Posts Tagged ‘Anton Golotsutskov’

On the World Cup, day two

December 14, 2008

Once again International Gymnast leads the field in providing up-to-the-minute coverage of the World Cup. If you couldn’t catch it live, this is a very good alternative.

The home Spanish crowd got a nice boost when their countryman Issac Botella tied for the bronze on vault (with Russian Anton Golotsutskov, 16.075 each.) Botella showed a Kasamatsu 1.5 and a handspring double front. Golotsutskov showed a Tsuk double pike and the same second vault as Botella.

Olympic silver medalist Thomas Bouhail of France won the event, despite putting his hand down on his Tsuk double pike. He nailed his Dragulescu (16.575, the highest score of the competition thusfar, for a 16.225 average). Jeffrey Wammes of the Netherlands, a capable young gymnast who did not qualify for Beijing for various reasons, was second with a 2.5 Yurchenko and a handspring front double full (the same vault Raj Bhavsar used.)

On beam, up and coming Aussie Lauren Mitchell narrowly edged Russian Yulia Lozhechko for the title, 15.25-15.2. It’s nice to see Lozhechko, who was left off the Russian Olympic team for reasons that sounded like continuing discipline problems, is still competing, even if this wasn’t the 2007 European beam champion’s best effort. China’s Li Shanshan, who’s amazing when she stays on, suffered a few little wobbles and a low landing on her double pike to place third with a 15.15.

Other notable performances: Ukranian Daria Zgoba balked on her dismount, performing only a layout, Sandra Izbasa was OK but not spectacular for a 14.925, Cheng Fei looked completely distracted (13.825) and Brazil’s Daniele Hypolito may have received the lowest score of the final (13.425) but is probably relieved it wasn’t an 11-something like she had yesterday on bars.

On parallel bars, China’s young Feng Zhe turned in a spectacular 15.775, matched by French p-bar specialist Yann Cuchrat. Ukraine’s Valery Goncharov was nearly as good, scoring 15.675 for third. Every man in this final dismounted with a double pike.

Floor: Cheng Fei redeemed! The two-time world floor champ didn’t need to throw her biggest tricks (namely the Silivas) to outscore the field with a 15.375. Teammate and Olympic floor finalist Jiang Yuyuan threw a quadruple turn and dazzled everyone with her presentation for second (15.225). Tired-seeming Olympic floor champion Sandra Izbasa, who’s been in a hell of a lot of meets since the Olympics, was decent but not at her best (15.0, third).

Slovenian Aljaz Pagan, who unless he continues on to 2012 will always be the gymnast who really, really deserved to go to an Olympic Games, scratched from this WC final because of a back injury, a.

At his best, Pagan probably could have beaten Dutchman Epke Zonderland, an Olympic HB finalist who is just getting better and better. Zonderland took the title here with a 16.175, more than one-third of a point ahead of Philippe Rizzo of Australia (15.875). This one wasn’t even close.

In his final competition, Japan’s Hiroyuki Tomita finished a distant third after falling out of his double-twisting double layout dismount (15.325). It was not the way for one of the sport’s great champions to go out.

Deviatovsky: Russia’s bad sport

August 13, 2008

Russias Maxim Deviatovsky has built a reputation as a poor sport -- a rarity in elite gymnastics.

Russia's Maxim Deviatovsky has built a reputation as a poor sport -- a rarity in elite gymnastics.

Last night, while everyone else was looking at the Chinese men, who were amazing for their dominance during the team competition, and the United States, who were amazing for their spirit and resurgence, there was trouble in the Russian sector.

A shocking and illuminating article written by International Gymnast’s Amanda Turner examines the extremely poor sportsmanship of Russian Maxim Deviatovsky. The crux of the article is that Deviatovsky half-assed team finals in favor of saving himself for the all-around final.

Snippet one:

Devyatovsky didn’t actually withdraw from the competition in Beijing, but he might as well have, his teammates say. After a poor start on pommel horse (when Devyatovsky fell), they say he threw in the towel and decided to save his energy for the all-around final. His scores were the lowest on four of the five events he competed. The team finished sixth, 1.45 points from the bronze.

An infuriated Anton Golotsutskov couldn’t control his anger afterward.

“Some of us worked themselves sick and someone did not strain himself at all,” he told the Russian press. “It is very insulting. This person thinks only of himself.”

Golotsutskov continued, “You know who I am speaking of. You all saw. I think every athlete in the final of the Olympic Games should be in a special mood. And in principle, all of us were. Except one person. I find it difficult to talk about.”

Ouch. Gymnastics fans remember Deviatovsky from last year’s World Championships, where he inadvertently withdrew from the all-around competition after falling on parallel bars during the fifth rotation. Deviatovsky claimed he could have been injured, but the 2007 European all-around champion also said that if he wasn’t in the top three, the competiton didn’t matter to him. The Russian team, horrified by his attitude, temporarily expelled him.

He was back on the team by the Pacific Rim Championships, where he talked to Turner.

So I was surprised by his response when I asked him about the Stuttgart incident at the Pacific Rim Championships in March. “Looking back, I made the right decision,” he told me. “My foot was hurting and I could have been injured.”

To me that didn’t sound like someone who had learned his lesson. Devyatovsky just didn’t get it, and as his behavior showed Tuesday night, he still doesn’t.

In the second rotation on still rings, Russia took its lowest score from Konstantin Pluzhnikov, who had mistakenly dismounted with a simple layout flyaway. In preliminaries, the rings specialist frighteningly had peeled off on his dismount and landed directly on his head. The incident must have spooked him, and his planned full-twisting double layout became a simple layout in team finals.

It was a huge and costly mistake, but not a complete disaster for the team, considering Pluzhnikov’s routine was difficult enough to still bring an adequate score.

“Devyatovsky blames everybody except himself,” Golotsutskov said. “He started to rip on Kostya Pluzhnikov, who couldn’t do his dismount on rings. I say this is wrong. Kostya made a small mistake, but still we beat Germany on rings by a half point, using Pluzhnikov’s score. Three times we had a real chance to move into the top three. I blew up then and there, I simply did not have words.”

“After our performances on rings, he told us, there’s no point in still fighting. Already I understood, that he was not going to fight up to the end…. Everyone else kept fighting, but for him the competition ended. He has simply gone and spat on us. All right, God sees all.”

Turner ends with a written lashing for what is simply unworthy of the Olympic spirit:

I believe Devyatovsky should withdraw from the all-around, but would be shocked if he did. Since he was a junior, he has seemed more interested in individual glory for himself. I will never forget the Junior European Championships in Patras, Greece, when he said his all-around title was much more important to him than the team title. That is probably the only time that has ever been said in the history of gymnastics.

Golotsutskov said the members of the Russian team are ready to move on to London 2012. Heading into Beijing, the team expected a medal.

“I will repeat, our team spirit was simply magnificent,” he said. “I never expected that this would happen. Meaning, it was not our destiny [to be sixth]. We will try further. We are young guys… There is more ahead.”

But is there a future for Maxim Devyatovsky on the Russian team? I’m betting not.