The C Score (2.0)

Posts Tagged ‘Russian gymnastics

According to the latest rumors, Anna Pavlova is indeed planning to return to competition after she recovers from her ACL injury (sustained at the DTB Cup).

Pavlova was recently at the Voronin Cup. She’s walking (albeit with a serious brace):

Today, Globoesporte published an article about how Oleg Ostapenko is returning to the Ukraine, leaving Irina Ilyashenko in charge of the burgeoning dynasty they created together.

Oleg Ostapenko working with Daiane dos Santos

Oleg Ostapenko working with Daiane dos Santos

In fact, according to this press release, Ostapenko has accepted an offer to be the new junior women’s coach for Russia — this despite the fact that earlier reports had him turning down an offer from the Russian Gymnastics Federation. (Edit: IG has a short story in English.)

This new move has Ostapenko working alongside Alexander Alexandrov, the new Russian women’s head coach, who is himself returning to Russia after fifteen years in the United States.

Everyone was psyched when Ostapenko announced he was returning to the Ukraine. At the time, Igor Korobshinsky, the head men’s coach, said that Ostapenko’s decision was the beginning of the return of all of Ukraine’s best athletes.

This is a huge coup for the Russians. This is a guy who coached Viktoria Karpenko, Natalia Kalinina, Tatiana Lysenko, even Lilia Podkopaeva.

On the other hand, disaster strikes for the Ukraine. The Russians start their training camp on January 8th, and I can’t imagine the Ukrainians would be too far behind. That gives them less than a month to find a replacement for Ostapenko.

In the longer-term, after their disappointing performance at the Olympics, the Ukrainians were really looking to find a new way. I’m hoping it will still happen, because I do love them. But they need a strong coach and, more importantly, a good advocate for better training conditions and equipment. Otherwise, could Ukraine wind up going the way of other Soviet states and satellites, like Belarus and Hungary, that have seen their stock fall dramatically in the past 20 years?

Viktoria Komova had a big day at the Mikhail Voronin Cup, a small international competition featuring gymnasts from former Soviet states (for women, Russia, Kazhakstan, Latvia and Ukraine were represented).

Komova finished with a final score of 61.250, over three points above her nearest competitor, Diana Sapronova and over a point above Kristina Goryunova, the gold medalist in the senior all-around.

Komova — Vera Kolesnikova’s daughter — and Goryunova recently competed on the same team at the Massilia Cup, where they finished second in team finals with Aliya Mustafina. Massilia Cup champion Irina Sazonova placed only fourth in the all-around.

Komova is one to watch. She was third in my series of Up-and-coming juniors because of her excellent placement at Pacific Rim and the WOGA Classic this year (third in both).

Check out how the press release describes her gymnastics: “Her gymnastics is practically irreproachable. Precise. Beautiful.”

The Russians do have a tendency towards verbal dramatics. But still.

Komova’s victory notwithstanding, Sapronova is one to watch. She recently placed second at the Massilia Cup. Anastasia Novikova is also promising, particularly on vault.

Also present for the junior competition was Latvia’s Laura Svilpaite, who was the first reserve for bar finals at Europeans this year. (She would have been ranked much higher had it not been for a fall.) Check out her Pak salto.

Senior all-around:

1. Kristina Goryunova (59.950)
2. Anna Mizdrikova (58.400)
3. Jana Demianchuk (57.150)
4. Irina Sazonova (55.000)
5. Angela Golovina (51.700)
6. Karina Topalova (51.650)

Junior all-around:

1. Viktoria Komova (61.250)
2. Diana Sapronova (58.000)
3. Anastasia Novikova (57.900)
4. Diana Sviridova (57.350)
5. Laura Svilpaite (56.700)
6. Galina Ivanetz (56.150)

You’ll recall that the gymnasts of St. Petersburg were recently in Dreux, before heading to the Tournoi d’Arques, for an exhibition.

youtube user PPLovesGym has posted a playlist of their performances! Very nice.

Some highlights:

  • Tatiana Nabieva’s bars. We weren’t able to see her at Arques because of her ankle injury, and she’s actually pretty low on her Gienger (and only does a layout dismount), but she has such nice lines!
  • An expressive floor routine from newcomer Olga Vilkova. Falls to hands on double pike mount and double tuck dismount. But still, our first look at her.
  • Ekaterina Kramarenko on floor! Her floor is often overlooked.

      And others from Olga Alekseeva, Diana Sapronova and Irina Sazonova.

A new article from Pro Sport announces more bad news (and brief good news) for Russian gymnastics.

Alexander Kiryashov has said that Liudmila Grebenkova-Ezhova will not compete in the World Cup Final in Madrid in December. Why? Ironically, a knee injury.

Liudmila Grebenkova

Liudmila Grebenkova at the 2008 Olympics

Grebenkova was qualified in 13th place on beam. This leaves the Russians with few people for the WCF — Anna Pavlova (qualified on beam and vault) is out with torn knee ligaments suffered at the DTB Cup earlier this month; and Ksenia Semenova (qualified on bars and beam) has an elbow injury. Elena Zamolodchikova (qualified on vault and floor) is back — she was at the DTB Cup — but not performing at the highest level.

Enter Yulia Lozhecko.

Yulia Lozhecko at last year's World Championships

Yulia Lozhecko at last year's World Championships

According to this same article, Lozhecko has experienced “psychological problems” after not being selected for the Olympic team. But things are going better, according to Kiryashov. She has been training again at Round Lake since November 6th and her chances of attending the WCF are “more realistic” now that Grebenkova cannot attend.

The whole thing is a little ironic given that Lozhecko is actually ranked 12th to Grebenkova’s 13th on beam, but so national gymnastics politics goes. I’d be very happy to see Lozhecko at this year’s WCF, and given her 12th-place ranking, she should have no trouble qualifying. (Pavlova, ranked above her, is out. Nistor is retired, Liukin and Johnson will undoubtedly not attend, etc.)

For the record, Semenova is ranked 23rd on beam, with Ksenia Afanasyeva 26th. Other than Zamolodchikova and Pavlova, the Russians have no one in the top thirty on vault. Irina Isayeva is the only Russian other than Semenova who is in the top thirty on bars. Zamolodchikova is ranked 14th on floor, with Ekaterina Kramarenko tied for 29th.

I don’t watch many montages, so I’m not expecting to post many of them, but this one by gymjenny is well-done and informative about Russian juniors.

It includes Anna Dementeva, Eleonora Goryunova, Anastasia Grishina, Viktoria Komova, Aliya Mustafina, Nailya Mustafina, Tatiana Nabieva, Anastasia Novikova, Tatiana Solovyeva and Evgenia Ugretskova.

Also see my post Up-and-Coming Juniors: Russia and Romania.


About The C Score

First there was A score and B score, now D score and E score. Where is the C score? Right here. In the form of my random thoughts about women's artistic gymnastics.

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