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Aliya Mustafina - 'I'm just trying to stay healthy'

A brief interview with the World and Olympic Champion from All Sport is summarised below.

Russian national gymnastics continues to prepare for the World Championships, which will be held October 3-12 in Nanning (China). Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina told Mary Staroverova about her health and about preparations for the competition.

- In June, I went to Germany to solve the problem with my ankle.  I had a small operation to clean the joints of a build-up of bone particles.  Nothing serious was evident, and the operation went well.  Now I have to tumble.  But there is still some discomfort, a slight pain at full load, and I can not tumble at full force.  For the time being, I try to go easy on my legs.  After the Russia Cup I will have to fully prepare for Worlds. That is just one month.   Even if I'm not tumbling, I will keep myself in good shape, and that should suffice (smiles).

- I can't say if it is a different pain to before Europeans, because at that time, I was trying to tumble at full force and now I'm just trying to do only what does not cause any discomfort or pain. It is therefore difficult to compare.

- I have only really had two weeks with the team since the operation, not counting the two weeks spent with the team in Italy. But that was really just recovery.  The main goal was to improve our health, to swim, relax and gain strength.  We do this every year, combining business with pleasure (smiles). Full operations began here only two weeks ago.  Now we begin to recover and to prepare for Worlds.

- Whether I change my programme will depend on my health.  If things go well, of course, I will try to strengthen it. Yes, the routines that I have right now, they're at a pretty good level. But we want them to be even stronger (smiles).

- The draw for our team did not go very well, and we are in the first subdivision. But if you prepare for this, I think it makes no particular difference.  There is no other particularly strong team in our group, so I think that we will even be able to watch our rivals.  After our performance in qualifying we will have a couple of days to catch our breath - there will still be preliminary competitions for the boys. The schedule of the World Championships is a little better than at Europeans.

Link to Russian language original interview :
Video of Aliya practicing vault at Lake Krugloye recently -


  1. I've now officially taken them off my podium prediction (for bronze). I thought that post-surgery she was healthy like 100% because that's how Valentina made it seem saying "there is no pain" blah blah blah so i figured with more difficulty from her and sturdy specialists, the team had a fighting chance. Come to find out she, like Vika, just returned to training and is not ready for full routines but nonetheless is being made to compete a full program at Russian Cup, a competition Valentina swore Aliya would not need to do because of her Euros contribution. (sighing endlessly) I just don't understand this entire federation.

    They can go watch their rivals routines all they want...they won't be able to stop the inevitable come finals.

    1. Don't you know never to listen to what Valentina says. LOL. I don't. I remember her saying how Afan was ready for floor at Russian Championships and Afan was like no I'm not which she obviously wasn't cause she injured herself even more when she did compete because of Valentina.

  2. Aliya doesn't say she will compete at Russia Cup, actually. But it does sound as though she might only compete bars and beam at Worlds ...
    In which case I tend to agree, they will be off the podium.

    1. Oh, well I had seen her name on the roster that was just released for the Cup, that's why I assumed she was. It does really sound like she'll be there tho, but I think just for UB/BB. Then they may or may not try to get her to full routines for World's. I need to go kick a rock over this whole situation ugh its so frustrating (my saving grace is I have other teams I root for as well so I won't be sitting in a tub drinking rum the night of World's like purely-Russian stans lol)

    2. Shouldn't Russian stans drink vodka in true Russian style? ;-)

    3. I was shocked to see Mustafina's name on the roster for Cup....Valentina siad Mustafina could make the Worlds' team whether or not she compete in Russian why is Mustafina going instead of taking some rest?

  3. Seems like the AA is more open now too.

  4. I didn't expect her to be 100% and even if she did all events at Worlds, as I said in another article, Bronze will be hard for them. They got Bronze at Europeans and this event will have other top teams that are missing. I just want the Russians to perform well at Worlds, whether they get a medal or not, the experience will be vital. They need to have the youngsters coming up because they can't only depend on their older generations

    Where can I find the draw for Worlds? Aliya said they were in 1st subdivision

  5. You can download it here. Russia is in the first subdivision starting on floor.

  6. Scratch that. This is easier to view.

  7. Diana Bulimar of Romania is injured which is a huge blow to Romania's chances for a medal, as their depth problems are perhaps worse than Russia's. The British girls did not look nearly as sharp at Commonwealths as they did at Euros, so I think that even if Aliya only does bars and beam at Worlds, Russia's definitely in with a good chance of a medal in TF.

  8. I hope Aliya can stay fit and healthy for Rio 2016. Somehow I still pray that she'll do a 2nd vault and medal at the 2016 Olympics on vault. I also hope she'll have a more difficult beam routine for the Olympics and win a medal on beam. So that she could have an Olympic medal for every single event: Team, AA, Vault, UB, BB and FX. Like Daniela Silivas :) . But I know these are only dreams....

    1. Only if Alexandrov is back.


    2. I still think she can do it without Aleksandrov, but who knows. Valentina and her husband will use her for every single competition to win medals for them, because if the Russians come home without a medal, this means 'bye bye Valentina and Andrei'. I think they should bring back Arkaiev since Aleksandrov has a contract with the Brazilian team, but I doubt he wants to come back.

