A while back I posted a blog entitled “Russia’s Ten Little Indians,” highlighting the ten female gymnasts I consider to be in contention for this summer’s Olympic team:
Aliya Mustafina: 2010 world all-around champion
Viktoria Komova: 2011 world all-around silver medalist
Ksenia Afanasyeva: 2010 world floor champion and 2008 Olympian
Anna Dementieva: 2011 European all-around champion
Anastasia Grishina: 2011 Russian junior champion
Anastasia Sidorova: 2011 Russian Junior silver medalist
Yulia Belokobylskaya: 2011 world team member
Yulia Inshina: 2011 world beam finalist
Tatiana Nabieva: 2010 and 2011 world team member
Maria Paseka: 2011 world team alternate
This weekend, we got a glimpse of 9 out of these 10 gymnasts (all but Maria Paseka) at the Moscow Championships.
The all-around results are a bit difficult to interpret since we have no scores to go with them and haven’t seen all routines…plus only 6 of the 11 gymnasts below competed all four events.
2012 Moscow Championships All-Around Results
1. Yulia Belokobylskaya
2. Anna Dementieva
3. Kristina Goryunova
4. Yulia Inshina
5. Anastasia Sidorova
6. Anna Rodionova
7. Ksenia Afanasyeva (V, UB, FX only)
8. Tatiana Nabieva (V, UB, BB only)
9. Viktoria Komova (UB and BB only)
10. Anastashia Grishina (V and UB only)
11. Aliya Mustafina (UB only)
It’s important to note that Anastasia Grishina is upgrading:
Anastasia Grishina Bars 2012 Moscow Championships
The toe-on Shaposhnikova-half and double-double are new. I’d put her as definitely one of Russia’s top three bar workers (along with Mustafina and Komova), and still a very serious contender for the Olympic team. A bars lineup with those three would be absolutely stunning.
Anastasia Grishina Vault 2012 Moscow Championships
She fell on this vault here, but she can obviously make this because she overrotated. Power was the one area where Grishina lagged behind Mustafina and Komova, and it appears she is catching up in this department. I could envision a healthy, consistent Grishina potentially challenging for an all-around spot in London.
Viktoria Komova Bars 2012 Moscow Championships
Nearly a carbon copy of the routine we’ve been seeing from her since she won the world bars title in Tokyo…beautiful lines, solid handstands, and a mysterious and out-of-place half turn at the end of the routine.
Viktoria Komova Beam 2012 Moscow Championships
Still not as crisp as she’s capable of, with some tentative connections and those same unpredictable major wobbles. But the Patterson dismount is brand new and quite impressive…this will yield her three extra tenths over the double tuck (G instead of a D). Note she left out the double turn, which has been a bit inconsistent as of late.
Aliya Mustafina Bars 2012 Moscow Championships
This was her second routine done in this meet (she fell on her first), and I showed this one because of the incredible new combination of pak salto to immediate Stalder-Shaposhnikova-half. What a sequence! She left out the Tcatchev (which was never much to brag about), but you can see she has put back in her trademark 1 ½ twisting double back. She could very easily turn this into a double-double, although she always lands this quite well and it gives her some serious style points.
Tatiana Nabieva Bars 2012 Moscow Championships
Strong routine from Tatiana here (it looks like she did a stalder-full twice on the low bar…or are my eyes playing tricks on me?). Her Olympic chances are still quite murky. I personally think she’s going to need to put her Amanar on vault back in if she wants to have a chance at making this team, as that is one of the key pieces that Russia is currently missing. Mustafina, Komova, and Grishina are more likely candidates for bars, and Dementieva is a solid backup. Nabieva is not usable on beam or floor…she has simply been a mess on these two events over the last two years (she had a disastrous beam routine here as well).
Anna Dementieva Beam 2012 Moscow Championships
Despite the two falls, Dementieva has a new combination of Aerial to back layout and still has her trademark crisp and sharp style. She’s on the bubble of making this team, and it’s difficult to predict right now. I could see her anywhere from being an Olympic all-around medal contender to not even making the squad. Consistency this year will be absolutely key – on bars, beam, and floor.
Ksenia Afanasyeva Floor 2012 Moscow Championships
Even when she’s a bit off, I love watching this gymnast. I feel she’s in a similar boat as Dementieva, in that she could potentially be an all-around player or could end up left home entirely. She’s certainly most useful to the Russians on floor, and given her recent world title, newfound confidence, and simply brilliant presence on this event, I still see her as a serious contender for this team.
Yulia Belokobylskaya Floor 2012 Moscow Championships
She may be in competition with Afanasyeva as a potential floor specialist on this Olympic team. This wasn’t Belokobylskaya’s best, but she showed some new elegant choreography and pretty solid tumbling. She is a solid all-arounder, but floor is where she would likely be used if she gets the call for London this summer.
Anastasia Sidorova Floor 2012 Moscow Championships
This was quite a strong routine for this first-year senior whom many have touted as one of the future stars of Russia, and a dark horse contender for this summer’s Olympic squad. Despite the out of bounds on the 2 ½ twist, she showed great power, high level tumbling, and strong overall presentation. Her beam is potentially great as well, but she fell twice here in this meet. Just like Afanasyeva and Belokobylskaya, she may be in contention for a spot as at least a floor specialist, but right now she has a lot more to prove in terms of consistency.
Yulia Inshina Beam 2012 Moscow Championships
Right now I still have a hard time seeing this gymnast make the team, although making the world beam finals in Tokyo was quite an accomplishment. Her floor is decent as well, but overall I don’t feel she has enough of a standout event to be one of the very top contenders. But you never know – stranger things have happened…in fact they usually do.
Overall, not much changed with regards to the Olympic chances of these Russian contenders, other than perhaps Anastasia Grishina perhaps earning some points in her corner with her upgrades. All nine of the above gymnasts appear to be healthy, and although none are Olympic ready yet, all seem to be gearing up for the rigorous selection process ahead. This year’s Russian Olympic battle will be one of the most intriguing ones we’ve seen in years.