Posts Tagged ‘Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova’

10 things that should have happened during the Olympics….

October 7, 2008
Aussie Daria Joura deserved better than she got in Beijing.

Aussie Daria Joura deserved better than she got in Beijing.

…and didn’t.

1. The Australian program, which aside from Russia and China has the best combination of artistry and athleticism, should have made a bigger impact. The unfortunate injury to Aussie star Dasha Joura in team prelims undercut Australia’s chances of being a bigger hit at these Games. Hopefully Joura goes on in gymnastics, although her countrywomen have certainly been able to translate their gymnastics prowess into other sports. She’s the best Australia’s ever had, and could continue to have a big impact on sport in her country.

2. The Russian program, which aside from China and Australia has the best combination of artistry and athleticism, should have made a bigger impact. The elegant and classy veteran Anna Pavlova, who knows something about peaking during the Olympic Games, was robbed of medals on both balance beam and vault. At 20, she’s also a candidate for continuing, and can draw inspiration from her more aged elite teammates Yelena Zamolodchikova and Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova.

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Who stays, who goes?

September 19, 2008

After the Olympics there’s usually a flurry of discussion and speculation — who will continue, and who’s retiring? This ongoing post will attempt to chronicle that.

Staying. Chellsie Memmel, at least through the 2009 Worlds. Hard to blame her — despite the Olympic team silver, Beijing was hardly her dream competition.

Going. Alicia Sacramone, who has hinted she might try diving.

Staying. The bionic Oksana Chusovitina, who was given $20,000 Euros by Li Ning to help pay for son Alisher’s lieukemia treatment.

Staying. Beth Tweddle, who wants to compete in London at next year’s world championships.

Going. Romanian Marian Dragulescu, the — so close! — two time Olympic vault champ, who announced plans to become a coach.

Going. Morgan Hamm, who told the press that he’s done. M. Hamm plans to marry and attend chiropractic school.

Undecided. Paul Hamm, who apparently is trying to choose between an advanced degree in business administration or further competition. Hey, the MBA will always be an option, Paul — Olympic-caliber gymnastics won’t.

Undecided. Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, the big winners of the Games. Johnson has professed that she’d “give anything” to do another Olympics, while Liukin has mentioned 2012 in a few interviews but seems more focused on breaking Shannon Miller’s world championship medal count, which could happen in 2009.

Staying. Non-2008 Olympian Yelena Zamolodchikova and Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova, the grand dames of the talented but aging Russian teams.

Going. Aussie Olivia Vivian, to the talented and often under-appreciated Oregon State University.

Staying (likely). Yang Yilin. After her performance in Beijing, do you think the Chinese government is just going to let her retire? She could be even better in 2009.

Yelizerova, Klyukina grab last two spots on Russian team

July 26, 2008

Daria Yelizerova and Svetlana Klyukina have secured the final two spots on the Russian team headed for Beijing, International Gymnast Magazine reports.

Ksenia Semyonova Other members of the team are Ksenia Semyonova, Ksenia Afanasyeva, Anna Pavlova and Yekaterina Kramarenko.

The rebounding Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova has been named team alternate. Grebenkova, 25, has already vowed to continue training after 2008.

No Olympics for Lozhechko

July 22, 2008

Russian Yulia Lozhechko on her best event.

From International Gymnast Magazine:

While the Russian women’s Olympic team has yet to be officially announced, veteran Yulia Lozhechko won’t be going to Beijing, head coach Andrei Rodionenko said Monday.

Lozhechko, the 2007 European Champion on balance beam, has lost all chances for the 2008 Olympics. Ksenia Afanasyeva, Yekaterina Kramarenko, Anna Pavlova and Ksenia Semyonova already have secured berths, and Svetlana Klyukina, Daria Yelizarova and Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova are vying for the remaining two spots, Rodionenko said.

Good grief! OK, so Lozhechko’s been a bit up and down since winning the 2007 Europeans on beam, but when she’s on, she could make event finals on that event easily, perhaps even medal. There must be something seriously wrong for her to be eliminated at this stage.

Then again, Lozhechko has a history of disobedience:

Lozhechko, a World Cup gold medalist and three-time world team member, was given a three-month suspension from the team last fall for defying the coaches at the 2007 Worlds in Stuttgart. In the preliminaries, Lozhechko was instructed to dismount balance beam with a simple double tuck, but attempted a more difficult Arabian double front to increase her chances of getting into the beam final. She fell on the dismount and was an alternate to the final.

