Articles by "Russian Gymnastics"
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Angelina Melnikova at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Russia’s national team coordinator Valentina Rodionenko issued a statement today, naming four gymnasts to the preliminary 2017 World championships team. The four women are Olympians Maria Paseka and Angelina Melnikova, and junior European champions Elena Eremina and Anastasia Ilyankova. Melnikova and Eremina are scheduled to compete in the all around, Paseka on vault and Ilyankova on the uneven bars and on balance beam.

The World championships are taking place in Montreal, Canada from 2 to 8 October 2017.

The team is very similar to the 2017 European championships one, with the exception of Ilyankova, who replaces Natalia Kapitonova. The latter had a brilliant beginning of season, but did not shine internationally, either in Jesolo or at the European championships.

Maria Paseka, 22, is a four-time Olympic medallist and the current world champion on vault. Paseka won a silver with the team and a bronze on vault at the 2012 London Olympics and two silver medals, with the team and on vault, in Rio 2016. She came into the Rio Olympics as the current world champion on vault, after winning the title in Glasgow in 2015. She is also the vault European champion from 2015.

Angelina Melnikova, 17, won silver with the team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and she is the 2017 European champion on floor. As a junior, she also won gold with the team, in the all around and on balance beam at the 2014 European championships. She struggled a bit with consistency this year, an issue that precluded her from qualifying for the all around and beam finals at the European championships, but she has the potential to be in contention for an all around medal and more.

Elena Eremina, 16, is the 2016 junior European all around champion, as well as a gold medallist with the team and the bronze medallist on balance beam. This is her first year as a senior, and earlier this year she shined especially on the uneven bars, winning gold at the Jesolo Trophy and silver at the European championships.

Anastasia Ilyankova, 16, is the 2016 junior European champion on both uneven bars and balance beam. In November 2016, she also won gold in the all around and on floor and silver on bars and beam at the Massilia Cup. Ilyankova did not compete much this season due to persistent injuries, but she excels on the uneven bars, and she has the potential to medal on the world stage on this apparatus.

Noticeably missing from the World championships roster are Olympians Daria Spiridonova and Seda Tutkhalian. Spiridonova is the 2015 uneven bars world co-champion, but this year she showed some lack of consistency, which took her out of the European championships team. She and Ilyankova have similar difficulty on the uneven bars, but the latter has proven more consistent this year. Tutkhalian has also struggled with consistency, and was not awarded any international assignments this year. Missing from the roster is also Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina, who is on maternity leave.

The last word concerning the team, however, has yet to be spoken. Both the Universiade and the Russian Cup are coming up next week, and all gymnasts competing there are still in contention for a spot on the World team. The final decision will be made at a training camp in September.

By Talitha Ilacqua

Aliya Mustafina has never shown her baby daughter's face on social media up until now.

The Russian gymnast has before uploaded countless of photos of herself with her daughter without revealing her face. But it seems that she finally feels comfortable enough to show her daughter's beautiful face to the world.

Mustafina married bobsleigh champion Alexey Zaitsev in a small and private wedding ceremony last November. The following month, it was announced that the couple is expecting their first child.

The two time Olympic champion named her daughter Alisa whom she welcomed two months ago.

Mustafina's last competition was the Rio Olympic Games where she won three medals. She has expressed desire to return to the sport and compete at 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Written by Gigi Farid

Russian gymnasts, Aliya Mustafina and Angelina Melnikova, celebrated one year anniversary of their Olympic silver medal win on Instagram, this week.

The gymnasts uploaded their photos of the competition and added heartfelt captions.

Mustafina: These emotions cannot be conveyed in words, they can only be felt. And they are worth living, and worth remembering in two years, in three, and in four years we will go get the new ones. I love you, my girls, and  I don't have words to express how much I miss you already.

Did you read that we will go get the new ones, aww Mustafina is still determined to make a comeback and hasn't changed her mind after giving birth to her daughter Alisa.

Melnikova: Exactly a year ago my life turned upside down. On that day we became THE SILVER OLYMPIC MEDALISTS! Our unforgettable, close, fun and the best team in the world @musaliya135 @sedatutkhalian_13 @dashkoy83 @m.paseka. Thank you! I love you the most! and you're my big second family. Thanks to the coaches, doctors, experts and everyone how supported us. This is your win! This day will stay forever in my memory.

Daria Spiridonova and Seda Tutkhaylan have also celebrated the anniversary.

Spiridonova: Exactly one year has passed. We became more mature and our friendship only became stronger. Thanks, everyone.

Tutkhaylan: 4. 09.08.2016-09.08.2017 It happened exactly a year ago and will forever stay in our memories. I guess I still can't believe that we're the Silver Olympic Medalists #2016. A whole year has passed. Too fast. I remember how we cried because of the guys. And I didn't have any more tears for us. Although, @gelyamelnikova cried for all of us. Girls, thank YOU  for the tons of emotions we had there. 

