Stoi favourite Anna Pavlova has had an interesting last few months of 2010. After a Beijing that was equal parts tragic, comic and genius, she suffered a serious injury at the end of 08, ankle I think it was. Many of us assumed that would be the end of her career, and consoled ourselves with the thought that we’d always have this.
But then, she reappeared in 2010, in a comeback sufficiently legitimate for her to be named to the final 8 in worlds team selection. I for one had not seen that coming.
The non-Russian gymternet were in the dark about how she was looking in around August-September, because videos from the Russian Cup were kept somewhat under wraps, and Russian domestic scoring is not always decipherable. In Russian Cup prelims, Anna was top on beam and third on vault. Interesting result that got the gymternet buzzing, especially bearing in mind Russian weakness on beam.
The other results however were confusing: she was 3rd on vault again in AA but only joint 3rd on beam, and in the beam final she finished only 6th. So this was all inconclusive, especially without being able to see what she actually did. And although videos have slowly seeped out post worlds, presumably once the secrecy had done its work, I don’t think there’ve been any of her so far.
What did seep out though, were pictures of Anna with a heavily strapped knee. A few gymternet posters with Russian connections suggested that she was probably done at this point and was continuing to compete and be named to the worlds squad simply for funding reasons. So although she’d posted scores suggesting she would be helpful on her 2 events, leaving Anna out of the worlds team was not really a controversial decision.
Sadly I concurred, and with a heavy heart thought that her final big performance would be yet again coming on the wrong end of a 50/50 decision, this time in the Olympic beam final.
But but but… then Voronin came. I wasn’t as convinced by the beam set Bronwyn posted earlier, but here Anna is in EFs, and she looks fucking good doesn’t she? Second highest beam scorer in the AA, not sure about the EF.
So the big question is, has she got any chance of making it back to a major team?
On the one hand, Russia did well enough without her this year, and there are a glut of talented new seniors for 2011 and 2012. They’re a world and European champion team, they’ve got Komova on the way and they’re going to have to drop someone because of the 5 person team size in 2012. Plus, that knee is still strapped.
On the other hand, Russia used a not particularly world beating one eventer on each of Anna’s events in worlds TFs this year. Kurbatova on vault:
And Semenova on beam:
Don’t get me wrong, they both did their jobs fine, and these were key routines. Kurbatova had to get the team off to a solid start, and Semenova to right the ship after bars. Both of these athletes have won individual European titles on their events, so I’m not saying they’re crap. They just looked like they were winding down. They’re ripe for replacing. I suspect both will be out next year.
It’s telling that Kurbatova was bounced from the vault final despite being reigning European champion. It’s also telling that Anna’s Voronin beam sets are arguably better than Semenova’s from worlds.
Assuming Kurbatova and Semenova go the way I think they’re going, there’ll be two spare spots up for grabs. Obviously Komova is going to take one of their spare spots. But there’s still another one left. And Afanasyeva is only a one eventer after all (sorry Bronners). There might be three available. I don’t know that Russia have three new seniors that are a shoo in for worlds.
So, let’s throw it open to the floor. Is there any chance of seeing Pavlova on a major team again?
Posted by Clara