(Fierce Bitches In Training)
It is nice that Alexander Alexandrov is dressing our Russian ladies in Kommie red. In a way, it reminds us of Mother Russia's glorious tradition in the sport. He is now the coach of Aliya Mustafina since her Sasquatch coach left to get rich and (hopefully) teach Khorkina transitions at WOGA.
Our Russian ladies have their best chance in recent memory to capture gold at Worlds. They are armed and dangerous, but still exhibit some inconsistent on balance beam that ushers memories of 1999, 2000 and 2001. Luckily, they do have Anna Pavlova able to fill the role of balance beam specialist. She can also vault if needed and would be a wonderful leader for this team.
Frankly, Anna Myzdrikova is too inconsistent to be a risk work taking and Anna Dementyeva doesn't stand out enough on any event to be useful in team finals. That opens up a slot on team for Anna Pavlova to close her career with a well-deserved gold medal. She was the HBIC on beam at Russian Nationals a few weeks ago.
Aliya Mustafina blew away the field at this weekend's tri-meet. She stuck her new Amanar, had the top score on floor and was strong on bars. Her 60.100 AA tally makes her a favorite for the World Title.
Tatiana Nabieva won bars with a HUGE layout tkatchev but underrotated and fell on an Amanar (which only counted as a DTY.) She finished 4th AA.
Ksenia Afanasyeva finished 2nd AA and looks to be peaking in time for worlds. She suffered a fall on beam but looks ready for Worlds.
Ksenia Semenova was the top scorer on beam but only finished fourth on bars. She simply isn't up to her old form on that apparatus and hasn't been all year. She debuted a new double layout mount on floor exercise.
Bitches In Action:
Note: Now that she has a ghetto booty and stubby legs, Ksenia Semenova really needs to quit doing that entrance on floor. Girl, your gymnastics is not hot shit anymore (and neither is that double layout.)
This is my favorite Russian team in a LONG time. A lot of innovate work and improved form. I didn't know Mustafina was that good! They seem to be the most talented team in the world this year and deserve to win Worlds. I know they are inconsistent, but I am just hoping that they can deliver enough to win in Rotterdam. If not, they will definitely impress!ReplyDelete
I live for this team. They have some serious R.O.V shit going on, and tons of elegance and style. The Shap-halfs are awesome! Stellar vault by Mustafina too. And Nabieva's bars combination is just huge.ReplyDelete
Pavlova didn't do that well on beam at the Russian Cup. She only came 6th in the EF and her scores didn't look great, especially since they use bonuses in Russian competitions.ReplyDelete
Pavlova won beam on Day 1 of Russian Nationals. She is still better than their other options.ReplyDelete
Semenova's bars set looks so sluggish. Too bad.ReplyDelete
I hope that there's room on the team for Pavs. I would love to see her close her career with a gold medal on beam--or vault, for that matter--and serve as the HBIC for this group of fierce ladies. Mother Russia FTW!ReplyDelete
Do you not think that the fact TPTB failed to take Pavlova to this meet suggests she is unlikely to make the Worlds team?ReplyDelete
Hope Aliya can win Worlds. She deserves to get her revenge on WOGA for stealing her coach. Although I do think Aliya got the better end of the deal seeing as she's improved tons under Alexandrov.ReplyDelete
Don't you love how Alexandrov played around for years in the US, not doing much. And now in two years time in Russia, he's whipping the Russians in shape to be favorites for the World Title.
Win or lose the experience will be good for the Russians. I'm not sure in 2 years Alexandrov can undo all the headcase tendencies, but in the next few years more headcases will be weeded out. If they are the favorites what will they be in 2012 when Komova and Grishina are eligible!
Anonymous at 7.41am, a lot of us also drew that conclusion about Pavlova initially, but then Rodionenko namechecked her. He didn't have to do that unless there was a reason. There was no need to mention her to make up the numbers, since either Solovyeva or Elizarova could have been in the top 8 instead. Given that she's been injured and hardly needs the experience, staying at home isn't necessarily inconsistent with not being in the running for the team.ReplyDelete
On the other hand, it could all be some elaborate ruse to make Russia look less fucked on beam than they actually are. Given the secrecy over the Russian Cup videos, nothing would surprise me.
"Anonymous at 7.41am, a lot of us also drew that conclusion about Pavlova initially, but then Rodionenko namechecked her. He didn't have to do that unless there was a reason. There was no need to mention her to make up the numbers, since either Solovyeva or Elizarova could have been in the top 8 instead."ReplyDelete
Yes, but neither Solovyeva or Elizarova were taken to this meet either. I have no doubt that Pavlova might be in second alternate territory (or, depending on who went down, perhaps even first alternate) and thus worth name-checking in a list of 8; I just think taking the 7 contenders to this meet smacks of... well, them being the 7 actual contenders.
Pavlova is a sentimental favorite, but she is neither top 6 nor proven herself a reliable veteran. Her performance in Beijing TF was horrendous. She was expected to be the leader there and she bombed. I'm not sure if I'd throw her on such a strong Russian team if I were a Russian coach, but I'd be happy if she was there as a spectator.ReplyDelete
Mustafina is incredible on bars and vault and good on floor, but beam is a different story. She didn't even have an acro connection! I have yet to see her hit a decent set. In fact, beam is Russias biggest liability in general along with Nabieva in general. They could well win or blow it ala 1999, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2008 etc. They certainly never overperform.ReplyDelete
7.41pm, Pavlova's hit record on beam and in TFs generally is actually very good. Beijing (when she hit 3 of 4 beam sets) does not erase the four years beforehand. Which is why Sacramone will do beam for the US this year. That's not to say Anna will make this team of course, but I think we need to understand just how weak Russia's beam pool is at the moment. The fact is that anyone who finishes top in Nationals on her team's weakest event has an arguable case for inclusion on the worlds team.ReplyDelete
3.33pm, Solovyeva and Elizarova not having been taken is kind of the point- Pavlova has evidently been favoured over them. Who knows why? Maybe you're right, maybe not.
Dementieva does stand out on 1 event - beam. The problem is, she's inconsistent as hell. But who isn't on the Russian team besides Mustafina? Dementieva got a 13.9 here on beam WITH a fall. So, who knows.ReplyDelete
Absolutely, though I think it's fair to say Russia were quite overscored as a team on beam here. Afanasyeva's score was a joke. We obviously shouldn't expect them to get these scores for these routines at worlds. Other than that, I give up trying to work out what will happen!ReplyDelete