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Devyatovsky, Lozhechko Suspended through 2007
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Russia suspended European champions Maxim Devyatovsky and Yulia Lozhechko for their respective behavior at the World Championships which concluded Sunday in Stuttgart.

Russian head coach Andrei Rodionenko said the two gymnasts are suspended from the national team through the end of the year, at which time their status will be re-evaluated.

Rodionenko said both gymnasts were disciplined because of their attitude and not their rankings, though the suspensions come after Russia's worst worlds showing in history. Ksenia Semyonova's gold medal on uneven bars was Russia's only medal in Stuttgart.

Deyvatovsky was suspended for his behavior during Friday's all-around competition, when he left the arena before the sixth rotation. It is a violation of FIG rules for a non-injured gymnast to leave the competition area before the end of the tournament.

In the all-around final, Devyatovsky had been second in the rankings before he fell on the parallel bars in the fifth rotation. He did not finish his routine and he received a score of 3.725. Rodionenko said the team doctor examined Devyatovsky and, finding no injury, cleared him to compete on the high bar.

Devyatovsky, however, having lost all chance of a medal, shrugged off the last event, saying, "I don't have any interest in finishing outside of the top three. There's no difference to me between seventh place or 24th."

Rodionenko said the national team coaches declared Devyatovsky's attitude "unworthy" of the Russian team. He singled out 2005 world champion Hiroyuki Tomita (Japan) as an example of a gymnast who performed with dignity in the men's all-around final. In the sixth rotation, Tomita fell heavily from the high bar, and yet finished his routine despite also having no hope for a medal.

"(Tomita) finished the way you'd expect from a world champion," Rodionenko said in an interview posted on the Russian Gymnastics Federations official Web site. "Maxim just doesn't have these same qualities. He could have finished an honorable 24th place, and now it is a shameful 24th place."

Rodionenko said Devyatovsky has been a problem in the past, and has not had a personal coach since parting ways with veteran trainer Gennady Stolyarov in 2005.

"It seems to me that winning the European Championships has made him feel more entitled than he deserves to be," Rodionenko said. "He was acting disorganized, undisciplined and selfish. If Devyatovsky does not figure out that there's a problem, I have a suspicion that he's going to find it very hard to get onto the Olympic team."

He said Lozhechko was disciplined for defying her coaches and altering her balance beam routine in qualifications. Lozhechko, the 2007 European champion on beam, fell on the dismount. He said her goal was to reach the individual final and that she instead ended up costing the team points.

Rodionenko, a senior trainer for the Soviets in the 1970s and 1980s, said the current generation of Russian gymnasts needs to understand that the team comes first.

"I have come to the conclusion: if athletes are unable to put aside their personal interests for the sake of the team, they need to leave," he said. "To keep up team moral is much more important than the whims of a single, even a very talented, individual."

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