      I don't know if Aliya thinks of this, but this is a great opportunity for her to win a medal on vault and on BB at 2016 Olympics. Because in my opinion she one of the best AA since Milo and Sveta. Imagine having World and Olympic medals for every single event. This truly shows that she's a complete gymnast.

      But a lot could happen in two years.....

      Anyways, I wish her all the best. She is a fighter and a great gymnast.

  9. I don't think it is likely that the Rodionenkos will be sacked enough if the Russian WAG end up out of the medals. The head WAG coach, Grebyonkin, might be considered responsible. This isn't football. While Alexandrov improved matters during his time, he wouldn't immediately be able to effect changes to strength in depth, injuries and so on. In some ways, we will only see how effective Andrei R has been in ten or so years' time. I think he will stay till Rio, then probably retire or move to a different role.
    We have to move on from this locked in position of blaming Rodionenko for everything. Don't forget, the men are doing rather well and Rodionenko oversees both MAG and WAG. Alexandrov has said that Russian gymnastics won't move on with Rodionenko at the helm, but that doesn't say who would take his place. In two years before Rio, relatively little will change whoever is in charge.
    Alexandrov says he is thinking about staying in Brazil beyond Rio. Arkayev is in his late 70s now and is happy in his role as Director of a gymnastics school in his hometown of Saransk. Rodionenko's job is political and administrative as much as technical - in fact probably more so - who knows the ropes? Alfosov? The Razumovsky couple? Perhaps going to the USA and recruiting someone with high level experience would be best. I could see Zaglada doing that job, if only everyone would pull together. And that is another problem ...

    1. I agree with u on not holding the Rodionenko responsible for everything. Sure they often open their mouth and talk a bunch o nonsense but Russia problems come from a long time, in fact, since it become Russia and no longer URSS. The number of athletes diminished considerably and back on the communist times the gymnast had a lots of privileges and stuff, what always motivated them to their maximum.

      Many people only knows what is been spread around the gymternet and do not see the whole thing. Alya Mustafina, for once, have a great relationship with the Rodionenkos. It is common to see them greeting her and hugging her, they know she is a lock and key player to whatever competition they are aiming. They also have been saying that they treat Grishna unfair etc. But Anastasia is one of the oldest there, with great experience, yet, over over again we see lots of childish behavior from her (i.e refusing to go on BB at 012) and honestly, most of the time she perform way under her true potential, which is so frustrating.

      Also, I believe even though Alexandrov is an amazing couch, his is not god or the only good coach in Russia. Komova and Ksenia Afan coaches have been doing a pretty good job and so is Grebyonkin for that matter, what he did with UB is outstanding. Alexandrov also committed some mistakes or lack of judgment on O12, just look at results there. In Russia (as it is in most countries included U.S) gymnastics has a lot of politics inside, and Alexandrov and Rodionenko been part of those politics for decades.
      People need to stop with this whole stupid Disney notion that we have the good and the devil. I tell you, and I'm Russian, none of those peoples are angels or else they would never have taken such higher position on the Russian Gymnastics.Alexandrov trained Alyia for a long time, he is someone with great curriculum and deserves respect, but he is not god, did considerable mistakes at 012 and its preparation, and, most important, IS NOT IN RUSSIA ANYMORE, ppl just need to move on from this.

    2. And, I'm Brazilian, and say, I very much doubt Alexandrov will be after the Olympics in Rio Especially if the current party lost the presidential elections in October.. The Brazilian government gave no infrastructure that promised Alexandrov. He's training the girls in the Gym of Flamengo, where there has always been a very strong resistance to foreign coaches. It was no accident that Oleg Ostapenko is in Curitiba and is funded by local businessmen. If any group of entrepreneurs appear to finance Alexandrov ... Honestly, I think it unlikely.

    3. Grinding: I read something (I can only really write something with absolute certainty "as I read something like that") in which it seems that the Brazilian Olympic Committee gave the training center for gymnastics in the town of Tres Rios in July 2014 with more than two years late and after much external pressure. The contract with the Alexandrov Brazil is only three years, ie until the Olympics in Rio.

    4. Honestly, I would have been very happy with the six medals at the last Olympics could Alexandrov (more medals than the USA succeeded) ..... I can not see Grebyonkin, Nazarova, Alfosov, The Razumovsky couple and Rodienkos doing equal or better than Alexandrov. If I were Russian, I would have Alexandrov back.

    5. First, Alexandrov did not make that O12 team on his own, just like ,Marta Karoly do not make US team on her own. HE ONLY TRAINED PERSONALLY Mustafina, and for that he deserves all the credits. Komova was not trained by him, nor was Afana or Paseka...However, I must say Grebyonkin was responsable for training ALL THE GIRLS ON UB, so he deserves his credit too (specially for putting together Mustafina GOLDEN ROUTINE). In fact, UB is still Russia strongest, because of his work. All the partnership and investment made on the Russian gymnastics after O08 came from the Rodionenkos. I, as Russian, would be very happy with O12 had the team played to its best and fought to the most. That was not the case and Alexandov has, together with othesr, lot of blame on this. Grishna was a head case ALL over the place, Komova failed at every competition (AA,UB,BB) Afana on floor was also a big mess (on TF and EF), Paseka and Mustafina were the only ones to deliver what they could. So, Alexandrov BEING THE HEAD COACH there have some blame to take on the thousands of mistakes the girls did throughout the competition. We got 6 medals, could have got at least 2 more and at least two more golds. So, no, Alexandrov is amazing and an outstanding coach, he is not god and have made lots of mistakes.
      Second, Alexandrov back, wether he is in Brazil or not, is not an option for now, simply as that. He will not work with the Rodionenko nor with their "alies"that are bound to replace them sometime. So, really it is rather annoying to have ppl talking about him all the time. He is not training in Russia, Get over it and move on. Lots of amazing gymnastics have been produced in Russia without Alexandrov and this still continue. I repeat, he is not the only amazing coach we have, nor is the very best. Also, his relationship with the rest of team was complicated (to say the least), he is not easy to work with.