Tears at the training sessions, laughter in the rooms, loud music for the whole floor to hear, how we were lying on the massage table at 5. Everyone went to the training while Gelya and I went to McDonalds. 

Do you remember how I spoke in an incomprehensible language and the doctor thought I spoke Armenian? And then he talked this way, too? The song "chirrup, chirrup, the silver fell in..." We were constantly walking on the street and saying "Change pin". These were the #unforgettable life moments. The special thanks goes to my personal coach, Marina Gennadyevna Ulyankina for her patience. And, of course, to the coaching experts and doctors, we wouldn't make it without you. 09.08.2016 will always stay in our memory.

Maria Paseka was the only member of the team who did not upload a celebration post on Instagram.

The Russian team left the Rio Olympics with four medals, silver in the team competition, bronze in the all around (Mustafina), silver on vault (Paseka) and gold on uneven bars (Mustafina).

Written by Gigi Farid

Special thanks to Liubov Baladzhaeva for translating the quotes. You can follow her one Twitter and check out her awesome website Gymnovosti.

Maria Paseka at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: YouTube

The Russian Gymnastics Federation has announced the team that will compete at the upcoming Summer Universiade Games. The Universiade is taking place is Taipei City from 19 to 30 August 2017. It includes sixteen sports, including athletics, swimming, diving, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics.

The five women selected to represent the Russian gymnastics team in Taipei are Olympians Maria Paseka and Daria Spiridonova, Evgeniia Shelgunova, Liliia Akhaimova and Daria Elizarova.

Maria Paseka, 22, is a four-time Olympic medallist and the current world champion on vault. Paseka won a silver with the team and a bronze on vault at the 2012 London Olympics and two silver medals, with the team and on vault, in Rio 2016. She came into the Rio Olympics as the current world champion on vault, after winning the title in Glasgow in 2015. She is also the European vault champion from 2015. Paseka already competed at the Universiade both in 2013 and in 2015. In 2013, she won gold with the team and bronze on vault. And in 2015, she won gold with the team and on vault, and bronze on the uneven bars.

Daria Spiridonova, 19, won silver with the team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She is the current world champion on the uneven bars (Glasgow 2015), a title she shares with three other gymnasts, including teammate Viktoria Komova. Spiridonova owns other two world bronze medals, with the team and on the uneven bars, from Nanning 2014. She is also the 2015 European champion on the uneven bars, and the 2016 European champion with the team.

Evgeniia Shelgunova, 20, is the 2012 junior European champion with the team, as well as the silver medallist in the all around and the bronze medallist on bars. She is the current all around bronze medallist from the 2017 Russian National championships, as well as gold medallist with the team at the DTB Pokal Team Challenge Cup.

Liliia Akhaimova, 20, won three gold medals at the 2016 Voronin Cup, with the team, on vault and on floor exercise. This year at the National championships, she won the floor title, as well as a silver medal on vault and a bronze medal with the team. She also won gold with the team at the DTB Pokal Team Challenge Cup.

Daria Elizarova, 26, competed at the Universiade in 2015, where she won gold with the team, silver on floor exercise and bronze on vault. At the Voronin Cup in 2016 she won gold both on vault and on balance beam. She represented Uzbekistan in 2010, winning a bronze medal with the team at the Asian Games.

The Universiade coincides with the Russian Cup, which means that the five gymnasts involved in the former will not be able to compete in Russia. Even though the Russian Cup is a decisive step to determine the World championships team, the five women competing at the Universiade will still be in contention, as the final decision concerning the World team will be taken at a training camp in September.

This was confirmed by national team coordinator Valentina Rodionenko who, after announcing the team, argued that if the athletes competing at the Universiade show a world-level competitive programme, they will be in contention for a spot on the team for the World championships in Canada.

Rodionenko also announced the Universiade’s men’s gymnastics team, which will be formed of Vladislav Poliashov, Kirill Prokopev, Alexey Rostov, Ilya Kibartas and Daniil Kazachkov.

By Talitha Ilacqua
The Russian team at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Aleksei Morozov, a high-ranked official at the Russian Ministry of Sports and a former hokey player, spoke at a discussion about coaches’ preparation in Russia, and had some strong words for the national gymnastics coaches. The old generation of coaches of the artistic gymnastics team, Morozov argued, use old training methods that are not successful anymore and are consequently outdated.

‘We have some coaches (especially in artistic gymnastics), who are 83-84 years old’, Morozov said, Gymnovosti reports. ‘These are the coaches of the national team. And many of these coaches (no offense to them) use the methods of those old methodological developments of the Soviet period, which are based on slightly different principles, and, as follows, on different means and technologies, including a different pharmacological support’.

Even though no Russian national team coaches are in their mid-eighties, Morozov was likely to be referring to the current national team coordinators, the Rodionenkos. Valentina Rodionenko turns eighty-one this year, while her husband Andrei is seventy-five.

