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Aliya Mustafina and Sergei Starkin - picture gallery

There is a fabulous picture gallery of Day 1 EF at the Russian Champs on the RGF website.  Scroll down to enjoy a few highlights.

Aliya Mustafina was there to support her team mates.  Here she is with coach Sergei Starkin, happy after his gymnast Denis Ablyazin won two golds, on floor (shared with Nikita Nagorny) and rings.  Find the results here -

Viktoria Komova had a little bit of disappointment when she fell from bars and missed a medal there.  Here she is consoled by head coach Andrei Rodionenko.

Daria Spiridinova celebrates a third top scoring routine on the uneven bars.  Here she is with returning Olympian Ksenia Afanasyeva (back on floor tomorrow!), Moscow's Artur Dalolyan and, to the left,Youth Olympics  Champion and first year senior, Seda Tutkhalyan.

Nikita Ignatyev signs a calendar for a fan.

'Hello ...'  Gold medallist on floor (shared with Denis Ablyazin), Nikita Nagorny has apparently mistaken his first senior trophy for a phone :-)

Vera Kolesnikova, 1986 Goodwill Games Champion, was here this week as a judge

Who is it?  First year senior, Maria Bondareva.  Maria fell on uneven bars and was very disappointed about it ... But there will be more opportunities, Masha!

First year senior Seda Tutkhalyan took bronze in vault and performed her best on uneven bars to take fourth place.  Tune in tomorrow for more updates on this promising gymnast, the only woman to qualify to all four event finals.

Three of Moscow's finest ... Gold medallist on vault, Alla Sosnitskaya, with vault bronze medallist Seda Tutkhalyan and ... Aliya!

Happy gymnasts all together.  Maria Paseka, also from Moscow, took silver on the vault.


  1. Any videos of the EF?


  3. Queen Elizabeth, I am interested in knowing what you thought of these championships? How do you think Russia is doing? I am really happy to see the upgrades on vault, and Afan's floor is awesome this early in the season. I feel bad for Komova. Seda has so much potential, I hope she is able to be a super star in gymnastics. Spiridinova's bars is great. I miss Grishina and Musty, but I am glad to hear Musty is being timed correctly.



    1. WAG - some good specialists emerging, but too few AAers. Great that Afanasyeva is back - in some style - but Komova already looked defeated by the time of the EFs. Spiridinova and Kharenkova are organised and competent. The girls have all improved on floor somewhat but vault is a weakness now. The gymnasts who can do vault well - Sosnitskaya and Paseka - are mediocre elsewhere. Those who can do beam and/or bars are poor on vault. It will matter less in Montpellier, but will present selection difficulties in Glasgow even if both Mustafina and Komova are ready.
      Even with Grishina and (next year) Melnikova the team isn't as strong relatively as it was in 2011-2. Few other teams rely in veterans as much as Russia. After 2016 if Mustafina, Afan, Grishina, Komova and Paseka all retire, the team will have no serious AA contenders. Their specialists will look strong at Euros and may qualify to finals at Worlds, but that is all.
      Sosnitskaya is a hard working gymnast with some talent, but she is not exceptional. She is expected to compete for the AA in Montpellier - according to her recent interview - but I think Kharenkova has more flair even with her weakness on vault.
      If I were selecting I would take a risk and put Tutkhalyan in the AA. She is fit and ambitious and hungry for experience. The team needs go- getters. Had Tutkhalyan stayed on beam in EF - and that is not inconceivable - she would have beaten Kharenkova by quite a large margin.
      MAG - I'm worried because they are carrying so many injuries (Balandin, Ablyazin, Garibov, Stretovich, Kuksenkov). Nagorny is a breath of fresh air and I am delighted he made the cut. Disappointed for Starikov.
      Both teams have added new blood and depth this year - the problems they all have (MAG and WAG) are stamina, injury avoidance, and a lack of AAers.

      The sport at world level (more WAG than MAG) lacks depth in the AA. With the exception of the Americans and occasional anomalies like Cheng Fei, vaulting excellence does not go hand in hand with AA ability that often. Yet a good vault is essential to do well AA because the very best can score so highly at it. MAG has healthier strength in depth and balance across all six pieces.

      It was great to see that the Russian women were producing better floor work again. I am not gasping at the beauty of any of the work, Afanasyeva's included; the requirements break up any real sense of spontaneity or defining artistic principle in the work. Dmitrieva has a nice concept, but she has to rush through the dance elements to include all of the stuff the Code dictates. But I do think it is positive that gymnasts like Afan are finding the balance between some artistry and the required difficulty - this should earn a bonus, though I know it probably won't! It is interesting to see also how artistry is found in the composition of the routines (Afan, Dmitrieva) and in the manner of performance (Afan's line, posture and gravity-defying lift; Spiridinova's economy of line). I think these are useful areas of definition that could help the FIG in considering the nature of artistry, not just on floor but also on the other apparatus; and in MAG, too.

      I should probably add that for me, Tutkhalyan's pace on beam adds up to a kind of artistry; this means that a gymnast like Biles scores highly there, too. But you would have to go a long way to find a gymnast who combines all of the above qualities and pace or confidence; on floor, I would back Afan as the best balance. I also query whether the various dimensions should be weighted equally so that a gymnast with the line of Spiridinova can gain equal bonus as a gymnast with the power and pace of Biles.

    2. Thank you Queen Elizabeth for responding to my request. Your insight is always great!!!


  4. Is it true that Paseka is injured? If so, was it her on her vault?


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