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Aliya Mustafina on ... Everything

Queen Elizabeth of Rewriting Russian Gymnastics has posted a translation of a recent interview with the glorious Aliya Mustafina.

She talks about everything from her experiences at worlds, winning the beam gold medal in Antwerp to losing Alexandrov as a coach. I've posted some of the highlights here. It gives great insight into what her life is like and her thoughts on winning the gold medal.

She talks about what her plans are for her post gymnastics life. She says she has the option to become a coach, but isn't sure she'd be successful because she "loves children too much" to be what they need.  Surprising, because she's a bright girl and could really do anything she wants.

Read more of Aliya's thoughts after the cut.

On winning the beam gold medal in Antwerp:

" It was a miracle. In Antwerp, I had a fairly simple exercise, into which I had not added any new moves. And I am well aware that it is unlikely that such luck will ever happen again. So after the Championships I first started working increasing the complexity of the balance beam. Just then suddenly things became very hard."

Aliya discussed her knee injury she sustained in 2011 at the European Championships. She stated that after Worlds in 2013 she wanted to increase difficulty, but her knee made it incredibly hard.

"(A)fter the Games in London I was really never able to relax. And on top of that fatigue there were too many competitions. I even thought about finishing my career and doing something different. In the end I found a compromise with the coaches: a month and a half of rest.

When I returned to the gym, I tried to at least restore my previous combinations. It almost happened, but I had a very painful leg, the same one on which I had an operation in 2011.  And it was a strange problem: after each difficulty I had to wait a few minutes for the joint to regain mobility. That is, I couldn't really tumble. And beam dismounts turned into infernal torment."

The coaching situation. Since Alexandrov left, she's been coached by Raisa Ganina, but she is mostly a choreographer and can really only help her with beam and floor. For bars and vault, she said she hasn't been able to find someone to replace Alexandrov in those areas. She's still working with Ganina for the time being since it would take away time from training that she doesn't have.

She's working with Ganina on her beam, saying she's adding new moves.

On Bars and Yao Jinnan winning the uneven bars gold in Nanning:

"She doesn't do anything special.  In China by tradition the gymnasts perform well on the uneven bars.  [She goes on to explain that the Chinese specialise in "turntables"[pirouettes], while the Russian specialism is transitions from the bottom to the top bar.]

- Why transitions?

- We call this the Shaposhnikova flight.  Since London the connections between the elements have  been devalued. Other moves [the "turntables"] have increased in value.  The only gymnasts who weren't hurt by this were the Americans.  Sometimes there is a feeling that the rules were purposely made for them.  In London I had a D value of around seven, along with Beth Tweddle, a Chinese gymnast, and Vika Komova, while the American women had around six.  Now their D values have remained at about the same, while the rest of us have fallen to their level.

It is realistic to get close to Yao Ziyi's difficulty, I just need to work on it. I need to focus on the uneven bars because on beam anything can happen."

On how her role has changed since winning in the Olympics:

"I have more responsibility. People who watch gymnastics, absolutely do not care about how many medals we have.   It is just about the impression you make on the podium.  At first I was annoyed by this sense of responsibility, but now I don't think about it at all.  I just realize that I have two years left to serve, to make sure I have no regrets."

Read More at Rewriting Russian Gymnastics


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