Olympics. I just feel the whole experience will be truly inspiring. I think this is one of the biggest happenings in my life.
"I'm going to be so proud to have so many Indians, Sri Lankans and Asians cheering for me when I run with that torch. I know a lot of Indians in Toronto because it's my second home. I've never been more excited," said Akshay before he left.
Akshay says when he got a call from the Canadian Prime Minister's office informing him that he'd be carrying the Olympian torch, the actor didn't tell anyone. "Until it happened, I didn't believe it myself. I'm very lucky to be chosen for this honour. It'd be great to be standing on the same platform as Arnold Schwarzenegger. I wondered why they chose me!"
Akshay feels it is work for Special Olympics (physically challenged sportspersons) that did clinch the Olympian torch in his favour. "When it comes to sports, I've taken up a lot of responsibilities. When I joined Special Olympics three years ago, we had 1.5 lakh special athletes. Today we have 5 lakh athletes. Also I'm deeply connected with Canada. Toronto is like my second-home. I do a lot of charitable work. I even have a cancer ward in my father's name in a hospital in Toronto. I had taken my father for treatment to Toronto and they looked after him really well."
Looking back on 2009, Akshay says, "It was not a professionally rewarding year work-wise. But I am happy with De Dana Dan. Next year, I'll try my best to better myself. In 2010, I've Housefull and Action Replayy, all commercial cinema. My New Year resolution is to only do films that will entertain audiences."