Out of all the events, the bars is definitely one of my favorite.
Perhaps this is because I love the idea that this makes human beings fly, overcoming the laws of gravity. That's why I liked it as a kid. Perhaps also why I still love it as an adult. When I watch the bars, the kid in me has the urge to find a set of bars and swing on them. Another reason I love the bars is it requires such precision and lightness.
This routine is Aliya Mustafina's gold medal winning bar routine from London. This is one of my favorite routines from London because it not only has all of the qualities I mentioned above, but it's really a true testament of character. A year and a half prior to London, Aliya busted her knee at the Euros on the vault.
Knee injuries are devastating to everyone, but especially to gymnasts. Most gymnastics events require the athletes to put a lot of stress on their joints either pounding on them from landing and launching yourself in tumbling. It's just hard to do things like that when you're worried about when your knee will give out.
Aliya Mustafina wasn't going to let anyone come in the way of her Olympic dreams. She still trained, even working around her knee and training on bars and letting her knee heal.
When her knee could withstand the pressure, she re-implemented a full training schedule. She returned to competition at the 2012 Euros and helped Russia win a silver medal behind Romania. She still seemed like she wasn't quite back. Her floor exercise seemed sloppy and skittish. Clearly, nervous, she took deep, shaky breaths before performing. She seemed to have it back on the bars and the vault. But her demeanor was still out of character for the fierce diva who won the World Championship two years ago. Many had doubts that she could even perform in London.
Despite the naysayers, she went on to win a bronze medal in the all-around, and then winning a gold medal on the uneven bars and another bronze on the floor in addition to helping Russia score a silver in the team competition.
This is her gold medal winning routine from the uneven bars event final. She nails her routine and sticks her original dismount and afterwards, she's so happy she can't contain herself. She walks off the podium grinning from ear to ear. A far cry from the Mariah Carey diva wannabe who pranced on to the floor in Rotterdam 2010.