Friday, 7 June 2013

Alexandrov leaves Russia

This probably isn't that surprising given that we know Alexander Alexandrov was scoping out the situation in Brazil not that long ago, but it has now been confirmed that he has left Russia for Brazil, as of June 1st. This news was confirmed by Elizabeth of Rewriting Russian Gymnastics and Rachael of What should gym fans call me. It's not known whether he will be working directly with fellow exile Oleg Ostapenko yet or with a club. It is unlikely he will be at Flamengo though, home of superstar Rebeca Andrade and former home of most of their best gymnasts as it is critically underfunded and not even fully recovered from a fire some time ago. Hopefully facilities etc. can also benefit from renewed focus by the government prior to the home Olympics as it's not exactly going to solve everything to just call in some big names. Edit- Update, he certainly is no longer coaching at Round Lake but he has not accepted a position in Brazil as of yet. The person who would authorise this is currently in the UK for a meet going on there.

Aliya Mustafina is currently being coached by Raisa Ganina. This is unofficial but comes via a good source. Ganina is her beam coach and a childhood coach of hers. It is also being reported that not much will change as Aliya was not coached much by Alexandrov after he was fired as head coach. I don't read anything in to how he was not at Euros- decisions like this are unlikely to be in her hands, or else she was solely considering what events she needed the most help on- as she stated in an interview. Personally, I think Aliya is of such strong character and will and with such a good sense of her own abilities as regards training that she absolutely will not be dragged down by this. Not that she is an emotionless robot or anything. I think it IS such a pity as they had a great dynamic together, and of course the man who achieved so much for Russian gymnastics in such a short space of time deserved far more than to be unceremoniously booted out...but I'm kind of excited as to how his arrival can boost Brazil's gymnastics. I'm sure his talents will be very appreciated by the powers that be there, and they will already be falling on fertile ground.

In other news, Dana Andrei and Ana Maria Ocalisan have both been pulled from Trnava GymFest which they were supposed to compete at. This lends a lot of fuel to the rumour that Andrei has had enough and left the national team. Not sure what the story is with Ocalisan though, whose first assignment as a new senior this would have been. Two juniors will be sent in their place- Andra Stoica and Andreea Ciurusniuc.

12 comments:

  1. Agreed, I don't think Aliya will be dragged down. I just felt he deserved a bit more from the Gymnastics Federation for what he helped to do with them. I will miss him and Aliya together but wish them the best.

    I am interested in how he helps the Brazilian gymnastics as well, as they do have some talented people that just need that extra push to get forward.

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    1. The Rodionenkos have a little habit of this..Ostapenko himself is in Brazil too!

      Andrade is their greatest hope, though as I said her club is unlikely to be his new home. Mariana Oliveira stands out too. Not sure about a team situation..plenty of these girls are only scoring mid 9's on bars..but individually, they could be ones to watch.

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  2. Russian gymnastics breaks my heart. I hope the Rodionenkos are now happy and hopefully they will stop stirring up unnecessary trouble within the Russian camp. I suppose it is a good thing that it looks like the other coaches had more or less taken over management of Aliya's training, and if anyone can deal with it like a champ it will be her, since she's so strong willed and independent and has also been quite sensible about her difficulty in competition when she doesn't need full difficulty. Also hopefully the rest of the team will work better with Grebyonkin since the environment sounded quite toxic after Alexandrov's ousting as head coach - or at least they have no more excuses!

    Still breaks my heart though. Raisa is primarily a beam coach and was also Aliya's childhood coach I think, if I remember right.

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    1. Until Grebenkin does something to annoy them! It's a really ridiculous attitude they have.

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  3. I was really sad to see this news confirmed. I find it really painfully specially because I think half of Aliya's greatness was due to him. I really hope this does not affect her gymnastics.

    As for Brazil, I cannot deny that having Alexandrov will be really beneficial. I have a feeling he will boost d-scores and probably achieve 1 or 2 world medals this quad. It would be very interesting if he coached Andrade... With that potential, Alexandrov can create a new superstar!! Just a simple and maybe stupid question: How will they comunicate? ;) (Brasilian's english is not the best and i just can't imagine Alexandrov learning portuguese)

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    1. Aliya shone before he was her coach, though she was eclipsed really by her sister Nailya. I doubt working with her would be all rainbows and puppies but I have faith she will click with her new coach(es) if she moves on from Raisa.

