Monday, 24 September 2012

Russia- Alexandrov fired UPDATE: Grishina

Alexander Alexandrov has been voted out of his head coaching position by fellow coaches. It has long been known that Paseka and Grishina's coaches had issues with him, but seeing as especially in the latter case Grishina did her own thing and wasn't really under his coaching, her failure to shine in London can't be laid at his feet. Extremely petty and political, when this will drive Russia right back. Alexandrov almost single-handedly got them from an all-time low in Beijing back up to team silver, all-around silver and bronze, bars gold, vault bronze, floor bronze- 6 medals. There are a lot of stars coming up through the ranks that would have benefited hugely from his vast vast experience and knowledge. Not to mention, if he leaves entirely- and why wouldn't he seek a head coaching position elsewhere- Mustafina is once again left without a personal coach, this time just as brutally and unexpected as before. Ridiculous. The Rodionenko's are the ones who needed to be booted out. Expect a slide down in results from now on.

UPDATE: Alexandrov will work with Mustafina until the end of the year. He does not know what will happen after that. Hopefully a huge dose of cop-on to the rest of the coaches.. Grishina has split from her coach, unsure whether it is a reaction to this or whether she was unhappy with how her seperate training programme failed to deliver.

The Rodionenko's, who are also credited with ousting Oleg Ostapenko and Leonid Arkaev are saying it was a conflict of interest, as Alexandrov is also a personal coach. The new head coach, Yevgeny Grebyonkin also has personal students- among them rising star Ekaterina Baturina. They will pretty much have to be dumped and have someone else coach them- even more upset. 

 Komova and Afanasyeva's personal coaches voted to save him. Making it sound like a reality show now, but it's good to know they know an amazing head coach when they see one. Alexandrov has coached in the USA before, he could well do so again...

Comments Semenova, Afanasyeva and Komova have made on a petition to reverse the decision are being translated. They are essentially telling people to butt out, that they don't know what was going on. They also appear to heavily criticise both Alexandrov and his 'favouring' of Mustafina. Afan mentions how many injuries there have been, and seems very vicious in her comments in general. Which would be a fair point- but how many occurred under his direct coaching? Mustafina's for instance occurred because of her own stubbornness and wish to show her best, even when it was not needed to secure a win. It appears that the girls think a nicer coach will be better, automatically. He might be just as good but this was not the way to go about it. I wonder if bars will suffer, because Grebyonkin was head bars coach. Obviously the girls know more than the general public and he could quite easily be harsh, I highly doubt he is a teddy bear Chow type of person. That still doesn't mean his way is terrible or worthy of this treatment. Komova did not get gold because she messed up her vault landing, and then whacked her feet off the bar and fell off beam in event finals. How is that anyone's fault except her own and the lack of sports psychotherapists (there are none)? Afanasyeva had issues with endurance, and made errors. Again, not the fault of the head coach. Grishina tanked completely, but was not ever under Alexandrov's control or even national training programme. Her failure is a damning indictment of her coaches insistence on going on their own way! Paseka exceeded expectations by getting vault bronze. Rodionenko's and the girls seem to be blaming Alexandrov for everything..

Excerpt from interview with Valentina Rodionenko: (rewritingrussiangymnastics.blogspot)

- In an interview with “Sovietski Sport”, Alexander Alexandrovich said that he had been blamed for working poorly. Do you personally think that he didn’t work well?  Can you say so if Mustafina is the most decorated Russian athlete at the London Olympics?
- Exactly. I have been blamed for having said unpleasant things about Aliya Mustafina. It’s true. I said good and bad things about her. But above all it was the truth. For instance, I said that her mood changes rapidly. Today Aliya wants to train, tomorrow she doesn’t want to. Aliya herself acknowledges she’s unpredictable. Not only for the coaches, but for herself. So let's be objective and targeted. Aliya, (and I am very happy about that), become bars Olympic champion and won four medals in a very difficult situation. But where were the rest? What’s the reason for the gymnasts’ injuries, why did Viktoria Komova, after having won the Americans in the qualifying competition, look paler and paler every day, as if she had disappeared? Who is to blame for the failure of her functional preparation?
- Аlеxandrov? What for?
- Because when Aliya was in a bad mood, he was the same. I mean that if Aliya didn’t train, the national team didn’t train. This explains the injuries and Komova’s insufficient preparation. 
- The gymnasts worked with their personal coach even if Alexandrov was not in the gym. What prevented them to continue training?
- They all need corrections, advice from the head coach. Otherwise, what does he do? If we think that personal coaches can solve everything, the head coach is not necessary, he is redundant. For those four years when Alexandrov combined his work as personal coach and as head coach, there were only problems, and all suffered from the situation. Marina Nazarova, Ksenia Afanasieva’s coach, said when her gymnast became World Champion on floor: 'At last I have been able to prove everything to him! He has been so harsh on this girl…'. 