    6. Really, I think you have a privileged position to opine, since you live everyday of Russia. I do not want to contradict you. I'm just putting political events that are happening now in Brazil. But if Alexandrov stay in Brazil, shall be the best news we have in a long time for WAG Brazil. He and Ostapenko are excellent coaches. :)

    7. I don't think that anyone thinks that Alexandrov is the only alternative, but he did turn around the Russian team fortunes quite distinctly from 2009 to 2010, winning the women their only gold team World Championships ever.
      Even Alexandrov wouldn't claim to be personal coach to all the team members ... That would be too much even for him. In fact one if the complaints Rodionenko had against him was that he continued to act as personal coach to Mustafina, alongside his team responsibilities. The job of head coach is more strategic and political than that of a personal coach and it is difficult to find someone else with both the management and technical pedigree of Alexandrov. It is also true to say that as head coach if Soviet WAG 1989-1992 one if his greatest achievements was to get all of the coaches working together.
      Grishina was removed from national team training pre-Olympics by the Rodionenkos and allowed to work independently with her coach at that time, Sergei Zelikson. Alexandrov's training plans were also altered by the Rodionenkos, for example replacing a conditioning run with a walk in the park. Such differences are the difference between gold and silver.
      One cannot say that Alexandrov would have achieved team gold in London if left to his own devices. One can however say that the team would have been differently trained if he had been accorded the full authority of his position. He says he would nit have sent Dementyeva home so early in the selection process, for example, and that in his opinion Dementyeva was in better shape than Grishina at that time. So it is possible that Grishina would not even have been on the team at all, if Alexandriv had had his way, and it certainly wasn't his fault that Grishina was not fully prepared as she had been removed from his care.

      This doesn't mean that I think Akexandrov good, Rodionenko evil. As you said in your earlier post, a certain degree of Machiavellian behaviour is necessary if anyone is to reach such senior level jobs. However, there are some misleading points made in your posts, Anonymous, which I felt I must correct here. You have been poorly informed in some matters.

    8. Many ppl seem to think we still have the old soviet system of training, where the head coach had a huge influence on every girls routine... I believe many ppl think that Alexandrov had a huge influence on all of the girls from last quad, which is far from true. Yes he is amazing couch and did a great job last quad, but really is not the only coach that have merits there, since gymnastics like Komova, Afana, Anna D, Paseka were NOT TRAINED BY HIM or he had influence on their training.

      I also think that he being the head coach had no job being someone personal coach, it is not fair at all. Not his fault since they accepted him as head coach on those conditions.

      Now funny u mention the earlys 90's since that is one other issue I have with this glorification of Alexandrov. It is common to see comments such as Russia is so unfair with their gymnastics blabla, look what happened in 92 with Galieva/Gutsu blabla and finish with an JUST BRING ALEXANDROV BACK. So yes, most of those gymnastics enthusiast seem to have no idea that that was actually Alexandrov decision (THAT I'M AN 100% BEHIND BTW).

      I firmly believe the actual head coach is doing his job well. As I said Russia problems are deeper and longer than this. Though I think that decentralization of training, as in each girl trains with their personal coach, not necessary brought the best in them, since conflicts between the coaches are bound to happen.

      When I mentioned Grishna I didn't mean it last quad, but recently when she had a series of altercations with the Rs, and again it was all their fault. I agree with Alexandrov Anna wouldve been a better fit than Nastia for O12. To me, someone that refuses to go on an apparatus to help her team and puts a team mate, that already had too many routines on her, on her place it is someone who does not DESERVES a second chance. I'm sorry but I would rather have some of the new coming juniors or even the seniors, than her, just for her over all attitude and inconsistency. But this just show how gymnatics are ALL about politics and influence. The same with Pavlova had she continued training on high level could have helped the team at VT, BB FL.

      I'm not agreeing with the Rodionenkos, I''m just saying I do not think they only did negative things, he is very close to the girls you can see it, Valentina is a bitch though. They raised the investment on the sport and also managed some good sponsorship. And realistic speaking they are not leaving and even if they do the one set to take their places will be someone close to them, so Alxndrov is not a possibility. We've now some young coaches with a new approach to training, getswell with the girls, maybe they could be the solution. And I remain that having a good and equal relationship with the girls is very important, what Alexandrov didnt always have, and evrone knows. Not entirely his fault, since many coaches ended up against him and this also affected the athletes, but I would rather have a peaceful ambient than have Alexandrov and the whole backstage drama that drained even Aliya. And this I think the new head coach has achieved.

