OF COURSE I would want my 8 year old sister to see Aly’s photos. Why wouldn’t I want her to see those and say “I wanna be just like her!”? Is there something wrong with wanting to be a two-time Olympic Champion who is comfortable with her body despite society’s obsession with shaming girls who are?
Валентина Родионенко: Комову в Баку так трясло…
С тренером сборной Валентиной Родионенко мы вспоминаем Баку, его невероятную жару, яростных болельщиков, едва не сорвавших выход Мустафиной на бревно и говорим о сверхновой звезде гимнастики

This interview is Valentina’s impressions of the European Games and where Russia goes from here. I’m positive you’ll roll your eyes at some of her statements, but here we go.

- Valentina starts off saying it was really hot in Baku and the air conditioners indoors worked a little too well that the girls asked for blankets at night. Overall she thought the trip was a pleasant experience for everybody. She enjoyed all the attention the Russian national team got on the streets where people approached them for autographs and everything. She was surprised people spoke Russian so well (hello, most people in Baku can speak Russian!).

- However, Valentina did not like the atmosphere inside the arena. She didn’t like that the crowd cheered so much for for the Azeri gymnasts instead for the Russians because the Azeri gymnasts aren’t good enough to win medals. There was a deafening roar before Aliya mounted the beam that she almost couldn’t start her routine.

- On the one hand she appreciated how the event was organized, but her main complaint was the competition format. She didn’t like the one-per-country rule. She thought her team was clearly the best of the field in qualification, but only Aliya advanced to the all around final with Vika having to be a spectator. She thought the quality of finals was very low considering some Olympic and World medalists were shut out in favor of weaker gymnasts.

- She says doing that didn’t make much sense since most other international competitions allow two-per-country. Rhythmic gymnastics at European Games had two-per-country, and she mentions the same about the Asian Games and Pan American Games. She thinks the European Games have potential to be a great event, but she disagrees with the competition format.

- Next she talks about Komova’s return to competition. She claims Vika was incredibly nervous about competing, but she had to overcome it. After three years out of international competition and injuries, she finally returned, and she received lots of congratulations from other gymnasts and coaches on her return. She’s grown up a lot physically and seems to be believing in herself more.

- Next she evaluates the girls’ performances. She was impressed to see Vika vault despite the landing and OOB because Vika hadn’t done a DTY in a long time. She also liked that Vika went for the DLO on floor although her other tumbling passes were a struggle. She was bothered by Seda’s mistakes in the beam final after doing so well in qualification. Aliya was Aliya. Good as she ever was. She just came back from Germany and is completely healthy. She’s ready to train full steam ahead for Worlds

- As for the men’s team, she says they had to leave Denis Ablyazin at home because the format favored all-arounders. Anyway, Ablyazin has recovered from his injury at Europeans and is training normally. However, she remarks that he needs to increase his difficulty substantially on rings because she saw several very strong guys at the European Championships and European Games. His current routine might not be enough to hold on for a medal at Worlds or next year’s Olympics.

- David Belyavskiy had a wrist injury before the games, so they decided not to risk him on high bar in qualification, thus no all-around for him.

- She is extremely frustrated with Nikolai Kuksenkov. He’s usually a good all-arounder and has a strong routine on pommel horse, but he’s been falling a lot lately. They offered him to see a sports psychologist, but he refused.

-Valentina is flying to Toronto for the Pan American Games because she wants to watch the Americans. She knows it’s all about trying to catch up to their level, but she prefers to see them in person. (I doubt her motive here because the US Pan-Am team is a B/C team)

-The men’s competition is tough. She knows the US men’s team has been growing, and it’s incredibly difficult to be at the same level with Japan and China. But she thinks the Russian men are still good gymnasts.

- And finally she mentions four youngsters she likes: Nikita Nagornyy, Dmitry Lankin, Seda Tutkhalyan, and Angelina Melnikova. She thinks they will be interesting prospects for Rio.


Interview about Rebeca’s injury. She says that fans are being very supportive telling her that 2016 is her year and she is stronger than this injury, and she says that she has to believe in that and that she has to believe in herself. The video shows that the injury happened on a Mustafina attempt on vault. Doctor says that she will need from 6 to 8 months for total recovery. Georgette Vidor, coordinator of Brazil WAG, says that without Rebeca it will be harder to finish on top 8 at Worlds. Rebeca says that she wants to come back as fast as possible and that she will work harder than ever because gymnastics is her life.


Never-Ending List of Favorite Gymnasts: One Routine Per Gymnast

Tabitha Yim, USA

Floor Exercise: 2002 Nationals Day 2