Hmmmm. Alexandrov is not a sports psychotherapist, it is not up to him nor in his job description to make a warrior of Komova and banish her fragile mental state. Nor is her injury which ate into the time she had to get back her amanar and all of her difficulty objectively his fault either. What of Yelfimov, her actual coach? 'But above all it was the truth'. Yes, especially when she stated Mustafina was only capable of a bars medal and that was it.If the personal coaches are unable to coach their own gymnasts without Alexandrov being around as Rodionenko implies, then something is wrong with them, not him! Mustafina is going to get the most attention from Alexandrov, because he IS her coach too. The rest all have their own coach besides him. All in all, something IS wrong with the entire system.

Here is Mustafina training, part 2.
Let us all hope all of this does not negatively affect her.

Grishina has gone to Irina Razumovskaya. Irina and her husband Viktor have been in Japan for over a decade. They coached Elena Gurova and Shevchenko. It also looks like Roza Galieva (ie. number one victim of the system under Alexandrov) is against the decision and is attacking Afan for her comments. Very very interesting, may not BE the Galieva in question, but it looks like it really could be judging by the offence she is taking at Afan's comments.

26/09 Doesn't appear to be any more updates yet? Make it or Break It really would have killed for a storyline like this. It's my birthday and I'm hoping for good news!

It is on Aliya's official Facebook that her dad has confirmed Alexandrov will remain as her personal coach. He says it is even better for her, as Alexandrov can devote his full attention to her training. This confirmation seems a bit sudden as it was only the other day that the man himself said he didn't know what he was doing in the new year. This is fantastic news if true of course. However, it would surely be extremely awkward working in that environment- quite a hostile one too with the Rodionenko's at the helm! The ever-gracious Valentina has also said she does not know why there is a fuss over dismissing him. Why would there be really, he only dragged Russian gymnastics back from the brink and has a stellar record of coaching champions AND champions after injury in both WAG and MAG which no-one else has ever managed before.

I think this will die down now while everyone waits for tangible evidence of how Grebenkin (apparently Grebenkin is more correct than Grebyonkin) gets on. That is, barring any developmenets like Alexandrov actually leaving in 2013 or sudden retirements from gymnasts...

Edit: Poor translation initially on Galieva's comments, which I think were run through Google Translate. It appears that Galieva directed her ire at Afan's comments alright..but those comments were insinuating that Boginskaya's coach committed suicide because of her. Rightly, Galieva attacked. Afan has apologised. WOW. That was unexpected. Kind of dissapointed Afan would go that far. I was wondering why Boginskaya's name was showing up as nothing else made much sense.


30 comments:

  1. Such utter B.S. It's an insult to Alexander and Mustafina at the same time. What a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    I hope he stays on to coach Aliya. Or he should come back to the US. He can bring Mustafina with. We'll take her ass lol, since Russia clearly doesn't value either one of them.

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  2. i really feel for musty and alex, what a slap in the face for the most successful gymnast from london and her coach! if it wasn't for them, london would have been a completely disaster for them.

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    1. I guess because they already had their medals and moment of glory, they're ready to ditch Alexandrov and let Mustafina wither away. It pretty much seems like Valentina doesnt like Mustafina.

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    2. No, she prefers Komova and Grishina. She publicly slammed Mustafina before the games, saying she was only good for bars etc. and was past it and has not apologised or taken it back since. After her injury they tried to stop her being taken to Germany for surgery as they didn't think she was worth all that. She is also quoted as saying 'yes we had success in London but it was not enough. We only want gold'. Ughh. The worst is acting as if Grishina's choking is his fault, she might as well have been a Chinese gymnast for all he was allowed train her, wasn't let near her and she followed a totally different programme..

