Most of the world thought we had finally lost her earlier this year when she officially announced her retirement.  Then she ended up in the final Russian training squad for the world championships, and apparently has become reinspired to continue the sport.  One of the most beloved gymnasts of the last decade, Pavlova has perhaps become most famous for how under-accomplished and underscored she has been on the international stage.

Anna Pavlova Beam 2010 Voronin Cup

Still with a wrapped knee, this beam routine from Pavlova is quite impressive.  We’ve seen more difficulty from her in the past, but her acrobatic skills in particular have come a long way since she first reemerged from her knee injury earlier this year.  Very solid, very confident, and best of all, an encouraging dismount.

Anna Pavlova Bars 2010 Voronin Cup

Too bad we miss the very beginning of this routine, because it almost looks like she may have connected the Pak salto out of something…maybe her Yaeger?  Unfortunately she still can’t do a toe-on full to a handstand, and this is one area where I really haven’t seen much progress from her over the past six years.  With Nabieva, Mustafina, and now Komova and Grishina coming up, I doubt Pavlova will ever be a factor for Russia on bars again.  Her cards will have to be played on vault, beam, and floor if she ever hopes to make another major team for the now world champion Russian squad. And even if she plays them well, it’s going to be tough…but for the time being, we can enjoy watching her progress!

Anna Pavlova Vault 2010 Voronin Cup

I still find it a bit bizarre that she can a DTY just fine but still isn’t ready to do a real bars dismount?  Maybe there’s some endurance issue with her on bars still, but it’s a bit strange because her double layout has always been so easy for her.  Not sure what’s going on with that simple layout she’s done all year.  Her vault isn’t super powerful, but she’ll always be pretty solid here.

And for a special treat, another past Russian veteran is still around as well!

Yulia Lozechko Beam 2010 Voronin Cup

Okay, not nearly what she used to look like on this event, but cool to see her out there.  Lozhechko was probably considered by many to be a shoo-in for the Russian team for a couple of years, until some rather controversial conflicts arose between her and the Russian coaching staff in 2007 and 2008.  When she’s at her best on this event, she is absolutely exquisite…a very “Khorkina-like” uncanny sense of balance.

Finally, our two Russian stars performed on beam and floor as well:

Aliya Mustafina Beam 2010 Voronin Cup

What a shock!  Still some incredible skills…we’ll allow her a couple of mistakes here and there.  I do love her new combinations.

Aliya Mustafina Floor 2010 Voronin Cup

Probably the only gymnast in the world who can consistently put up a world class floor routine.  Floor is an event that has struggled someone on the women’s side in the past couple of years, but she is absolutely refreshing to watch…always hits her tumbling passes, always beautiful dance and presentation.

Tatiana Nabieva Beam 2010 Voronin Cup

I’m not sure what happened at the beginning of this routine because I didn’t see her in the top three (and third was only about a 13.0).  But the rest of this routine is about the best I’ve ever seen her do.

Tatiana Nabieva Floor 2010 Voronin Cup

This is one event where Nabieva should probably take some serious notes from her world champion teammate.  While Mustafina is mesmerizing on floor, Nabieva always seems to deliver a “lazy” routine on this event.  She did land her tumbling passes much better here than she typically does, but the expression in the dance just isn’t ther.  Definitely an area where she needs a lot of work over the next year and a half.