      Everyone says lots of things but this is a political game, those 3 have been playing for decades and knows how to do it well, so I remain to what said, no angels here. Just because Alexandrov said smthng does not make it the full true, and he did not have the support of many members of Russia national team. For some reason might it be, right? Politics? maybe...Just because you believe smtng that I dont do not make me poorly informed on it, by the end we have more words than actual information on everything.Nothing is black/white here in Russia.

    9. to finish :
      We've had, even in its darkest times, amazing athletes like O08 Pavlova, the two Ksenias, Khorkina in96 etc. So we have survived without A. Sure, I repeat, amazin coach, did wonders with Aliya and the 92 team but not perfect, not all his attitudes were the right ones and, TO ME, at this moment he being here would be more prejudicial than beneficial even to Aliya.he already said it himself. So people just need to move on and stoping saying that with Alexandrov things would be better, IT WOULD NOT.


    10. Your contributions here are greatly valued and very interesting. I wonder if you would have time to add a little more?
      You perhaps touch on something important when you say I 'believe' Alexandrov's narrative. I do believe his narrative; how could you make it all up? Of course there is always an alternative narrative, in this case that of Rodionenko, who hasn't gone on record about this and isn't obliged to justify himself to anyone other than his paymasters. Furthermore, you strongly suggest that Alexandrov's account is false.

      Since you seem to be posting from a position of greater knowledge than is available in the public domain to date, I wonder if you could possibly substantiate your points with some examples. Alexandrov provides many examples backed up with specific factual details. For example he speaks of how coaches began complaining about him to Valentina at the Dutch competition in spring 2010.
      If you could possibly explain what you know that leads you to your conclusions, and how you know it, it would help readers to contextualise your claims.
      Please keep posting.

    11. Queen Elizabeth, first maybe the fact that I'm from here and I'm used know that somethings never goes out the public knowledge in Russia, might be what is conflicting here.

      I did not imply, or was not trying to, that Alexandrov was lying or that his narrative is incorrect. What I'm saying is, only Alexandrov truth has been spread. Everything in life has different point of views. Not only that, when we hear only one side, this is the side that we tend to go right? Again, I'm not saying u, but gymnastics enthusiasts in general needs to understand that not everyone is good or bad. I am not saying Alexandrov is a devil, no, I'm saying he is not an angel or Russia salvation and that people tend to separate Rodionenkos from Alexandrov, when in fact they are more similar than different. Alexandrov was head coach when Russia lived in a very strict and closed regime (1988/1992), believe me when I say, somebody that got that high on that sort of government is somebody with lost of influence, politics and used to play this game (a risk one where enemies are bound to rise), just like the Rodionenkos. We all know that Alexandrov and the Rodionenkos are not friends and have always had an rocky relationship. So on this part it does not come as surprise to me. And, of course I do not doubt that this alone could be a reason for the sacking Alexandrov out.

      Now I'm not arguing the fact that Valentina R is a bitch and they are no angels and that they not always take the right decisions or that maybe somebody else would be more beneficial to us. No.

      I'm saying that, for one, many traditional coaches, that also are used to the game here, that were on Alexandrov side, started changing side throughout the quad, why is that? It did not change much for them cuz most of them did not get anything out of Alexandrov dismiss. Many coaches also said inside the russian press that the relationship with Alexandrov was very difficult by the end and that it affect the girls to a point were his relationship with them become also very rocky. You can see it at O12, how Grebyonkin was more present at it than him. Alexandrov himself said that even his relationship with Aliya was being affected. So, yes, Alexandrov is not an monster or the devil, but by the end of it he did not have many supporters inside did he?And that, in my opinion, would make his work this quad almost impossible. I do not doubted that the Rodionenkos have a lot to blame on this but its a road of two sides and I think that Alexandrov antics, way of dealing with the girls etc, also helped on it. Why is everyone so eager to judge everybody when nobody got the versions of the others coaches for that? And I repeat those coaches are very traditional, used to everything that goes behind gymnastics, and very committed to their work and many of them had no ambition of something political from sacking him, i.e Ksenia Afan coach.

      Also, don't think is fair for the others coaches and even the girls to have a head coach that trains personally one of Russia stars. It just adds fuel to the fire. Because of course, he knows how to deal with Aliya and her insecurities, her issues and also how to get the best out her way better than he would know how to do it for the other girls. For example, of course Grishnas coaches should take a hell lot of blame for her situation, but many said she was very " emotional " (I would say being a drama queen but ppl will just take my head off so...) throughout the Olympics, inclusive very indisciplined and insecure, same with komova but on lower level. Alexandrov, clearly did not know how to deal with her (them), how to get the best out of them or even he, as head coach, should have done something. As he did back in 1992, to what many ppl consider very undemocratic of him (not me). Anastasia should have gone to that damm BB TF because it was her obligation from the beginning and Aliya had way more on her back (AA, UBEF, FLEF) and she did it just fine on quali day, and him, as head coach was responsible for that.

    12. Again, I'm not saying Alexandrov is bad, liar or anything, I'm saying people needs to open their mind and understand that everything has more than one perspective, more than one truth. Maybe sacking Alexandrov was, at that moment, the best thing, not because he is bad, a liar or anything, but because the relationships and dialogues around were very difficult, the girls, and Aliya included, were being very affected by it.

