Posts Tagged ‘Aliya Mustafina’

12 to watch in 2009 — a recap

January 8, 2009

Japans Kohei Uchimura is likely to be very successful in 2009.

Japan's Kohei Uchimura is likely to be very successful in 2009.

Posted late last month and early into this one, here are my picks for who will make waves in 2009:

    Sabrina Gill, Canada
    Kohei Uchimura, Japan
    Jeffery Wammes and Epke Zonderland, Netherlands
    Viktoria Komova, Russia
    Fabian Hambuchen, Germany
    Larissa Iordache, Romania
    Samantha Shapiro and Jordyn Wieber, USA
    Alexy Bilozerchev, USA
    Tatiana Nabieva, Russia
    Nathan Gafuik, Canada
    Cui Jie, China
    Benoit Caranobe, France

Honorable mentions: Peng-Peng Lee and Charlotte Mackie, Canada; Becky Downie, Great Britain; Koko Tsurumi, Japan; Paola Galente, Italy, Ksenia Semyonova, Aliya Mustafina and Nailia Mustafina,  Russia; Sergei Khorokhordin, Russia; Alexander Vorobyov, Ukraine; Stephen Legendre, USA; Thomas Bouhail, France; Zou Kai, China; Louis Smith, Great Britain. Good luck to all in 2009.

Aliya Mustafina’s bars

November 29, 2008

Aliya Mustafina’s bars are great. Line and swing similar to Nastia Liukin’s. But Aliya, now 14, already looks as tall as Nastia at 18. Is she going to become a Svetlana Khorkina? Can her body take it if she does?

And could someone please tell me why the Russian juniors are always collectively so great but so rather underwhelming once they become seniors?

Aliya Mustafina, 2007 Voronin Cup, Uneven Bars:

Nastia Liukin, Uneven Bars, 2004:

Little siblings — big potential

November 25, 2008

Family acts are fairly common in gymnastics. Parents tote all their kids, not just one, to the gym to wrench out energy at a young age, stuff like that.

Seems like good gymnastics runs in families too — one need only look to the Hamms (Betsy Hamm, Paul and Morgan’s older sister, was an NCAA Champion for the University of Florida during the late 90s) and the Roethlisbergers (John’s big sis Marie was a contender for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team) and a few others (the Khorkinas, Svetlana and Yulia, the Dantzchers, Jamie, Jalynne and Janelle, the Mackies, Gael and Charlotte, and on and on) for affirmation.

Here are a few new faces with “old” names poised to make a splash during the coming quad (although whether their splash will be as big as those their siblings have made is TBD).

Dasha’s sis Natalia Joura, International Level 10, Floor Exercise:

Chellsie’s sis Skyler Memmel, 2008 PKI Elite Qualifier, Balance Beam:

The incredible Nailia Mustafina, younger sister of up-and-coming Russian junior Aliya Mustafina, 2008 WOGA Classic, Balance Beam:

On the men’s side, there’s Glen Ishino, Allyse’s younger brother.

Glen Ishino practices parallel bars in the Cal Bears gym:

Missed anyone? Drop me a comment.

Come to think of it…

August 4, 2008

Chinas Yang Yilin is the latest to be suspected of being underage.

China's Yang Yilin is the latest to be suspected of being underage.


This doesn’t really seem like the face of a 16-year-old, either.

Despite the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to pursue whether half of the Chinese women’s team is underage, the news media seems reluctant to let it go. And hey, Yang Yilin does have a very, very youthful face.

Whether Yang really is 16, or 15, or 14, or whatever, she hangs with the best in the world. She should compete. So should He Kexin. So should Samantha Shapiro and Charlotte Mackie and Aliya Mustafina. Shame on China for breaking the rule — if they are — and shame on the FIG for making a rule that is so easy to break.

Up-and-comer Nailya Mustafina

April 11, 2008

Her older sister Aliya made a name for herself in the U.S. at the 2006 Friendship Classic. And two years later, 11-year-old Nailya Mustafina appears to be doing the same thing.

Nailya Mustafina, 2008 WOGA Classic, Balance Beam:

Aliya Mustafina, 2006 Friendship Classic, Balance Beam:

The comparison between the two, both shown below on balance beam at age 11, is interesting. Although each has the superb form that characterizes most of Russia’s juniors, my bet is that Nailya grows up to be the powerful one (that’s an intense double pike dismount for an 11-year-old.)

At 13, Aliya, who was just second to teammate Tatiana Nabieva at the 2008 junior European Championships in France, already seems quite long-legged and willowy.

Aliya Mustafina, 2008 Junior European Championships, Floor Exercise:

Russians dominate Junior Europeans

April 4, 2008

2008 Junior European Champion Tatiana Nabieva of RussiaAll of a sudden, gymnastics team competitions are being won by the margins of basketball games. And not even close basketball games.

The Russian juniors held off second-place France by more than 10 points to capture the Junior European team title today in Clement-Ferrand, France, International Gymnast Magazine reported.

Ridiculous. If the Russian juniors, once they became Russian seniors, held as much dominance, well, the team picture come Beijing might look a bit different than it does at the moment.

As it is, it appears Russia will fight the Romania for the team bronze. It might be the biggest team fight of the Games in women’s gymnastics. Neither country has done particularly well against the Chinese and Americans this quad.

But imagine if the Russian juniors, perennial champions at competitions like the junior Europeans, could do as well in the senior ranks. For some reason, they don’t. The two big breakout Russian stars from the 2006 Europeans, Irina Isayeva and Daria Elizarova, simply haven’t competed much during the past two years.

Elizarova, whose form reminded some of the great Lilia Podkopayeva, was the alternate for the 2007 World Championship team and didn’t compete. Isayeva has been plauged by injuries and in the few competitions she’s been in has seemed to struggle with endurance.

As it is, add 13-year-old Tatiana Nabieva to the list of Russian up-and-comers for 2012. Nabiyeva, (60.850) bested teammate Aliya Mustafina (60.3) to take the junior all-around crown in France, while Frenchwoman Youna Dufournet won bronze (60.225).

Tatiana Nabieva, 2007 Gymnix International, Floor Exercise: