Aliya Mustafina Floor 2012 RUS-GBR-SUI Tri-Meet
This was the first time I’ve actually seen a triple “Y-turn” done before. Aliya Mustafina has sometimes had a tendency to turn beyond a double on this element before, but this was the first time I’ve seen her do an obviously intended and completed triple. The double “Y-turn,” which is rated as a D skill, is called a “Memmel,” named after American Chellsie Memmel. I’m wondering if Mustafina does the triple in London if she’ll get it named after her. Obviously this skill would have to at least be rated an E element.
Mustafina is showing improvement on floor, and I expect we’ll see her double Arabian back in there over the next couple of months. Her tumbling still isn’t quite 100%, but does appear more confident than it did in her first couple of competitions back from her torn ACL. This is new music and choreography for her, and she still carries herself like the world champion she was in 2010. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that her leg separations on her twisting elements have gone anywhere…but these have never seemed to cost her very much.
This was a Tri-Meet held this weekend, in which Mustafina hit four-for-four and won the all-around with a very solid 58.95, ahead of teammates Anastasia Grishina (57.5) and Anna Dementieva (56.55). Viktoria Komova performed just bars and beam, scoring a very strong 15.85 and 15.25, respectively. Anasasia Sidorova performed three events and was a bit underwhelming, scoring a 13.4 on vault, 15.05 on beam, and 12.9 on floor. Maria Paseka had a decent DTY on vault for a 14.7, but was a little sloppy on bars (13.95) and fell on floor (12.1).
Let’s take a look at Mustafina’s other three routines from this competition:
Aliya Mustafina Vault 2012 RUS-GBR-SUI Tri Meet
Probably the best thing we could have possibly seen from her was a DTY this strong. I am very impressed with how aggressive she is here, how strong the block is, and how straight her body is. This looks TOTALLY capable of becoming an Amanar again, which would be a game-changer for both the Russian team and Mustafina’s all-around chances. Although I think the Russians will need at least TWO Amanars to realistically challenge the Americans for Olympic gold, the fact that it appears they will have at least one now is a huge step in the right direction. It’s also a signal that Mustafina could be right back in the Olympic all-around mix, with some continued improvements on beam and floor.
Aliya Mustafina Bars 2012 RUS-GBR-SUI Tri Meet
I have to say that even though she never had the best Tcatchev, I liked the routine better with it. I felt the routine flowed much better with the Tcatchev-Pak sequence in there…the way she slows down out of the in-bar stalder full that now connects directly with the Pak salto is much less exciting, breaks the rhythm a bit, and appears to make her short of handstand. She’s also capable of connecting that Pak salto directly into a Shaposhnikova-half, which she obviously didn’t do here. Still, though, she’s one of the world’s best on this event, and it’s an event that both she and her team will be counting on heavily to score huge in London.
Aliya Mustafina Beam 2012 RUS-GBR-SUI Tri Meet
Just as we saw on floor, she’s slowly increasing her difficulty back to where it was on this event. We’ve seen so many different combinations from her over the last few years that it’s hard to ever predict what she’s going to throw. I did always like her front aerial to Onodi combination, as I felt it was very unique and she did it extremely well. I’d rather see that than the less exciting aerial to back tuck she’s doing now. But she completed her difficult turn sequence, hit her standing Arabian, and is starting to look more and more like the Mustafina of 2010. I wouldn’t mind seeing her keep this double tuck dismount rather than going back to the triple full, which was always sloppy and tended to land awkwardly.
I’ll post more on the other Russians who competed in this meet and give a summary of the current Olympic outlook for this team!