      I just think the coaches looks more united now, and Grebyonkin seems to be of their pleasure. He is also very kind with the girls, have a good relationship with all of them, inclusive Aliya looks like she is very attached to him. I do not think the problem on Russia gymnatics is with the head coach, and to that, to me, Grebyonkin is doing a job as good (or maybe better) than Alexandrov since he seem to be able to understand better ALL the girls not one or two. If it is because he have the support of the Rodionenkos or not, I do not care. I think its already an difficult situation at it is, no need to add more drama to it.

      I do not like everything from the Rodionenkos. In fact would like to have somebody else in their place, but not Alexandrov either, some of the new upcoming coaches maybe, with new visions and with a better way of dealing with the athletes (Generation changes and this new generation cannot be treated as the old school russian/soviet gymnastics) maybe, to replace them. But that is really not a possibility and we do not say much of a say on it. Not even the coaches have. So basically, it is what it is, the Rodionenkos are here and in order to have a better ambient on the team, I would rather have someone with a good relationship with them and also competent.

      I'm sorry if I'm rambling. My point is, even if we take in mind only Alexandrov version of this history, he staying in Russia would be a disaster. Aliya is already with the world on her back, imagine adding Alexandrov backstage drama with the rest of the coaches? So, maybe, yes, Alexandrov was backstabbed and his sacking was dark, but I firmly believe it was the right decision and that the new head coach was also the right decision. I'm sorry I just do not share the opinion that Alexandrov should be back.

      Now, something else I should say. Again many things being said around only tells one side of the history. I do not think that the Rodionenkos are the devils or only prejudicial for Russia. For example, is a fact that Aliya have a good and close relationship with Rodionenko. He said on more than one occasion that she has been a rock and essential to Russia. Valentina is also bitching, but she does it to everyone, not only Aliya. So I, contrary to some comments everywhere, do not think Aliya has been suffering a sort of veiled "bullying" or anything of this sort from them. Is also a fact that they raised the Russia gymnastics finances considerably (they being friends with Putin, what for good or better is beneficial to gymnastics...again politics), the girls have one of the best training center of the world. The Olympians and specially Komova and Mustafina got some gifts and presents and money from sponsors and government. What might stimulate the other girls as well. The girls often go to vocations together and take time out to have fun and bound as team (let me tell u this is something very new, old Russia/URSS gymnasts did not have this sort of activity). As you also said, the MAG team has improved considerably.

    13. its delusional to blame everything that is happening solely on the Rodionenkos, since problems go deeper than that and its also an matter of changing and generation. Russia is changing, so is the youth mentality. Back on the day an Olympian would be treated and viewed as an royal. Nowdays, not so much. Up until the middle 90's an athlete would have a series of benefits nobody else would. This is not the case anymore (for what is worthy the Rodionenkos are trying to improve this matter with monetary prizes etc). All those things contribute to the decrease on the number of gymnasts and also that they do not work as hard as the old ones (and I mean those would work to a point of being ) and the fact that this new generation (everywhere) do not take authority as the old one, hence the need of younger coaches that could help with new ways of dealing with them.

      Finally, I do not know if I'm making myself clear here, but I think people needs to stop seeing this as an Disney Movie. There are no monster and prince here. There are two people, all with certain influence and political experience, that do not get well with each other (maybe even despise each other). Yes, maybe Alexandrov was stabbed on the back, but nothing tells me had the situation been the opposite he would not do the same with Rodionenko. Or that if Alexandrov was in the place of Rs he would do anything positive to help the situation here.Again no angels or else they would not be where they were today. They all have their rights or wrongs, some more other less, they have made shit decisions and good ones as well.

      Just to finish, I'm sorry if its too long. I'm not saying I hate Alexandrov. I like him. Respect him for what he did with Aliya and with the 92 team (that made it thought when Russia was in a very complicate situation). He is an exceptional coach and I'm excited to see what he can make with Brazil, I already like Rebeca Andrade a lot. But saint/angel/god/pure he is not, nor are the Rodionenkos. I just think he did not do his best as an head coach and that Grebyonkin is a good choice. Not better than him, maybe not, but more balanced.

    14. BTW I read ur comment where u said u think China might be the one to beat or to challenge this year instead of US and I actually agree. Their nationals this last week looked promising and I was surprised with how much they improved in so little. At least two vaulters with an 6.0 and 6.2 plus Jinnan with her 2TY. Their UB and BB, incredible, at least 3 girls are over 6.3 ob UB and 6.0 on BB. Floor looks crappy, I think one girls with an 6.2 routine and the rest is pretty low, but with three super high scores on UB and BB (where every other team seems to be struggling ) and an ok score on VT they might do it since apart from Biles and Ross, the other US seniors do not look that high level. Their juniors yes, amazing pool there, but their right now seniors not so much.

    15. OK so basically you are saying we have only heard one side of the story, that neither Alexandrov nor Rodionenko are completely to blame, and that the Gymternet community shouldn't be quite so polarised in their viewpoints, which I agree with.

      You speak of Alexandrov's 'antics' and how they adversely affected the team at the Olympics. Could you please describe these antics? As far as I am aware, he did not begin to speak to the press about his problems until after the Games and the press conference that was called by a Rodionenko, where basically Rodionenko sought to blame Alexandrov for things publicly, and coaches like Sergei Zelikson and Marina Ulyankina also condemned Alexandrov.

