Mother Russia dominated the Japan Cup, but the team's star was somewhat unexpected. Alexandrov left Ksenia Afanasyeva off the European Championships team, but the Tori Spelling of Round Lake has fought back and is better than ever. Ksenia took the AA crowd over Koko Tsurumi and Aliya Mustafina and performed a bangin double layout on floor in the process.
Tatiana Nabieva attempted a layout tkatchev+pak salto combination, but got a bit out of control on her swing. Tatiana is Round Lake's resident Bad Ass. She's butch, she has bangs, and swings with serious aggression. Girl is a beast.
Aliya Mustafina appeared somewhat slow and lethargic. This is likely due to the Russians training under their system of periodization. Meets like the Japan Cup are for experience and collecting prize money, rather than being in pristine form. Russia is coming together as a team and is the likely favorite for gold at Worlds.
Anna Dementyeva is the pretty one. Gifted with gorgeous lines, Anna is stunning to look at. She still has slight areas to clean up, but the girl is a photographer's dream. With some refinement and detail work (handstands on bars), she can become one of our favorites. Then again, should she biff at a major meet, her nickname will be none other than Anna Demented.
All in all, it appeared to be a relaxed weekend for the girls from Round Lake. Mustafina better do some serious cleaning up, or else she is dead to us.