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Mustafina Wins Again at Russian Nationals
(19 votes, average 4.37 out of 5)

2010 world champion Aliya Mustafina claimed a third gold medal as the Russian women's gymnastics championships concluded Sunday in Penza.

Mustafina — who won the all-around title Wednesday and led Moscow to the team gold Thursday — picked up the uneven bars title with 16.220, the highest mark of the competition. She nailed her new combination of Pak salto to immediate Stalder to Shaposhnikova-half and took one step on her namesake dismount (1 1/2-twisting double back; click for video).

Mustafina made her return to competition in December after undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn ACL in April.

"I was pleasantly surprised by Aliya, who once again proved that she's a fighter," two-time Olympic gold medalist Yelena Zamolodchikova said. "Bravo to Aliya, she is doing her job and knows what she's doing."

Anastasia Grishina, the floor exercise champion and all-around runner up, fell off bars again on her Maloney-half. She won the silver medal on vault behind Anna Pavlova, showing a much improved double-twisting Yurchenko and Podkopayeva.

"This is a potentially very powerful, beautiful gymnast, but needs improvement," said Zamolodchikova, on hand in Penza as a judge. "The coach knows best what to add, but it seems to me she lacks stability and competitive experience. On the other hand, she still needs more difficulty to fight for first place."

Zamolodchikova said Grishina, a first-year senior, is dealing with nerves in the Olympic year.

"Such pressure!" she said. "Anastasia knew that everyone is watching her, and that these events are qualifiers and very important."

Team coach Andrei Rodionenko said he hopes the same team that will represent Russia at the Olympics will be ready to compete at May's European championships in Brussels. But vault is complicating matters as the team needs consistent Amanars (2 1/2-twisting Yurchenkos) to beat the United States at the Olympics, he said.

"Without this, we will lack sparkle," he said. "Silver, bronze perhaps is possible, but not gold."

Several Olympic contenders have Amanar vaults in their arsenal, but competing them is always a risk, Rodionenko said. Mustafina suffered her knee injury on a slightly underrotated Amanar at the 2011 European Championships.

Pavlova, who competed an Amanar at the 2008 Olympics, showed only a double-twisting Yurchenko and layout Podkopayeva en route to the title.

"I don't see why I should do a more complicated vault considering I've not been invited to join the national team," she said. "I don't know why, I can't explain it."

Pavlova, who turns 25 in September, said her age and knee problems should not be a reason to keep her off the Russian team.

"(Oksana) Chusovitina was born in [1975] and continues to vault brilliantly and earn medals at worlds, Europeans and the Olympic Games," said Pavlova, a two-time Olympian. "I believe age is not an obstacle. And Oksana has had plenty of injuries."

The Russian Olympic team will be decided after the Russian Cup in June, which also takes place in Penza.

The Russian men's championships are scheduled for early April.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

2012 Russian Women's Gymnastics Championships
March 25, Penza

Senior Vault FinalScore
1.Anna PavlovaCFO-214.490
2.Anastasia GrishinaMOS14.340
3.Maria PasekaMOS14.120
4.Anastasia CheongSPB13.520
5.Maria SmirnovaPFO13.480
6.Olga BikmurzinaPFO13.130
7.Anna MyzdrikovaMOS12.720
8.Yekaterina TsvetkovaCFO-112.290

Senior Uneven Bars FinalScore
1.Aliya MustafinaMOS16.220
2.Yulia InshinaCFO-214.320
3.Anastasia GrishinaMOS14.240
4.Anna RodionovaPFO13.140
5.Yulia BelokobylskayaYUFO13.000
6.Kristina GoryunovaSZFO12.600
7.Maria PasekaMOS11.440
8.Olga BikmurzinaPFO11.200

Junior Balance Beam Final (Master of Sport)Score
1.Polina FedorovaPFO13.980
2.Yulia OvcharovaDVFO13.220
3.Yekaterina ShtrondaSFO11.700
4.Nailya MustafinaMOS11.680
5.Irina YashinaPFO11.620
6.Viktoria ShmidtPFO11.420
7.Tatiana LebedevaSFO11.420
8.Angelina SvistunovaPFO11.320

Junior Floor Exercise Final (Master of Sport)Score
1.Polina FedorovaPFO13.180
2.Irina VoropayevaCFO13.000
3.Galina GannochenkoCFO12.860
4.Viktoria ShmidtPFO12.820
5.Yuna NefedovaCFO12.700
6.Irina YashinaPFO12.460
7.Maria NechayevaSFO11.900
8.Alla SosnitskayaMOS11.860

Junior Balance Beam Final (MoS Candidate)Score
1.Maria BondarevaCFO14.920
2.Kristina LevshinaCFO14.040
3.Viktoria KuzminaMOS13.960
4.Yevgenia KorolkovaMOS13.300
5.Daria MikhailovaMOS13.180
6.Taisia GuryashovaPFO12.040
7.Seda TutkhalyanMOS11.920
8.Yelena TimashovaMOS10.700

Junior Floor Exercise Final (MoS Candidate)Score
1.Maria BondarevaCFO13.900
2.Viktoria KuzminaMOS13.460
3.Kristina LevshinaCFO13.340
4.Olga ValekzhaninaPFO13.180
5.Kristina YaroshenkoMOS13.080
6.Daria MikhailovaMOS12.040
7.Yelena AleksenkoUFO11.960
8.Yevgenia KorolkovaMOS11.760
Comments (5)add comment

Bernardo said:

And the D Scores?
March 26, 2012
Votes: +0

Juan Antonio Moreno said:

Juan Antonio Moreno
Pavlova SHOULD GO for the Amanar. Then, she would raise her hand as a great contributor for the russians. Surprisingly, their chances of hitting at least 2 Amanars is far from real right now.
March 26, 2012
Votes: +0

Rachel T said:

Too high of a mark
No offense, but how did Mustafina get such an enormous score on bars with the stumble on the dismount. I agree it was a beautiful routine, but the score seemed rather high for the imperfect dismount. Just my opinion.
March 26, 2012
Votes: +1

LS in AK said:

I wish you were invited to join the national team, also. You would be an asset on both vault and beam, a leader of the younglings, and an example of power, beauty, grace, and perseverance.

I never tire of watching this gymnast perform.
March 26, 2012
Votes: +1

dragonair said:

I agree about Pavlova - she should perform an amanar because that's her only chance to become a part of the russian team. And with amanar not only she'd contribute to her team but she could also make it into vault finals.
So Pavlova - that's why you should perform more complicated vault. I know it's incredibly difficult vault but if that's your only chance to go to olympics then you should give it a go.
I mean, she has nothing to lose - with DTY she has no chance to make a team whatsoever, so even if she goes for an amanar and bombs it at least she knows she tried.
On the other hand - she's already been to two olympic games (and was in that unlucky 4th postition many times which is extremely dissapointing) so I can understand if she's not as motivated as other girls.
March 27, 2012
Votes: -1

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