    16. PS The one-sidedness of the account is Rodionenko's choice - he is in a position to say more if he wants to. I would also add for complete fairness that Valentina held court and had the Russian press basically in the palm of her hand for months both before and after the Games. She briefed against Alexandrov quite heavily at this time. The problem the Rodionenkos have is that Valentina has clearly waged public wars of attrition against various gymnasts and coaches at various times and some of the things she has said have been unbelievable and proved untrue in the longer term.
      Andrei on the other hand seems reasonable but says very little.
      Alexandrov's account was very frank and specific and not at all mealy mouthed. If Rodionenko wants the gymternet community to listen up, he will have to be as transparent and honest. I completely agree that to demonise or canonise either Alexandrov or A Rodionenko is wrong but Alexandrov has a very candid voice while V Rodionenko has worked up the wrong image and rubbed the public up the wrong way. If Andrei wants the public to understand the situation better, he will have to give as free and honest account as Alexandrov did.

    17. Maria Nazarova also complained about what Alexandrov had done to Afanassieva.

    18. And what did he do to Afanasyeva? Deny her chocolate?

    19. Who knows... But Nazarova is a respected coach and she didn't like how things had gone with Alexandrov. All this bashing of the other coaches makes no sense.

    20. 'All this bashing of other coaches' ... Who is bashing whom?

      Can we make it a rule please that posters add their name at the end of each post. And could they please make specific reference to something of substance when they post or this thread will degrade into nonsense.
      Nazarova criticised Alexandrov for very little, but in particular continuing his personal coaching of Mustafina. This was during the press conference called by Rodionenko post Olympics, which I have already mentioned above. Did you have some other information to add? With source if possible? Or did Maria mention something to you in person that you wanted to note here?

    21. I agree QE that specific examples are required to give a better picture of how Alexandrov has "wronged" anyone. Anon also mentioned that Alexandrov not being on the floor with the other gymnasts was a sign that things were not right in the Russian camp but to me it could mean something different. For example, we hardly ever see Bellu on the floor with the gymnasts but I honestly don't think that means there was something amiss among him and the other coaches/gymnasts. Besides that, of course Alexandrov would know how to deal with Mustafina he was her personal coach so by reasoning the other gymnasts' personal coaches should know how to deal with them. And how was he supposed to know how to deal with Grishina when she trained separately from all of them which was against his wishes? I'm not saying Alexandrov is a saint but he has done a lot for Russian gymnastics. Would we have even seen a 2010 Aliya without him? Would Russia have gotten their first team gold as Russia without? Remember he said that no one wanted to coach Aliya which is why he ended up doing it himself. When I first read that I had to ask myself those questions because Aliya was the key to getting Russia that team gold in 2010.


    22. Queen Elizabeth, I started all this and I'm sorry, english is no my first language and seems I'm not making myself clear. I will try to explain myself, just so there are no misinterpretation.

      First, Lets be clear here, the whole issue (even back then) is with ALEXANDROV THE HEAD COACH, ALEXANDROV ALIYA PERSONAL COACH was never an issue. To Aliya he did a lot of course. So since 2010 team was build around Aliya, of course he gets lots of merits for that team as a personal coach of the main star. Can u people see the difference?

      So QE u seem to think I'm against Alexandrov or something. No. When I said antics is just the english word I googles translated. I meant it in the sense of his way of dealing, working with others athletes and the coaches etc.Noting to do with what he did after. I'm not trying to imply that what he said and divulged is incorrect. What I'm saying is maybe that is how HE (ALEXANDROV) saw the situation but not how others did. For example, he clearly saw no problem on being head coach and Aliya coach, that his perspective, while others coached around saw it as a big issue, their perspective. I do not condemn Alexandrov for going public with this, but I hope to god the others coaches do not do the same, specially Rodionenko. For once, its something inside, problems like that have occurred in many other countries even with the Karolys and some of the coaches etc. Yet we do not see it public like that. Second, this would only make something bad already worst. We are sinking right now, no need to fast speed the process with this sort of thing. We already have Valentina doing a good job on this as it is.

      Now, maybe is just how I see things here, to me, head coach is a job personal coach is another. A head coach has the obligation, part of his job, to have a good and equal relationship with all the athletes, he has to know how to deal with them, how to calm them and has to know how to impose discipline as well. A personal coach only needs to do this to his own gymnast. For example, Komova coach do not need to know how to deal with Ksenia, Nastia, Masha or Aliya, only Vycka. Alexandrov should have known how to deal with all those girls and to impose it to them, even to Anastasia (to me a real drama queen) even if they had personal coaches as well. This was a main point on the complains, that Alexandrov could not impose discipline, he was not close enough to the girls, he did not try to keep them focused, calm...Honestly, even Ksenia, a well established senior, was a big mess at the Olympics. Something was wrong right? And Alexandrov as the head coach was in the middle of this. This was one thing Ksenia coach also pointed out BTW. I repeat, a strong relationship with the gymnasts is essential to success. See Bellu, Romania always looks like they are falling apart, yet, he makes it work, its clear he have a good relationship with all the girls, not only Iordache, but with Diana , Sandra, Catalina etc. And that Alexandrov did not have. And he being Aliya personal coach helped on distancing him from the others. Now, the Rodionenkos have a lot of blame on this situation, yes, since they and Alexandrov have never clicked. But was it solely the Rodionenko? Alexandrov had no blame on this? All the others coaches (many very experienced and professional) have not even a bit of reason? I think that this is a naive thinking.He just could not reach the athletes.

