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Gymnast Profiles: Anastasia Grishina

For this edition of Gymnast Profiles, I am featuring Anastasia Grishina. Olympic Team Silver Medalist and 2013 All-Around Bronze Medalist at the European Championships.

Vital Statistics:
Full Name:Anastasia Nikolayevna Grishina
Date of Birth: January 17, 1996
Age: 17
Height: 146 Centimeters, 4'9"
Hometown: Moscow, Russia
Current Residence: Moscow, Russia
Club: CSKA Moscow
Current Coaches: Victor and Irina Razumovsky
Parents: Nikolai Grishin and Galina Grishina

Anastasia, also known as Nastia, is one of Russia's up and coming gymnasts. In her first year as a senior, she was a part of the silver medal winning teams at the 2012 European Championships and the Olympic Games in London. 

Anastasia was born in Moscow, Russia to Nikolai and Galina Grishina. The couple already had three sons, Vadim, Yuri and Evgeniy. Little Anastasia began gymnastics at the age of seven. Her mother, Galina said that they were going to have her do figure skating, but got a little distracted on the way to sign the first grader for lessons.


 [W]e met a gymnastics coach who coached boys and he lured us into the gym. He said: “You’re already too old for figure skating. Try gymnastics instead”. Nastia was almost seven then and in the first grade. And how do coaches usually introduce kids to gymnastics? They take them to the trampoline. She liked it right away. And that’s how she stayed there. {1}
After a few months of training, Anastasia was already showing potential and was developing her repertoire of skills. As young Anastasia became more involved with the sport, her mom and dad took turns taking her to where she needed to go.

In 2010, Anastasia made her international debut as a junior at the European Championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom. She made her entrance making the world take notice of her, scoring second in the all-around. She brought home two gold medals for the uneven bars and the floor exercise. The world would have to wait for another glimpse of the dynamic Anastasia. She took of competing the rest of the year to nurse a back injury. At the same time, she finished her ninth grade year with top marks.

Anastasia returned to competition the following March at the City of Jesolo Cup in Italy where she placed fifth in the all-around. Later, Anastasia added the title of junior national champion, Russian Championships in Penza. She won another all-around competition at the Zakharova Cup in the Ukraine.

In January of 2012, Anastasia had her sweet sixteenth birthday and that meant she was now a senior elite gymnast. She started off the year by competing at the London Test Event. She placed tenth in the all-around and seventh on the vault and took the top spot on the uneven bars.  Then Russian Head Coach Alexander Alexandrov spoke highly of Anastasia before the competition.

"Grishina is a great young talent coming up. She's a very interesting gymnast, very beautiful. She's light, she's flexible, she can do good difficulty. It just so happens she's missed a lot of competition lately. But I have high hopes for Grishina and I'm looking forward to seeing how she performs on the podium." {2}
In March, Anastasia attended her first Russian Championships as a senior and an Olympic hopeful. She added an all-around bronze medal, an uneven bars bronze, a silver for beam and vault and a gold for floor exercise. In April, Anastasia was selected for the European team going to Brussels, Belgium. The Russian's took home the gold medal while the Romanians took home the gold. Individually, Anastasia took home a silver medal on the uneven bars. She told International Gymnast that success for Russia in London would mean upgrading their vaulting abilities.

"As for the mood of the team, we're sorry that it was a little insufficient to reach first place in Brussels," she said. So we need to polish our programs for victory in London. To win with the team, we will have to increase our difficulty on vault. My vault in Brussels wasn’t competitive because of its low start value.” {3}
Anastasia said also she personally would need to make improvements to achieve the coveted London bling.

"I would like to make my vault more difficult, and increase my difficulty on bars a little," said Grishina, who placed second on uneven bars, fourth on balance beam and fifth on vault in Brussels. "I want to polish my choreography on floor, so my turns will be more stable." {4}
In London, Anastasia placed twelfth in the all-around in the qualification round. Unfortunately, she became a member of "two-per-country-rule-sucks club" (an embellishment on my part) and didn't advance to the finals. During the team final, Anastasia contributed a solid 14.7 on the uneven bars. But a mistake on the floor exercise left Anastasia with a 12.466. Russia took home the silver medal with a 178.530 to the United States' 183.596.

Following the London Olympics, the Russian Gymnastics Federation coaches staged the now infamous coup that that left head coach Alexander Alexandrov on the unemployment line, and  uneven bars coach Evgeny Grebyonkin with a nice promotion. Anastasia's London performance was brought up in the reasons why the other coaches were upset with Alexandrov. Anastasia herself started the new year off training with new coaches Victor and Irina Razumovsky.

At the Russian Championships, Anastasia placed second in the all-around and took home gold medals for the balance beam and uneven bars.

Springtime in Moscow meant rooting for the Russians as the home team. Anastasia, along with three of her London teammates (Aliya Mustafiana, Ksenia Afanasyeva and Maria Paseka) were selected to compete. A new and improved Anastasia made her debut. A year older, a new blond hair do and a new attitude. The new confident Anastasia qualified to the all-around finals in third place ahead of teammates Aliya Mustafina and Ksenia Afanasyeva. Anastasia took home the bronze in the all-around and another bronze on the balance beam.

While some have criticized Anastasia for a lack of difficulty in her routines. She's gained plenty of fans with her beautiful, graceful artistic style. Anastasia cited her new coaches for her new-found confidence at the Euros this year.


  
I have a new coach from the end of October, and feel more confident. The Razumovskys had come back from Japan.  You need a certain time to adapt to another coach.  We spend a lot of time together. It’s painful to go to another coach, but sometimes you have to do it.{5}
When Anastasia is not competing or training gymnastics, she is spending time with her family or doing her school work.

Anastasia has a close relationship with her mother, whom she said also serves as her agent and goes with her to television and radio interviews. Galina said although the Round Lake facility is an excellent place and provides everything her daughter might need, a trip home once and a while is just the boost Anastasia needs.

It’s easier for those who live in Moscow. We try to get home at least a day every once in a while from Round Lake.We go shopping or treat ourselves to sushi on a week-end. Maybe you’ll see something funny out the window of the car when you are driving and can have a good laugh. But home is home.{6}
Nastia is an emotional person. So we always try to get her away when we have a chance. So she can relax at home, hang out with her brothers or play with her cat, Barsik. We bought him outside the metro for 5 roubles and he turned out really handsome! When Nastia visits, you can’t shoo him away, he might bite! She wants a dog, too, but what can we do with a dog if we’re never home? Maybe after the Olympics.{7}
 What lies ahead for the seventeen-year-old Anastasia? She wants to represent Russia in Rio De Janeiro in 2016. After that, she said she wants to pursue sports journalism and promote gymnastics.

Anastasia, Floor Exercise, AA Final, Moscow European Championships, April 2013



Anastasia, Uneven Bars, AA Final, Moscow European Championships, April 2013
Anastasia, Balance Beam, Event Final, Moscow European Championships, April 2013








Sources:
Grishina Aims to Please At London Olympics 3;4
RRG: Anastasia Grishina : Lupita translates the Moscow Echo radio interview 5
The Couch Gymnast: Bringing Up Baby Anastasia Grishina 1,6,7
Alexandrov: Mustafina's 2012 Comeback "A Work In Progress" 2
Anastasia Grishina Wikipedia




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