Ksenia Afanasyeva: A Birthday Celebration (Part Two)

Taking up where we left off…

11. 2008 Olympics prelims, floor

Gorgeous. Our favourite routine in what was arguably her best round ever of competition.

12. 2009 European Championships qualification

Let’s take a moment to think just how grossly Miss Afanasyava had to underperform in order to finish 20th, not even in a global competition but a continental one. In the first major competition of the quad, with all the quality that implies. She managed to be beaten by no-name teammate Goryunova, who didn’t even go 4 for 4 herself. Oh the indignity.

13. Getting subbed into the 2009 European Championships AA anyway, despite said splatfest in prelims.

Personally, I think she ought to have been sent home in disgrace, for her gross dereliction of duty in failing to qualify for the floor final and treating the world to Beth Tweddle’s first major title on that event. A sin for which even I find it hard to forgive her.

14. Still not even managing to win the 2009 European Championships AA after all that

Thanks to yet another fall on beam.

15. Her floor in the all-around at 2009 European Championships.

The highest score on that event of the day, to clinch the silver medal.

16. 2006 Junior Europeans, beam

Baby Ksenia starting as she meant to go on! Like all the greats, she only gets her shit together when she wants to. The spirit of Khorkina is alive and well in her.

17. 2010 World Championships prelims, vault

14.3 for an underrotated DTY with a massive stagger forwards. One of the more outrageous overscores in a championship punctuated by, hmm, eccentric judging. Why should Nabieva have all the fun?

18. 2010 Pacific Rim Championships

For the first time in Ksenia’s senior career, she was overlooked for a major team when healthy. Instead of Euros, she was sent to the second string Pacific Rim. It was the right choice of course: Mother Russia took their first team title in a decade, in what was a closer win than it really should have been even factoring in GB’s home advantage. She could certainly have thrown a spanner in that works, given the opportunity.

And it also seemed to galvanise her. She took a bronze in the AA and another in the bars final, showing that she is capable of hitting sometimes. This no doubt played a part in her selection for the worlds team later that year, and the rest is history. One of the sadly few examples of competitive grit in this temperamental artiste’s career. I’ll gloss over the failure to medal on floor…

19. The three musketeers.

20. Russian Cup 2011, beam

A routine with no falls and actual choreography. What’s not to like?

And one to grow on…

21. Russian Cup 2011, (new) floor :

We’re leaving this one ’til last, because it’s the one routine from her this year we’ve seen that gives us hope for the future. Could this finally be the year our girl pulls off a major floor medal? Obviously not, so we wait with baited breath until she snatches defeat from the jaws of victory once again.

That brings us to the end of our salute. Ksenia Afanasyeva: a stunning performer, with a consistency record that makes Pavlova look both solid and predictable. Whether imperious, beautiful, baffling, skanky or just plain fucking stupid, love her or loathe her, we will always watch her.

Stoi! readers, what are your favourite Afanasyeva moments?

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