      That is also the main reason why I like the actual head coach, he is someone very calm and centered and have a very good relationship with all the girls. He knows how to deal with them, even with Aliya that many seem to think only Alexandrov was capable of. The girls look happy, even with the thousands of injuries and lack of depth we have, maybe he can make those girls raise and work. We might not have a big pool of athletes but what we have is not that bad. Specially if we count the upcoming juniors...

    23. I repeat I do not like the Rodionenkos, but i dont think Alexandrov should get this job either. Under the circumstances, he would do more bad than good. Russia needs novelty, someone that do not treat this generation as they would treat the old ones (under a very different regime), someone that can gets closer to the athletes, motivate them. Again, this Russia youth generation (in general) is something completely different than we ever had, for political/social/economic reasons.And the coaches have to follow this. Romania went to something similar and Bellu and Bitang looks like they could do this transition, they certainly can not deal with Iordache/Sandra etc as they would with Amanar, Milosevic etc.

      Back in 1992 was different, the girls were taught that they had to do what was said. that is it. no openness to anything. A head coach there would not need to have a close relationship or learn how to deal with them , he had the system behind him, he had the girls were already highly disciplined. All he needed to do was be imposing. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS SOMETHING ABUSIVE OR ANYTHING, IT WAS WHAT IT WAS AND EVRYONE HAD TO BE IN THIS SYSTEM. But, have u seem Rosa,Svetalana, Tatyana talk about 92? Do you think they had the sort of bounding Mustafina had with him? It was different.

      Of course ppl outside have a different view of this. As to most of them Alexandrov is a sort of god. But do not see everything so black white, russia is not like that.

      Also, Rodionenko (I'm not meaning Valentina cuz she is useless to me) is trying to keep a good ambience and to keep the coaches on good terms. He is reaching to the girls, I have seem him laughing and hugging with Masha and Aliya on many occasions...My point is, blaming everything that happens on him is not entirely fair, Russia problems go deeper and most of those " old schools" coaches we have here are having trouble adapting. He back stabbed Alexandrov last quad, but changing head coach was the ultimately best decision. Instead of choosing one of those old soviet coaches, he got a relatively young one, with a new approach to training and someone that even Aliya, that was very attached to A., could relate to. He got great investments deals. Russia gymnastics might not be on the path but is considerably better than the 2004/2008 quad as well.

      Im not trying to be rude or offend your blog. Think u are coin great job. I'm just trying to give another perspective, and a Russian one for that matter. Maybe we have difference visions.


    24. Hi Annya, your posts are great, thank you for taking the time. I hope you come back and post again and again! I was just trying to get to the bottom of your meaning and understand what your sources were etc; thank you for being so patient - your English is very good.
      The reason I questioned you so much was because you seem to know so much and I was trying to work out where the knowledge came from and what in particular you know. In the end, we agree about the big picture, and you have added to that by providing your insight into what sounds like a bit of a clash between the authoritarian approach and today's less hierarchical ways of thinking.

      I am not sure myself if less discipline is what the girls need but I take in board what you say about the changing political environment. I'm also delighted to see Seda Tutkhalyan lead qualifying today at YO. She is so serious in competition and still last there is an up and coming all arounder to support Mustafina.

      Well, I hope I haven't been too inquisitory, but you have said some really interesting things and I hope we get a chance to chat again in future. Eluzabeth

    25. Hello Annya,

      I really enjoyed your posts.

      Personally, I liked to know how you think the new generation of gymnasts in Russia. I do not agree that less discipline will help them. Results will not come only with good conversations and trips. And both the political and the VKB require results. And results will happen with much discipline, dedication and hard work. But it is also important that boundaries for both coaches and gymnasts parties are established. In this particular, I remember Yelena Mukhina.

      It is very interesting to read how the Russian people see their own history.

      It would be very nice to read your comments again.

      Thank you.

    26. Anya, thank you for your post.
      At least it gives a different approach in this blog that is is so pro Alexandrov and pro Mustafina.
      I have always thought that Alexandrov did not contribute enough with all his experience to gymnasts such as Komova, Grishina or Afanasyeva. At the London Olympics it was as if not a team of coaches was working together.

    27. dear QE, well tbk u. Since those posts were so big I thought maybe it was too much. You did not push it, its just english do not come so easy to me so I might use words that can not fully explain what I mean. But I commend you on trying to understand my point. I did gymnastics here for a long time and have a close relationship with Dynamo, but I do not have nor tried to imply it any close relationship to any of the O12 coaches, aside from watching they train time to time. I only know what is being talked around on the gyms here and between the whole gymnastic body here.

