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Gymnast Profiles: Anna Pavolva

Welcome! This week's Gymnast Profile is former Olympian, Russian gymnast, Anna Pavlova.

Anna Pavlova
Vital Statistics
Date of Birth: September 6, 1987
Current Age: 25
Hometown: Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Russia
Height: 5' (152 cm)
Coaches: Leonid Arkaev and Nataliya Pavlova
Club: Dynamo
Known For: Balletic Style and Clean Technique
Current Occupation: Student at the State University of Physical Culture in St. Petersburg

Two-time Olympian, Anna Pavlova is definitely a recognizable name in gymnastics. She's often synonymous with unique and difficult skills and combinations. In the grand tradition of Russian gymnastics, Anna is known for her classic balletic style and clean technique.

 Like Russian-American transplant, Nastia Liukin, Anna comes from a gymnastics family. Her mother, Nataliya Evgeyevna Pavlova and her father Anatoly Borisovich Pavlov are both former gymnasts, and are gymnastics coaches. Anna's mother is actually her personal coach. In addition to her balletic gymnastics style, she also shares a name with a famous Russian Ballerina. However, she was not named for the ballerina. Rather, her parents named her with a combination of the first two letters of each of their names (ANatoly, NAtaliya). (Per Anna Pavlova: The Official Website)

The choice of my name is not connected with the ballerina. My parents couldn`t choose any name for me for quite a Thlong time. Then they finally agreed on one. Later my godfather decoded my name to me (he is a philologist). I like this version very much! My parents` names are ANatoliy and NAtalia (AN+NA). (Anna Pavolva: The Official Website Exclusive Interview)

Anna first came onto the international gymnastics scene in 2001. She didn't compete in the World Championships that year, but she was allowed to compete in the Goodwill Games, where she scored a silver medal for the balance beam. 

In 2003, Anna made her official debut as a senior elite gymnast at the World Championships. A disappointing showing for Anna, the Russian team placed sixth in the team final. Anna herself qualified for the uneven bars final but didn't place.

In 2004, she was selected for the Russian Olympic Gymnastics team for the Olympics in Athens. It's been said many times that Athens was the peak for Anna. The team scored the bronze medal after fighting for it in the team competition. Anna qualified for the all-around, but just barely missed getting the bronze medal. Chinese gymnast, Zhang Nan won the gold by 0.025. She came back in the event finals and won the bronze medal for the vault.

At 20, Anna became a second-time Olympian when she was selected for the Russian Olympic team once more. Beijing was not a success for Anna. Russia finished fourth in the team. Anna herself qualified for the all-around competition, vault, beam and floor finals. Her luck didn't get much better. After a miscue on the vault, she went before the green light and got a 0. Still shaken from the vault, the floor didn't go much better. On the balance beam, she was slighted out of the bronze by 0.05.

Since 2008, she's had minor successes in gymnastics, but hasn't been in a major international competition in a while. In November 2008 at the World Cup, she injured her knee on a beam dismount and tore two ligaments that had to be surgically reattached. She resumed training in August 2009 and won some competitions on the local level. Later, she was scheduled to appear at a major competition, but it was scheduled a few days after her father died and had to withdraw from the competition.

Anna continues to train and compete in gymnastics. She recently competed at the Diyatin Cup where she received gold in the team competition and on the balance beam and silver on the vault and floor. Anna will next compete in the Russian Championships in March, 2013.

Medal Record (per Wikipedia):
Olympic Games
Bronze 2004 Athens       Team
Bronze 2004 Athens       Vault
World Championships
Bronze 2006 Aarhus        Team
World Cup Final
Bronze 2004 Birmingham Vault
European Championships
Silver 2004 Amsterdam Vault
Silver 2005 Debrecen      All-Around
Silver 2005 Debrecen        Vault
Silver        2008 Clermont         Team
Bronze 2004 Amsterdam Team
Bronze 2005 Debrecen         Balance Beam

Till next time, kids!

Gymnast Profiles: Ksenia Afanaseyva

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