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Favorite Routines: Tatiana Nabieva, Uneven Bars University Games

I love seeing gymnasts who improve with age.

I love it especially because since the days of Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci, this has been a sport that is being viewed as dominated by little girls. That's not necessarily true. The FIG's technical report from the last Olympics said that the average age of Olympic gymnasts was over twenty years old. That means that the athletes representing their countries for the most part, were actually women and not little girls. Much like a fine wine, there are certain things that get better with age.

18-year-old Tatiana Nabieva of Russia is a perfect example.
She was a part of the gold medal winning team at the World Championships in 2010 where Aliya Mustafina stole the world's attention by winning the all-around title. Tatiana struggled with injuries but managed to come back to the world championships in Tokyo the next year and landed a silver medal in the uneven bars event final behind Viktoria Komova.  She didn't make the 2012 Olympic team because, at the time, she had been recovering from a hamstring injury and was unable to produce that Amanar vault that everyone and their dog was doing. She produced a clean double twisting yurchenko, but it wasn't enough to keep up with the Joneses or in this case, the Americans. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, had Tatiana been named to the team, she could have produced a clean vault and been able to keep calm under that enormous pressure.

Tatiana kept her nose the the grindstone as they say and kept training and getting stronger. Her efforts paid off when she was named to the University Summer Games team. She proved herself a valuable asset to the team, showing strong routines on the uneven bars and vault. Tatiana qualified second to the uneven bars event final and made it a repeat performance when she scored a silver medal behind Aliya Mustafina on the day of the event finals with a 14.525. Tatiana looked better than ever, showing great skills, and increased confidence and grace of a mature woman.

Here's hoping she'll be on the team next month in Belgium. Maybe by then she'll have decided to put back her laid out Tkatchev in her routine.

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