      One thing I have noticed (not from here specifically but from net overall) is that people that do not come from the same history that us do not grasp the whole thing. Maybe to you people, the way the new generation is behaving is not so different from the old ones or is something normal. To us, even at the last 90's we lived in a place where high discipline was the norm. I'm not here trying to discuss politics, because that is something only fellow russian will fully grasp, but we learned discipline from our family, from the school, from the sporting centers, from your mentors, from the system. I mean an extreme discipline that was validated by government and that the parents had very little influence on it. So, if one coach thought the girl had to train X hours, she would train X hours, her parents would have no say on it or else she was out.Most of the time those parents would not even get know what was going on inside a gym.
      Since we changed so much, politically speaking, nowadays ITS impossible to go back to that way. That approach is outdated. Sveta Khorkina changed it a lot I think. The parents nowadays have a huge influence on their children education and their day to day life. the children were not raised so extremely strict. They have a voice. They have a opinion. And lets bear in mind I'm not talking about someone as mature as Ksenia and Aliya, for example, those girls are already trained. I'm talking about young/teen girls growing up. So the coaches needs to change their tactics. Not less discipline, a new way of imposing discipline. Those new girls they need to stay motivated, the coaches needs to also " work" a lil with the parents etc. Look at Anstasia, a huge potential never reached, clearly her coaches could not fully explore her, and its not new that her mother has a huge influence on her, but they did not know how to deal with parents because they never had to. IT IS NOT THAT WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR WAY, WE CHANGED, ITS A FACT, AND THE COACHES NEED TO ADAPT. As en example, When Bellu trained the Romanians, lets say around the 80,s and 90's Romania lived a situation more or less close to us. He used other ways of discipline and enforcement and dealt with his athletes differently. Many old Romanian girls have a good relationship with him, but they were born on this system, like me. I have read interviews from Milo or Simona, were they said, the coach was very strict and serious, they had a tough routine etc, but they think he is an amazing coach. Because they, like me, were raised to respect this. When Romania changed, like us, Bellu changed his way too. He could not train the girls the same way he did back then. You can see him now with Larisa, Sandra, Diana, more affectioned, always talking with them, always giving interviews and showing how the girls are training on live tv, hugging them etc. Please do not take this wrong way, Bellu has always had a close relationship with most of his girls but those relationships changed, its more open, like he is a master a close friend not the boss...Same with the coaches like Liukin, Chow and Mihail, they all come from those highly disciplined regimen but in US they could not use the same thing, so they still enforce discipline but not as it was enforced to them. Valeri said something like that once, that he is a serious coach but not like his coach was to him.

    28. Regarding how I see this new generation. I think that its not perfect, the same problems we have been having for a while, not so many athletes, not enough motivation etc, but its not the worst either. With the seniors we have been unfortunate, I do not see neither Ksenia or Anastasia coming back and if they do I do not see them at Olympics. Ksenia body is just saying " this is too much" back down, which is a pity cuz of her floor and vt. Anastasia is not on the Rodionenkos good side right now, plus she is inconsistent and her routines never quite reached her full potential. Aliya is walking towards specialist more than AA, she already said she will not attempt a Amanar. Her body is also saying its time to back down. She is essential of course and everyone expect to see her at O16. That is why I think they are giving her a break this year. But she is not the AA that will fight for a medal anymore. Masha Kharenkova unfortunately, like Nastia, did not reach her full potential and was supposed to be the new Vika, but right now its basically Beam and Floor, I do not see this changing much really. Vika is a mystery, I hope she comes back, I hope she makes it to O16, I think she has a better motivation than the others and she is more mature now. She has the potential and her coaches are amazing. Masha Paseka is not for my personal taste but she has a good VT so she might actually be a serious contender. Tatyana, Evgenia and Anna R. I dont see at O16. Alla is surprising to me, huge improvement in such a short time, I think she can grow even more.
      I think our juniors are actually pretty good with huge potential. I know it was politic here not pack their routine too much and try to do it on the last half of the quad, now we have to see how that goes. Seda is very good and have strong foundation, her basics are strong, I think she can upgrade a lot. Masha Bondareva was like Maria a big hope, I really like her, but I think she is in a difficult situation, I hope she pulls through...Melknova is another force, she already have pretty good routines except for floor. With some upgrades she could go as AA. Nastia Dmitrieva have a good potential, specially on floor and VT. Shelgunova is a long shot.
      All in all, I think we do not have, so far, an AA gold potential like we had with Vika. But a solid team to make O16 we have. VT and FL are the weakest, but not critical and we have at least 3 excellent UB and BB. What US does not have, so far. So, we also have huge potential for individual medal at events final. I think we can make a strong team, but mostly made of specialist rather than strong AA. But this is now, we never know what can happen until them. For better or worse.

    29. The Russia has a team of really promising juniors. Personally I like Masha or Kharenkova, Angelina Melnikova Silk Spiridinova Daria, Daria Spyrinik and Alla Sosnistkaya. These new gymnasts are really good. The last quad, honestly, I believe that only Alya could return. I hope Angelina, _ Seda or Kharenkova become good AA. They all have great potential. I do not know how it is in Russia, but the sponsorships have always been the biggest motivators. I really like Vika Komova, but I think she is not getting back to old form. But I do not know if that would be possible in Russia. And as for what you said about the new coaches, I think it is vital for the Russian gym talented young coaches. Unfortunately, the best and most famous are already quite old. They should spend all the knowledge and experience they have in training new coaches. :) Thank you again. It is really nice to read about a new point of view.


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