Bronwyn and I have been chewing the fat with some other nerds on TAAF (www.theallaroundforum.com) about Russian team selection this year, and how things look in the light of what we saw last week.

Euros is about ten weeks away, which sounds like a long time but isn’t.  As this is an even year, there’ll be a full team event. Format 5-3-3 (we think). Russia won this in 2010, for the first time in 10 years, having given away on a plate the majority of the titles inbetween. They therefore are in the position of defending, for the first time ever.

2010 was a momentous competition, of course. Russia were up on beam in the final rotation, and they had to use the Myz. The headcase potential was immense. Yet she resisted.

Its easy to forget just how little separated Russia and 2nd placed GB (and no British fan of my generation ever thought they’d write that sentence). Only two points. Most Russians can throw that away in one routine, all by themselves. Anyway, enough gushing. That’s not what this post is about, and anyone who cares enough to find us probably knows how things ended.

This time round though, I’d like to see an experimental team. I reckon Russia are probably sufficiently far ahead of second ranked Romania to play around a bit, provided of course they don’t headcase too much. It’s never a good idea to second guess Belu in an Olympic year of course, and they have Bronwyn’s favourite Iordache coming through. But still, from where we’re sitting, Russia look to have the advantage.

As such, I would like to focus on routines that might possibly be needed at the Olympics, from bubble gymnasts. Mustafina and Komova should go, of course, but not be over-relied on. Leave Nabz and Afan at home. We all know what they can do- one consistent event each, and a usable DTY if they absolutely must. Focus on the marginals. Like so:

VT- Sidorova, definitely. Grishina and Dementieva if they can do their DTYs, they need competitive experience. Komova and Mustafina if not, but neither of them is to even consider throwing an Amanar.

UB- Grishina, Komova, Mustafina

Ok there’s nothing experimental about this lineup, but it should ensure they’re uncatchable even if things don’t work elsewhere. They should all clear 15.5 easily, and they’re all consistent and reliable on the event. I tend to think that if Grishina didn’t fuck it up at the Test Event, she never will.

BB- Dementieva, Grishina, Komova

They all need to practice hitting. Possibly Sidorova for Dementieva, given that Anna has showed herself able to stay on in TFs, if not much else.

FX- Grishina, Sidorova. Dementieva if she’s tumbling her upgrades. Komova or Mustafina if not. Grishina does have the potential to score well on floor, she just needs the opportunity. Her podium training at the test event was quite interesting.

This is my hope- experiment, try out new things before London. Bronwyn agrees with sending Mustafina, Komova, Dementieva and Grishina, but isn’t sure about the 5th member. Stoi! readers, let us know who you want to see on the team.

They’ll probably just have Mustafina and Komova do AA, in the end.


4 responses to “Experimenting

  • Stoi!

    Yeah, Grishina obviously bombed floor at the test event. But that really isn’t representative of what she might be able to achieve. In many ways I trust her more than Komova, floor-wise. That double arabian is a cruel mistress, mind.

    Demy did look shit at worlds, but she was poorly at the time. I’m really not sure I see her ever contributing much on vault, but she might as well give it a go. Given that Paseka seems to have dropped off the radar, it would be a good idea to try out any potential DTYs they might have. Its the obvious big hole for the team after all, bigger than beam. On beam, its easy to see where the high scores are going to come from: they have four who can clear 15, its just a question of them staying on. Whereas with vault, even an optimum performance probably leaves them a fair way behind other teams. Its a shame, because Russia had had a lot of strength in depth on the event for at least a decade. And even now, the majority of their top gymnasts have or have had two vaults.

  • Stoi!

    It’s rare for me not to appoint Afanasyeva on a team – any team – but I like the idea of an experimental team in the year of the Olympics. Sidorova and Dementyeva have been utter shit lately – they need some pressure filled moments on the podium if they have any shot at making the Olympic team.

    A lot of people really underestimate Grishina’s floor. She CAN tumble, and what’s better is that she can twist without giving away too many form deductions. They need to fiddle around with her tumbling. The double arabian clearly isn’t working out. She used to do a 2 1/2 + 1/1. They need to stick that in somewhere. It’s not as if her triple is going to get downgraded.


  • Stoi!

    Ideally, of course, Pavlova would return. She fills the vault/beam gap they’ve got. About as much chance of that as there is of me and Bronwyn getting the nod, though.

  • missy

    I really hope they consider your strategy and experiment with their lineups in preparation for Olys

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