Can you hear the sound of wailing and gnashing of teeth?
That’s because Stoi! favourite Tatiana Nabieva, world and European champion, world individual silver medallist, ‘difficult’ in training and advanced proponent of Eurotrashiness is no longer an Olympic alternate. According to Solnishko of TAAF and GGMB, she has a leg injury which prevents her from participating any further.
Given that she was only really in the running for bars, it must be pretty damn serious. Basically this suggests she can’t even dismount. We are devastated.
We are also thinking that the Russian squad is looking increasingly skimpy. The five competimg athletes do not, between them, boast the best health records of late. Afanasyeva was too ill for Euros, Grishina has taken to bandaging her legs up like Tatiana Lysenko’s snowboots every time she competes, Komova was restricted to UB/BB until recently, and we all know what happened to Aliya last year. Inshina is not exactly top alternate material either: yes she trains each event, but is really only usable on beam. This concerns us.
On the other hand, Nabieva wasn’t providing a colossal amount of cover anyway. So maybe her loss doesn’t make that much difference to the team chances.
She was no more relevant to the beam and floor lineup as an alternate than she is now. There was no chance of her competing on either in London when she had two functioning legs, and there still isn’t. Yes she was usable on vault, but no more so than the 5th weakest vaulter on the team Afanasyeva. If one of the top 3 vaulters had been injured out, it’s far from certain that Nabieva would’ve been the replacement. Even if it had been Paseka, useless on everything but vault, they might just as easily have taken the opportunity to bring in Inshina and give themselves another option on beam.
The only event where she was the obvious 4th ranked and there was no cover from within the team was bars. Nabz is a damn fine bars swinger, as one would expect from the reigning world silver medallist.
She could break 15 with a hit set- pretty damn impressive for someone who couldn’t get into the lineup. Saying that, it’s comparatively rare for a gymnast to be too injured for bars. There’s always the possibility of a torn shoulder muscle etc, and a serious enough leg injury will prevent a gymnast from doing anything at all on any event. But as Mustafina, Grishina and Komova all have problems with lower limbs, not upper, the odds are that all three will be fit to do bars in London. It was nice to have an EF quality bars worker in reserve in case she was needed, don’t get us wrong. It’s just that losing her probably won’t make any difference to anything much.
Now all we need to know is what’s the score with Dementyeva…