Lozhechko was criticized by the coaching staff for “mental problems” following her subpar finish at the Russian Cup. After finishing 12th in qualification, fifth in the final and third on beam, she was nevertheless given the final invitation to the training camp in Leninsk-Kuznetsky. However, her Olympic chances ended there, Rodionenko said.

Yulia Lozhechko, 2007 World Championships All Around, Balance Beam:

She evoked Svetlana Khorkina in bodyline and movement, although apparently Rodionenko is less tolerant of “mental problems” than former Russian coach Leonid Arkayev was (hey, the man put up with The Diva for a decade, although Khorkina seemed to win more than she lost.)

With the more experienced four of the training camp — Pavlova, Kramarenko, Semyonova and Afanasyeva — confirmed, what an interesting choice between Grebenkova, Yelizerova and Klyukina for the final spot.

So few slots, so many questions

March 7, 2008

In theory, by March of an Olympic year, we should be getting a better idea of who’s going to be on the Olympic team in most countries.

China is not most countries.

Here are Deng Linlin and Guo Weiyang, two from the People’s Republic whose success at the just concluded Doha World Cup may contribute to their own Olympic surge. Guo won gold on high bar in Doha. Deng won gold on beam and silver on floor.

She didn’t do too shabbily on vault, either, winning a bronze behind Germany’s Oksana Chusovitina and Russian Anna Pavlova.

Deng Linlin, 2008 Doha World Cup Event Finals, Vault:

Guo Weiyang, 2007 Chinese Nationals Event Finals, High Bar:

Ksenia SemyonovaMatters aren’t much clearer when it comes to the prospective Russian women’s team, either. Ksenia Semyonova is the reigning world champion on the uneven bars, but Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova keeps coming up with big results at smaller meets. Ksenia Afanasyeva had a great competition at last week’s Russian Cup.  

Add veteran Pavlova to the mix, as well as the stalwart Yelena Zamolodchikova, Svetlana Klyukina, Yekaterina Kramarenko, Polina Miller, Kristina Pravdina, Anna Grudko, Irina Isayeva, Daria Elizarova and Yulia Lozhechko. There’s no dearth of talent in Russia.

Who goes? Who stays? Who knows?

Good grief.

Yezhova makes her return

November 13, 2007

The latest comeback kid: Russian Lyudmila Yezhova (now Lyudmila Yezhova Grebenkova), who at 25 is no longer a kid.

Doesn’t seem so long ago when Fan Ye and Yezhova went 1-2 on balance beam at the 2003 Worlds in Anaheim.

Fan Ye's perfect sheep jump on balance beam, via Grace Chiu photos.

Fan’s routine in event finals, which received a whopping 9.812, was described by one as “the closest one has come to perfection” in a very long time.

Fan Ye, 2003 World Championshiops Event Finals, Balance Beam:

But Yezhova was no slouch either.

Lyudmila Yezhova, 2003 World Championships Event Finals, Balance Beam:

Both appeared again at last weekend’s Glasgow Grand Prix, where Grebenkova signalled her return to the international scene by taking top honors on her best event. It wasn’t quite the rivalry of 2003. Fan, eighth in the qualifying round, improved to finish fourth.

As she, Zamo and Khorkina proved at the 2004 Olympic Games, Russians are able to maintain top skills despite achieving a so-called “advanced” age. But if Grebenkova makes the 2008 Russian team, she’ll be one of the first to make her comeback and actually compete for the mother country.

Others who have been considered too old to contribute to traditional Eastern-bloc powerhouse teams have migrated to other countries — Oksana Chusovitina bounced from Uzbekistan to Germany (and trained for a short period of time in the United States), while Viktoria Karpenko and 1996 Olympian Yevgenia Kuznetsova emigrated to Bulgaria. Former Ukranian Alona Kvasha is rumored to be training for Australia.

Alona Kvasha, 2000 Olympics Team Qualification, Floor Exercise:

It’s worth noting that the mother country could certainly use someone like Grebenkova right now. Yelena Zamolodchikova looks more like a shadow of her former self every year, Svetlana Khorkina has finally disappeared, Anna Pavlova still lacks consistency, Nadezhda Ivanova retired with an illness, Yulia Lozhechko is off the team until further notice and many of the fabulous Russian juniors everyone spent 2006 reading about have been injured. The door is wide open.