Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Some interviews with Russian gymnasts

For now the gymnasts are getting some well-deserved rest, although, I assume there will be more media coverage soon with awards, dinners, events etc.
Dasha, Seda and Masha went to Sochi to see some MMA fighting (probably both for sponsorship reasons and as a prize). Gelya went home to Voronezh (I assume as she is still a minor she's not allowed to just fly around the country without chaperones) and Aliya went on vacation (likely, with her boyfriend).
There aren't many news about gymnastics right now, so I gathered a few interviews and articles that were done during the Olympics.

Vika Komova gave an interview about her rehab routine right after she returned from treatment in Germany.
She says that her back pain (because of fractured vertebrae) was so debilitating she just couldn't get up in the morning and obviously couldn't train.
She has to stop training for at least half a year and will go to Germany for a check up in three months. Right now she is allowed to do some back exercises, sit ups, stationary bike and massage. She really wants to return to elite but it is still not clear whether she'll be able to.

Aliya Mustafina topped the media ratings as the most popular Olympian in Russia. Yay Aliya!

Seda Tutkhalian talked about how her parents support her. She talks to her mom everyday for emotional support. She says she needs a lot of psychological preparation before every competition, much more than her teammates, because she is always afraid to compete.

In a pretty weirdly written article about the gymnasts, the author talks how Andrey Rodionenko treated Spiridonova right after her fall in the bars EF.  Apparently, Rodionenko humiliated Dasha in front of the journalists, yelling at her, calling her a disappointment for the team and the coaching stuff. The journalist, however, doesn't find this kind of behavior abusive and says that it's a coaching strategy, that Rodionenko behaves this way on purpose to motivate his gymnasts. Some motivation, huh. Although, I'm not really surprised. Abuse from coaches is pretty frequent in Russia and was widespread in the past. When I fist watched Dance moms and then read comments from other viewers like "how can that be? Outrageous! How coaches like that can even exist?!" I was nonplussed because Abby was basically every single coach I had back in Russia. My ballet coach actually hit dancers with a sticks when we didn't do the moves properly. I left because of that but other dancers (and their parents) were totally okay with hitting and yelling. In an article about rhythmic gymnastics, Elena Vaytsekhovskaya openly talks about abusive atmosphere at the training center, but she praises it as effective. Mamun's coach, Amina Zaripova says she regrets not yelling at Rita because that would've prepared her for the training style on the national team.
And you might've heard about Mikhail Mamiashvili, the head of the Russian wrestling federation who allegedly punched a female wrestler, Inna Truzhukova, after she lost a fight for bronze. He also made comments about two other female wrestlers who won silvers in Rio, calling them worthless and saying that they should've fought to win or died trying. While the punching incident is being investigated and there's plenty of outrage in the media, there's also plenty of support for Mamiashvili, where people say that this situation is not a big deal, because he's a good person and was just under a lot of stress and wasn't thinking clearly.
So, I don't think that coaching abuse in Russia will disappear soon.
Well, back to the weird interview. Dasha was crying hard after the EF and she couldn't explain what happened, she said that she never fell before on that element.
Masha was giggly and talked about how she's starving and how she had to drink 2 liters of water because she couldn't pee at the doping control.
Aliya said that she's exhausted and only wants to have some rest. When the journalist asked whether her parents saw the EF she said they were probably still asleep (it was after midnight in Moscow). The journalist then asked what kind of parents would be asleep when their daughter is competing at the Olympics, which, Aliya thought, was very rude of him, so she turned his back to him and refused to answer any more questions.


  1. I don't see how it's that motivational to yell at your gymnast right after they fell in an Olympic EF ... Their season is now over, there's not a lot in the near future to motivate them FOR. Especially Spiridonova who's usually so consistent, and already managed to hit in a world final ... Clearly something just randomly went wrong, no yelling is going to fix that. I don't think shouting at your gymnast in public is ever a good idea, but I would get the logic more if it was Seda maybe ... even though I still wouldn't agree with it.

    1. yeah, me neither. but old school Soviet-trained coaches often think that yelling at their pupils is helpful.

  2. Can you translate the exact words used in that discussion about daria. It'll means a lot for me. Thank you ��

    1. can you be more specific? it's like a really long article, so I'd rather not translate everything

    2. what's being said on her. what are the words used to denigrate daria...i can't really understand this behaviour from coaches. I hope it's clear now thank you and sorry but i'm not even an english speaker

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