The Rodionenkos’ secrecy and often controversial attitude towards gymnasts have often been criticised by fellow coaches and gymnastics magazines, but it is one of the first times criticism comes from the Russian government itself.

By Talitha Ilacqua

It seems that Viktoria Komova will add a whip (A) to her double Arabian tuck (E) on floor exercise.

The Russian gymnast shared a live video on Instagram of herself tumbling while gradually increasing the difficulty.

She is shown training:

A round off to back handspring to a single back tuck.

A round off to whip to a single back tuck.

A round off to back handspring to double back tuck.

A round off to whip to a single tucked Arabian.

A round off to whip to double tucked Arabian.

The video features her several attempts at training the whip to double tucked Arabian. The combination is worth 0.2 connection bonus. 

It is worth mentioning that Komova used to compete a one and half twisting back layout indirectly connected to double tucked Arabian which is worth the same bonus.

Viktoria's last competition was the 2015 World championships where she won gold on uneven bars. She is set to debut her comeback at Vornin cup which will be held in December.

Written by Gigi Farid

Where has Alla Sosnitskaya been lately?

The Russian native has left her home country to compete for Georgia, a country in the Caucasus region which is bordered to the north by Russia.

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni
Last week, Sosnistkaya took part at the Sikharulidze Cup in Batumi, where she won first place on vault, balance beam and floor exercise, and came second in the all around and third on uneven bars. 

She has yet to receive an FIG license for Georgia. 

Sosnitskaya, who competed at 2014 European and World championships, is not the first Russian gymnast to leave their country for a better future. 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Anna Pavlova and 2011 World silver medalist Yulia Inshina started competing for Azerbaijan in 2013.

In 2014, former Russian gymnast and 2010 European vault champion Ekaterina kurbatova was seen coaching for the Eurasian country.

Sosnitskaya is most notably known for competing the Cheng vault, one of the most difficult vaults in the sport.

Written by Gigi Farid.   

A GIF showing Aliya Mustafina hitting a TV reporter's mic with her cap during a training session in the Rio Olympic arena, has gone viral among online gymnastics fans.

But what's the story behind it? Is it true, the queen was being rude to the reporter or maybe he was being annoying and she had to react?

Well, neither. The Russian gymnast was just talking about the number of mosquitoes flying around them and was trying to drive them away. FYI Mustafina is renowned for her classiness.

Some gymnastics fans found the GIF to be amusing. One of them joked and said that the reporter must have asked her if she ever plans to include an actual acrobatic series in her beam routine.

Mustafina was very successful at these Games as she managed to lead her team to a silver medal and to defend her Olympic bars title. She also won back to back bronze all around medal.

The highly successful gymnast is now taking a break to focus on motherhood. She plans to come back to the sport but hasn't yet set a date.

Written by Gigi Farid. 

She retires then comes back then retires again then comes back again. Wait a minute....Is she retired or not?

Tatiana Nabieva gave a six minute long interview for her teammate's vlog Girls Channel on Youtube where she talked about her current status with the sport.

The Russian veteran, who is in recovery from a wrist injury that required a surgery, said that she hasn't stopped gymnastics and that she is not planning to retire anytime soon.

In fact she aims at continuing doing the sport till death or a serious injury do them apart.

Nabieva, whose last competition was the 2016 Russian cup, plans to take part at the Vornin cup which will be held next December.

The World champion is helping in developing a gymnastics program in Dagestan, a federal republic of Russia that is located in the North Caucasus region. 

She desires to work as a full time coach once she retires. She as well dreams of opening her own gym in the federal republic. It is worth mentioning that her father is originally from there.

Nabieva recalled that she used to have former gymnast Svetlana Khorkina as an idol when she was a young gymnast. However, she believes that we tend to stop idolizing other people once we make our own achievements.

Tatiana did not make the 2012 Olympic team, something that she deeply regrets. She said that if she had the chance to turn back in time, she would have done everything in her power to make that team.

Dedicating most of her life to gymnastics left her with the feeling that she is missing out on a social life. That led her to partying and going out a lot. Nevertheless, she is not happy about the lifestyle and wishes to focus on her studies instead.

Beside winning the 2010 World gold medal with her team, she has two World silver medals which she won in 2011 on uneven bars and with the team. She also has a very difficult uneven bars release named after her.

Written by Gigi Farid 

Aliya with her daugther

More than one week ago, there was a rumor about Russian head coach Valentina Rodionenko getting gymnast Aliya Mustafina's daughter's name wrong.

The rumor stated that the daughter's name was Olesya not Alisa like Rodionenko previously told reporters. 

Thanks to the mamma's Instagram, the mystery has been solved. 

The Russian gymnast uploaded a photo of a cake and another of a stuffed animal which have her daughter's name written on, Alisa.

The two time Olympic champion has been on a break since the last Olympic Games. She has expressed desire to come back to competitive elite gymnastics but hasn't yet set a date.

Written by Gigi Farid.