Dementieva- team leader?

There’s been a lot written, some of it here, about Dementieva not being quite down with the rest of the Russian team.  Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, but it’s fair to say that she’s been somewhat in the shadow of the bigger personalities and closer friends on the team.

Bronwyn, can you illustrate this with some well chosen footage please? I can’t remember which competitions.

Whatever else there is to be said about Komova and Mustafina’s untimely and worrying injuries, they pushed Dementieva into the spotlight. She had an excellent Euros.

Here she is giving a lovely performance on floor in the AA, although I found the shit eating grin a bit distracting.

Certainly she was in a brilliant position in the AA, but plenty of Russians would’ve found a way to pull off  a 0 on vault. Pavlova, Kramarenko, Komova, I’m looking at you. This FTY is crap, but the point is that she did what was required, under pressure.

I wouldn’t necessarily have bet on that, would you?

Truth is, she was excellent at Euros. She was the outstanding gymnast of the competition. Fate threw her an opportunity to step out of her more feted teammates shadows, and she took it. She hit every routine. Even in EFs, when she had only long shots at bronze on bars and floor, she still looked good.

Much better than Tweddle and Csillag’s corpse impersonations, no?

Now she did quite well in Rotterdam. But not that well. She’s not the only one who fell in TFs, but the trouble started on her watch.

And she fucked up her big chance of an individual medal, in beam finals.

Mustafina fell too of course, but she has to be allowed one fall out of 18 exercises. Beam was the only event in which Russia didn’t medal at worlds, and Anna has to take some responsibility for that.

So the improvement in the space of a few months has been great. Anna learned how to take centre stage. Which is just as well, considering Russia might need her to stay there for a while.4

Mustafina is virtually certain to be out of worlds, even for bars. She’s having ACL surgery and the recovery period is much longer than 6 months. It would be beyond moronic of her to even try and make Tokyo, or wherever they end up holding it.

And Komova is uncertain too. We haven’t heard much about her since Russia announced she wasn’t going to Euros, but she didn’t look that great at Russian nationals in February.

I would be surprised if we don’t see her at all at worlds, but who knows, maybe injury will prevent her from being as dominant as we’d thought. Either way, there’ll be a Mustafina shaped hole in the team, and Komova is a new senior. That means there are four TF routines up for grabs. Clearly Anna will not be challenging for the vault lineup any time soon, but she may well end up doing more routines than we’d have anticipated this time four months ago. Perhaps she’ll even be the MVP.

Interesting opportunity, no?



12 responses to “Dementieva- team leader?

  • Denny

    The last time i saw Kurbatova and Afanasyeva and sometimes Semenova was in the pictures they posted of themselves all hanging out, in the real world 🙂 It sure doesn’t seem as though they look to keen on training. I heard Afanasyeva was injured, in December, so who knows? This dissapoints me since I want to see her give one last shot at some personal glory. And to be blatantly honest the unfortunate incident that has happened to Mustafina has provided an opportunity for her.
    And I thought Demy and ‘4Loko'(S. Tampson cred.) hanging out was awesome. It was exciting really to see that Anna had a friend who would stay by her side and motivate her rather then brush her aside like so many of her teammates are quick to do. Hopefully it continues! 😀

  • Stoi!

    When’s the last time we saw Kurbatova, Semenova, Afanasyeva and Myzdrikova? The last time I saw Ekaterina or Anna was at Glasgow. Not sure about the rest. I don’t even know who’s still training.

    On the subject of team dynamics, anyone notice that Dementieva and Belokobylskaya were very close and supprtive in the Euros floor final?

    • betweentheolympics

      Kurbatova has been competing with B team gymnasts a bit this year. She’s only been doing yurchenko fulls on vault. I haven’t seen her bars, but a 10.55 at the Russian Championships does not sound like something that would be TF worthy by the end of the year. Of course, judging by her scores she was a mess at the Russian Cup last year and still made the worlds team and contributed a score.

    • Stoi!

      Kurbatova was at Jesolo – and looking umm…not good.

  • Stoi!

    Interesting that you identify Kurbatova and Semenova as potentially taking the spare spot rather than Afanasyeva, D. I had been thinking that if one of Rotterdam team would benefit, it would probably be Afanasyeva. But that was only based on how they all looked in Rotterdam- Ksenia A was a potential world champion on her event, the other two were nothing special.

    Gem, I think Pavlova would be an excellent fit in the team you mention. I’d much rather see her on vault than Belokobylskaya and on beam than Nabieva. But of course they seem to be allergic to the idea of giving her any more big assignments. It’s a shame, she could’ve easily taken silver on beam and gold on vault at Euros. I realise they went in with those events covered, but still.

    • D

      I think you may have misunderstood me. Sorry if I was unclear. I assumed this year’s team would be the same as last year’s with Komova and a new senior replacing Kurbatova and Semenova as they were fairly useless, Kurbatova more so. The new senior, most likely Paseka, would primarily be used for vault as Dementyeva is useless there and Afanasyeva has form issues. She would take on Kurbatova’s role from last year.

      This was all irrelevant as a team with Mustafina and Komova wouldn’t be worrying about their prelim vaults. 2/3 of their TF routines could potentially have been filled by 1/3 of their team. That leaves 4 routines to be done by the other 4 girls which is amazing. Of course Mustafina could be rested from BB and Komova from FX if they really wanted to.

