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Russia's Angeline Melnikova Goes To Tokyo As A Completely Different Person Than She Was In RIO

Angelina Melnikova is Russia's most experienced athlete on their women's artistic gymnastics team to Tokyo. Melnikova had her senior...



Angelina Melnikova is Russia's most experienced athlete on their women's artistic gymnastics team to Tokyo.

Melnikova had her senior debut in 2016, where she had less than stellar performances and results.

At the European championships, she won gold with her team but left the competition without any individual medals.

At the Rio Olympic Games, she struggled with a strained hamstring. At the qualifications, she had a fall on balance beam and uneven bars, failing to qualify into the individual all-around or any of the event finals as many anticipated her to.

At the team final, she had a fall on balance beam but contributed to the team's silver medal by competing on all four events.


Angelina would later slowly live up to her true potential. She had a rough start in 2017, making major mistakes at several competitions. At the European championships, she fell on the balance beam and uneven bars at the qualifications resulting in her not qualifying to the all around final. However, she qualified to the vault and floor exercise finals. She finished last on vault, but grabbed gold on floor exercise with a clean routine beating British gymnast Ellie Downie and Eythora Thorsdottir from the Netherlands.

At the World championships, the Russian gymnast had major mistakes at the qualifications. She only advanced to the all around final where she finished in 16th place.

She found success in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, she led her team to win gold at the European championships. Individually, she clinched silver on vault and bronze on the uneven bars.

At the World championships, she contributed to her team's silver medal win, and finished fifth in the all around and fourth on floor exercise.

In 2019, she won silver on the uneven bars, and bronze in the all around and on floor exercise at the European champions - and silver with the team, and bronze in the all around and on floor exercise.

In 2021, she became the European champion on uneven bars, won silver in the all around and on floor exercise, and bronze on vault.

"It’s been five years since Rio, I changed as a person and almost all my routines changed, so it’s hard to compare," Melnikova, who is the Captain of the Russian team, said in an interview with a local TV channel translated by Gymnovosti. "The only thing I can say is that my approach to training changed completely, both the mental and the physical approaches."

"Now I’m approaching these Games as an adult person, conscious of everything, a completely different person. I was 16 years old then, I was a child, and now I’ll be 21, it’s a big leap in age, so I’m a completely different person."

The soon to be 21 year old gymnast says she is twice as confident than she was before. 

"Back then I’d been to only one senior competition – European Championships – and now I have seven or eight various championships behind me," said the Russian athlete.

"So, of course, I’m way more confident now."

When asked if she is expects to win gold, Melnikova said that it's hard to make any predictions in the sport.

"Anything can happen in a competition. You can win or you can lose at the most unexpected moment when you thought you were winning."

"So, I’m going there expecting to do my routines the way I want them to do which is perfectly. And I’ll be striving for that before everything else. And then we’ll see how things go."

The Tokyo women's gymnastics competition is set to start on the 25th of July.


Written by Gigi Farid.

Photos by Ginnastica Artistica Italiana


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