      Alexandrov coached in the US before. In fact, he coached Bhardwaj and Moceanu at one point. I'm sure his English must be half decent because of that and I'd say he learned how to communicate what he wants by gesturing or something! That is true though that the younger girls might not have great English either...I'm sure Oleg has some ideas? Or a quick Portugese crash course :D

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  4. I think the name of Aliya's interim lead coach is actually Raisa Ganina - she is indeed her beam coach who has worked with her since childhood, and was seen to accompany Aliya on the podium in Euros.
    If Aliya has to face this change, now is the right time, with plenty of time till the more competitive championships prior to the Olympics. And don't forget, this change in arrangement might be Aliya's choice. Athletes change coaches all the time.
    All the same, I think Russia will miss Alexandrov's passion.

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    1. Thank you, my failure to find anything on her on google makes sense now! I think it might be more his frustration with his treatment, better offers elsewhere and not being head coach..and maybe new experiences before he retires..conjecture of course. I would find it hard to believe that it would be her decision to move on owing to their obvious great dynamic and relationship, and of course how well she did under his tutelage.

      Who do you think would be a good match for her if she moves on? I really like the look of the Ruzamovsky's (sp?) but of course, they look to be a bit busy.

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    2. Not sure Catherine ... I suspect Aliya may work with a team of specialists in.much the same way as Boguinskaia did after she so tragically lost her coach.
      A gymnast has a lot of coaches in her history and I know that for example Soviet junior coach Kozeev took a hand in Boguinskaia's training as well as Alexandrov and Ostapenko and a coach from.her home club in Minsk.
      Knowing Mustafina's past - she signed a document saying she didn't want Alexandrov with her on the podium in Moscow - I would guess it might be best to let her choose her own team. If that involves some competitive disasters along the way, she will learn.
      It is not unknown for athletes to be reunited with former coaches once the heat has gone out of any disagreement. But perhaps the marriage of a feisty Mustafina and fiery Alexandrov was just too hot to handle.
      Sadly, it leaves the current coaching team looking a bit like a shoal of cold fishes. Elfimov and Razumovsky are great personal coaches, but you can't imagine them leading a national team. Grebyonkin gave a great interview last month but it was all very cool and professional Where are the characters, the ones like Rotstorotski who would speak with courage and delight about their up and coming prospects?
      It is sad that Aliya and Alexandrov are no longer together. They were a compelling team. But they will both prevail. It is a tragedy for Russia to lose the last of a generation of unique and inspirational coaches. They just don't make them like Alexandrov any more.

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    3. I really loved hearing about Alexandrov and Boginskaya, and also Bizolerchev- really showed how multi-dimensional he was. I agree it's such a shame he's gone. Interesting, though I hope whoever concentrates on her floor is able to do some reworking! All eyes will be on her more than ever at Universiade. That's very very interesting about the document..definitely bad feeling or maybe a neccessity to have the coaches she wanted most with her for beam/bars? Though the fact he was originally on the roster makes the document a bit damning.

      Perhaps any potential characters are a bit too afraid of the Rodionenkos to be anything other than ordinary and hard working! Is the 'policy' of head coaches having no personal gymnasts being stuck to- I did hear Baturina is being coached by Grebenkin's wife but he did have others and never heard about them..?

      Thank you for your fabulous insight! Your translated interviews are just fantastic.

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  5. Thanks. It is a subject I love. I have some ideas about the coaching environment in Russia which I"m interested in building up into a full post. Basically, I don't think the Rodionenkos are as bad as they appear, Andrei is trying to professionalise things and it's not all worked to plan and Valentina is internationally a PR problem but domestically just your average outspoken Russian grandma. The way we perceive her is down to a cultural misunderstanding.
    It's surprising that things haven't worked with Alexandrov and I think there are a lot of reasons that his relationship with the Rs failed. But if you look at the persona of the 'new' coaching team under Rodionenko, Alexandrov is clearly very different, a complete individual. Not only did he not appear on the podium in Moscow, he also wasn't terribly visible in London - barely so in Brussels. I remember feeling very strongly last year at Europeans that something was very wrong for Alexandrov to be so elusive. The writing has been on the wall for more than a year, therefore, and it's only surprising that an experienced man like Alexandrov didn't cut his losses sooner. Perhaps he feels that Aliya needs protecting from something, or maybe there has been uncertainty over Rodionenko's position.

    The fact that the Ministry of Sport were prepared to pay Alexandrov as much as Aliya's personal coach as they did as national coach must say there was at least some support for him at policy level. I wondered for a while if Alexandrov was waiting for Rodionenko to leave the top job so that he could succeed him, but this hasn't happened yet.

    We all know about the Rodionenkos' family connections, and the how this has protected them from conflict with sports minister Mutko. I do not think Andrei really relishes the strain of the top job but on the other hand who else could do it? Especially with Alexandrov all that way away, in Brazil.

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    1. This is a lot to take in but it's great. Looking forward to your post!

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