      With Mustafina out Komova is no longer replacing a filler gymnast like Semenova or Kurbatova. She’s replacing their star. Luckily Komova = Mustafina in scoring potential. This leaves 2 spots open for either Semenova, Kurbatova or the new seniors. I don’t think they’ll take both Belokobylskaya and Paseka as they have similar strengths. Unless there’s another girl with a decent bars set out there I can see the team being Komova,Dementyeva,Nabieva,Afanasyeva and 2 of Semenova,Kurbatova,Paseka and Belokobylskaya.

      Obviously Pavs would be a great choice for the BB and VT spot but the I don’t think she was even named to the national team which doesn’t augur well for her.

      The depth in Russia next year is going to be insane. While Dementyeva is looking likely to compete UB/BB/FX in TFs this year she’ll be lucky to make the team next year as a BB specialist. If it was the 80s Grishina and Sidorova would be 17 by now and everything would be fine.

      • Stoi!

        I think Dementyeva will take the last spot for London. Mustafina, Komova, Grishina, Sidorova, and Dementyeva, who will most likely just be used in prelims – she’ll be lucky to even compete beam in team finals.

        This is all, of course, dependent on Mustafina. And the health and developement of everybody else.


  • D

    Dementyeva could very well be the Russian MVP if Komova isn’t on the team or can only do bars. That being said she’ll never be the leader. The other team members would have to acknowledge her existence for that to happen.

    Leadership will probably fall on Afanasyeva’s shoulders as I don’t think the Russian coaches are even considering Pavs for team selection ever again. Nabieva is too much of a wreck to be a leader, what with her being so ‘coniving’ and all.

    Mustafina’s injury throws a bone to either Kurbatova or Semenova who were both looking like they should be booking a one way ticket to Uzbekistan.

    I do feel sorry for Dementyeva. She strikes me as the overly eager annoying new kid who just wants to be friends with everyone but can’t be because they’re socially awkward. That coupled with the fact that Musty-Nabs and the Ksenias seem to be in commited monogamous friendships with each other and that she is a threat to that was always going to make it rough.

    • Stoi!

      Great post, D.

      I have a soft spot for Afanasyeva, but she’s too much of a headcase to be a leader imo. But she certainly has the experience. Prior to Aliya’s injury, I was wondering if she had finally exhausted all of her chances, but they have limited choices now that this has happened. So she should probably pull through and make another team.

      It’s amazing how much the makeup of a team can change because of the absence of 1 gymnast.

      Mustafina out is almost like losing 2 gymnasts – one that posts huge scores, and one that keeps her teammates under control.


  • LyudaS

    Dementyeva already competed three events in Rotterdam. She may not be a leader in terms of personality (always seems in her own world) but her gymnastics speaks for itself. Also, nice to see her hanging out with Belokobylskaya during Euro floor finals!

  • gem

    I started thinking about this alot when I read that Alexandrov said that Dementieva was to be the new ‘leader’ of the russian team.

    Dementieva. Does she have the have the charisma/strength to lead a team? Not yet. But from what I saw at Euros, she seems more mature, more confident and expressive, more consistent. By next year, when it truly matters, who knows? I do think she can cope with being the ‘most important’ gymnast though. She’s got to be doing AA at worlds and 3 TF routines. Her (new-found) consistency and reputation as more than a pretty gymnast will shove her into the spotlight more and I do think she’ll step up to that. She might not win everything but she’ll be the one posting the sold scores for the team. I think the other Russians have realised shes vital to the team now, and while they might not like her as such, she definitely has their respect. She’s got that big title to her name now, and it can only go about doing more wonders. I expect to see her OTT smile a million times at worlds.

    Now I want to say that I really hope Komova is at least fit enough to go to worlds. If Vika is fit, she can hopefully do everything, similar to Aliya last year. (I don’t think we should expect similar results to Aliya though)

    Nabieva is the other lock for worlds, her bars and vault are enough to get her a spot. (I also think that her beam is not that awful and she could do it if they needed her to) Nabs has also grown up a lot since last year and I think they’ll need her to support the others, especially since Vika is a new senior and Dementieva is still on the quiet side.

    They should also take Belokobylskaya after her Euros performance. I was surprised by her floor and attitude, as well as her AA. She would make the AA final at worlds, if Komova wasn’t up to it, and anything can happen from there. Its just vault. Can she do a DTY? More chance of her doing one than Dementieva. That might have to be enough.

    FX: Dementieva, Komova, Belokobylskaya
    BB: Dementieva, Komova, Nabieva (although Belokobylskaya could also do it)
    UB: Dementieva, Komova, Nabieva
    VT: Komova, Nabieva, i suppose Belokobylskaya

    They should take Afanasyeva to be mother hen/cheerleader/desperate back up

    Apologies this is so long, its getting on for 2am and I’ve over thought it.

    • Stoi!

      Eek no to Belokobylskaya vaulting.

      There’s a whole crop of Ruskie’s with DTY’s, and Paseka is rumored to be doing an Amanar. Her DTY was quite nice. I wouldn’t even put Belokobylskaya up on vault in prelims.

      And I’m pretty sure I just gave myself carpal tunnel typing her last name twice btw.

      The moral of the story is that they’re basically fucked if Komova isn’t in top form, but I’ll post more about that later.


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