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.
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.