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  3. So where is the petition? The stuff you added is interesting.

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    1. Actually it's on a closed vkontackte (social media) group, not a forum. The petition is for the Russian Sports Federation. Ah I wish I could understand Russian! Though apparently it does not make for easy reading as the girls have their claws out..particularly Afan.

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  4. It's on a Russian forum. People are working on translating the comments (200 posts long!) by gymnasts, rather than the actual petition. All I can see is that the petition wants a reversal of the decision.

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  5. I thought Afan and Mustafina were close? Komova and Musty too. Aren't they thinking about her at all?

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    1. Afan says she is friends with Mustafina, that this isn't Mustafina's fault. They are exonerating her, but blaming him for his favouring of her. It still is exactly what she does not need though, being dragged in by them.

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    2. Afan can really stab Aliya from the back. To me, this is pure jealousy. Criticizing Aliya's coach means to hurt Aliya's feelings altogether. And to know that it must come from Afan, of all person, who should be standing behind her...

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    3. Right Cat, that's my point. They are blaming her, whether it's indirectly or not.

      Anon I agree.

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    4. Expressing dislike for a friend's coach is not stabbing your friend in the back. Both of the Ksenia's have beef with Alexandrov, much of which is unrelated to Musty. Semy rotted in a hospital without diagnostic tests or treatment for weeks until the Rodionenkos intervened for her, and Afan's 2012 injury wasn't taken seriously at first. Alexandrov didn't let either of them train with the national coaches or train at the same time as the rest of the national team after they recovered from their 2010/2011 injuries for the Russian Cup. It seems like Alexandrov's treatment of Semenova played a big factor in her retirement, and I think both of the Ksenia's have the right to be upset about that.

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  6. so they want him back but at the same time are criticising his coaching techniques? confused! are they throwing musty under the bus in all this?

    musty might be unpredictable in training BUT she delivers when need be. i've said all along i think komova is the more unpredictable one because her mental strength is not where it should be. if she makes one mistake, she loses it and gives up. but then she has a cry fest when she doesn't win. drives. me. mental. the coach can only do so much to build confidence and mental strength (hell - look at what all the coaches did to build gabby's confidence so she wouldn't headcase!). i agree about the sports psychs - their investment should be in that for the girls. they could have all benefitted from ongoing sports psychs, especially during the olympics, particularly grishina and komova.

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    1. Oh sorry that wasn't clear- they appear to be more than happy with the decision! They are reacting to a petition set up by fans, telling them to butt out. Yes, Komova's mental strength or lack of can't be laid at Alexandrov's door..

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  7. Mustafina was asked about sports psychs in an interview. She said the team didn't need them. I wanted to go: no Aliya, YOU don't need one. The rest do. Not everyone can be you and thrive under pressure.

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    1. wow! is this pre or post london?

      you're right though. she's fine but the rest needed them big time.

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    2. I think I saw that! Was almost funny really, she certainly doesn't but the rest..

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    3. It was post London. Try googling it, you may find it. If I find it, I will link it. But yeah she said the team did fine without the psychs and would continue to manage without them. Seriously Musty? I heart you, but tell me: how's that working out for you guys?

      Also glad Alex is staying on with Musty, though I hope the environment isn't too toxic.

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  8. Afan is not stabbing anyone in the back. Just because Alexandrov is Aliya's coach does not mean Afan and the rest of the girls have to like Alexandrov. Alexandrov can be a pretty big A-hole. Let's just face it, Alexandrov got voted to not be head coach but can still coach Alyia. None of the girls have said anything negative about Aliya. I guess Vika is right, we fans are just a bunch of vegetables.

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    1. I don't think they are being deliberately spiteful and they aren't saying anything bad about Mustafina- but regardless, they are still bringing up her name. That must be awkward. I do think that his bluntness must be wearing. However it does come across that nobody is really appreciating what he HAS done for the programme. The girls are ignorant both of how unlikely it was that their comments would remain in the group and also of how jealous it made them sound. They should have thought more before they reacted, basically.

