First stop, Romania.
Sandra Izbasa is training a new vault : “The Mustafina.”
We love the vault, despise the leotard.
Clara suggests that she was rummaging through Zhang Xia’s laundry circa 1992. Or perhaps she borrowed it from Bulimar or Iordache, considering it’s a good 3 sizes too small for her.
She’s showing off some serious ass cheek after the Gogean.
I’m quite surprised that she’s looking so super-fit after her most recent injury/recovery.
With or without the new vault, she’s definitely a front-runner for the European vault title. But fine tuning the new vault could help team Romania’s cause in London.
This vault seems almost as difficult as the Cheng, because it’s so difficult to keep a completely stretched body position throughout, and the judges are quick to downgrade it.
In Sandra’s case, I’d credit it for being stretched, and hit her for the knee bend at the end. Either way, it’s miles better than Mustafina’s EF effort in Rotterdam. If the judges would dare downgrade it, I’d fully support a petition from Belu.
The less we say about Nabieva’s attempt, the better. Mustafina’s was better in qualifications (at least they credited it). Good enough for a 14.966 (8.866 in execution), so they clearly didn’t hammer the shit out of it.
Sandra’s looks better than this. But if she can’t manage more than a 15.1 or so, is it really even worth doing?
On a side note, allow Ksenia Semenova to show us what a more offensive last 1/2 rotation knee bend looks like.
Oh, on the subject of Mustafina vaults, McKayla Maroney has one as well. Killer Karolyi revealed this around the time of Pac Rim, or was it Scam, so we could see several this year.
The cameras at Round Lake focus on Russia’s 2 biggest stars in training.
Aliya looks to be working on a new floor routine, and having some serious trouble on her arabian on beam. Komova continues to have the loveliest L-turn we’ve ever seen.
Komova mentions that they’re not on a “strict diet”, and are allowed to have most anything, as long as they don’t go crazy.
Interviewer : “Even ice cream?”
Viktoria : “Well, umm, no, sometimes the coaches bring it to us.”
(Thanks to leavesforchonies from WWGym for the loose translation).
I’m wondering if Stolichnaya is on the menu?
Aliya & Vika (along with Grishina, Dementyeva, Paseka, & Sidorova) are off to this weekends RUS/GBR/SUI tri-meet in Switzerland.
It seems that Ksenia Afanasyeva is recovering from a “small” leg injury sustained at Russian Nationals, and had this to say to say (read full article) :
World floor exercise champion Ksenia Afanasyeva (Russia) will be absent to rest a small leg injury sustained at last month’s Russian championships in Penza, where she was first on balance beam and second all-around behind Mustafina.
Afanasyeva said she is hoping to return in time for the European Championships, May 9-11 in Brussels. This year’s event is for team and individual apparatus for seniors, and team, all-around and apparatus for juniors.
“I really hope to recover, to have time to prepare and make an impact [in Brussels],” Afanasyeva told a Russian news agency on Wednesday. “Without this tournament it will be very hard to get to the Olympics. The selection of the team goes through several stages – the Russian championships that we just had, followed by the European championships and Russian Cup.”
Afanasyeva, who graced the cover of International Gymnast magazine in January/February of this year, said all-arounders Grishina, Komova and Mustafina now form the core of Russia’s team.
“I can’t say who the team leader is, because now there are three strong gymnasts on the team,” Afanasyeva said. “They are all strong in their own ways, so they are all leaders. These three girls are very strong all-around, while I have a strong floor exercise…. [in the time remaining until the Games], I’ll try to bring it up to the maximum – there’s a lot of work ahead.”
Stoi! hopes for a speedy recovery.
Last but not least, Jordyn Wieber in and out of the gym.
Aside from wanting viewers to believe that Jordyn would ever actually eat a sugar-coated corn flake, most interesting is the double layout.
I’m wondering if it will be a replacement for something else. A double-double, double layout, 1 1/2 to 3/1, and a double pike seems a bit ambitious (and exhausting), even for someone of Jordyn’s brute strength. She might as well hide her inhaler in her ponytail.
Some are suggesting that she gets rid of the double-double, but I’m not seeing the deductions (outside of her occasional hap-hazard landings) that others are. And I usually pick up on those kind of things rather easily. The double-double seems to be her thang, and so few do it. I’d be surprised to see it go.
On a completely shallow note (who, me?), her brother is a hot tamale. Hey girl, hey.