      As for Grebenkin, good luck to him and I DO hope it works out well. And also that Mustafina having all of Alexandrov's attention is beneficial as I am sure it will be. The point still stands that the whole thing was done badly with incredibly bad grace by the Rodionenko's and fails to acknowledge his achievements and status in the sport let alone thank him. The girls don't have to like him, but they should be able to acknowledge how great he is at what he does. The Rodionenko's have zero excuse, they're not teenagers.

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    2. Also the Rodionenko's whole case for dismissing him stems from a position he held when they hired him- that of being a personal coach. 4 years, and they knew it when it begun.

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    3. Lol @ Anon. Vika is that you? But seriously, no one said they ad to like Alex, but they ought to respect the amazing job he's done in rebuilding the Russian program. You don't have to be nice to be good at your job. I am sure Alex is not a kindly old man, that's not the point. I still say that the arguments leveled against Alex drag Mustafina into the argument by default.

      Also on the subject of Afan, I have lost a lot of the sliver of respect I had for her by her comments. Blaming people for others' suicide is beyond the pale, whether you apologize or not. Fo' sho'

      Cat can you link the thread where all this is being translated on IG? Thank you.

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    4. I'll link it but people kicked up a fuss about translating comments from a private group, and someone went back and deleted all their translations. So not sure what state the thread is in now. Lots of actual Russian speakers said they were not going to translate it because it descended into such a nasty state (ie. the original petition group thread, not the IG thread).

      Yes, that was very unexpected. Not sure what brought that on, what Boginskaya or her coach had to do with it? She could be damaging her career beginnings as a councillor/politician if that got out publicly, as it shows her to be volatile and immature.

      Newer thread: http://www.intlgymnast.com/forum/showthread.php?16228-Russian-Gymnastics-Appreciation-Alexandrov-gone-coaching-drama
      Older thread (Alexandrov drama towards the end):http://www.intlgymnast.com/forum/showthread.php?15650-Russian-Gymnastics-Appreciation-Post-Olympic-Business

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    5. Not sure why it all got so out of hand. I definitely think they need a sports psych. I've never been an Afan fan, though I respected her ability. Now I am anti-Afan. What a train wreck.

      Thanks for the links, I will look later tonight. I may try to get my Russian to translate lol.

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    6. Even better, join the group, and the conversation is somewhere on the message board: http://vk.com/club4153493

      It seems like Ksenia and Vika only spoke out after multiple posters called out to them specifically and asked for their opinion on the matter. Their main point is that fans don't know what happens behind the scenes and aren't in a position to pass judgement. Nabieva and Khorkina's younger sister chimed in and repeated similar things. Ksenia also explained that she is trying to protect the people that made the decision to fire Alexandrov (there are news articles now saying that Afan's coach voted against Alexandrov).

      Ksenia brought up Boginskaya because people were using Bogi as an example of Alexandrov's coaching success and overlooking the contributions of her other coaches (including the coach that committed suicide). I don't think she meant to attack Bogi. She has apologized for writing too emotionally and explained that she was just repeating what her coaches told her about the suicide. Roza doesn't seem miffed honestly; she seems happy with Ksenia's apology.

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    7. Fair enough, I don't speak Russian and google translate is bad, so was relying on snippets people were translating. Still a ridiculous statement for Afan to make though I think, she's old enough to know better.

      I know they wanted people to butt out and fair enough they obviously know better but I think they should acknowledge that he IS a great coach who gets results. There's no denying that, much as they are entitled to say he is not very nice.

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    8. Thanks anon. Hey do you speak Russian or did you just get that from others who do?

      Also I agree with Cat. We are on the outside and obviously don't know what they do. I just think it's totally unfair to Alexandrov to drag him through the mud. They've basically tried to say that everything the Team has accomplished this quad was in spite of him, not because of him.

      There were sooo many better ways to handle this. Just politely release a statement thanking and praising him for his service, and then say that the Team has decided to try another approach, for one. Would that have been so difficult to manage? Instead we got this clusterfuck.

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    9. Yeah and Komova is a fruit. She screws it up each time and must blame someone else. Watch she will not be back.

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