Friday, 19 June 2015

The return of Viktoria Komova

This week saw the return of Vika to serious competition, finally. I realise she performed at the Mexican Open late last year, but I see that as a more of a tentative practice run.

Long story short, she looks good. I was not expecting such a nice DTY and her floor difficulty. I was, however, expecting some issues with adjusting to her height in an otherwise clean, crisp, beautiful bars routine and a beam routine marred by wobbles and we did get those but all in all, she showed immense promise here.

I'm unconvinced though of a few things. For one: upgrades. An amanar does not look viable, especially considering her growth. I think she'd be better off focusing on a lovely DTY capable of scoring 15-15.2 range. One good thing the code has done is reduce the margin between the two vaults and therefore disincentivise dodgy amanars. Her floor difficulty looks a bit ambitious to me. Yes, yes, first big meet back after so many injuries and absences, but I do question even with time her ability to throw those passes consistently, especially given that she has famed endurance issues. Floor comes last, and this competition was spread over 2 days so it's a little hard to tell. One thing that I'd like to see done is ditch the 1.5, she'd have an easier time without really losing out if she just did a stag from the double arabian. Her twisting was ganky to say the least, perhaps switching it for a 2.5 would mean she'd have an easier time, and save on execution deductions. And to further conserve her, a double tuck instead of pike at the end. I realise she needs more difficulty not less to contend, but the landings on the DLO and double arabian didn't inspire me with confidence and she could do with some saved energy to actually.have.choreography. This was a fairly miserable routine and it doesn't matter to me if you look stunning by putting your arm in the air by dint of exquisite line/carriage/dance training. It sucks and it makes a mockery of the idea of a routine melding dance and expression with tumbling. Give me a flexed-footed crappy leaper like even *gasp* Mykayla Skinner, she legit performs.

I also don't fancy her chances of bringing back the Patterson but I do think the Fabrichnova is achievable and would be great to cap off that bar routine with. Hopefully with more time in the gym she can get used to her height. Maybe take some tips from watching the likes of Kyla Ross or closer to home, Svetlana Khorkina,.who I can just imagine eye-rolling at every whack off the low bar! I'm hoping that she can become more confident on beam too, which of course, is also a big adjustment after growing quite a bit.

I feel positive after seeing her performance, but I'm reticent too due to her long-standing endurance issues, long-standing ability to slip on a banana peel and be out for 6 months and long-standing ability to rise hopes before dashing them again. Long live her strong return to the sport, certainly we saw more from her than I would have thought possible. But I will hold myself back from outright glowing optimism.

What are your thoughts on her return? Prospects of contending for an AA medal? Will be see less anaemic choreography or is the routine doomed? Can she be kept away from dangerous things like curbs and the side of mats?


30 comments:

  1. I think Vika has a lot of potential but as Catherine said I'm unsure. We know what she has done but no longer know what she is capable of. The one event she shined on is unfortunately her countries strongest. With Paseka, Alla, Afanaseva, and even Aliya talking about doing Amanars or having Chengs she is not ready nor needed there. As we all know she has or had to be fair, endurance issues and with multiple leg issues I'm unsure if she can impact there. Right now I'm not saying she can't be Olymic Vika but as of today she looks like a bars beam specialist . Beam will be the easiest event for her to improve on by Worlds. However I do worry because I do believe she is still vital to the Russian Federation. Besides Aliya there is no true all arounder , although Seda looked great and I think she will impact a team I don't think she is ready for that pressure . They are relying on Vika to return to form. Their depth is increasing as there are more contenders this year and even next (Angelina Melnikova). It will all come down to choices and with the Rodienkos in charge they are sometime questionable. At least 6 or seven girls bring something to the table but as of now I'm unsure where Vika fits. For world's yes there are six but she will need to improve if she wants a ticket to Rio

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  2. Between her and gabby they both grew. Looks like vika is a lil ahead of gabby in ub right now but I think gabby is slightly ahead in AA... just wonder if gabby will b able to get her amanar bk which would put her in front of vika .... but does looks like both their best days were bk in 2012...

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    1. Maybe but from a team standpoint they are in different situations. The US doesn't need Gabby. If she does well then great she might make the team if not there is a girl just as good if not better waiting for her spot. Russia cannot say the same. Vika has a way easier task to regain her position in Russia than Gabby does in USA. So to compare where they are doesn't really matter when in a sense they are battling teammates for spots. Just my opinion

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  3. Its crazy but it looks like musty will continue to be the dominant force for Russia for a while. we all thought vika was the one which would've taken over that role.. she was really that good and had the potential but I think now that won't happen. rumor is that musty might try to get her amanar back. not completely impossible although with her current dty form that wont look pretty at all. just also gonna say that Russia complaint of grace and artistry but I don't think they could mean that on vt because they're anything but on vt.

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    1. I actually disagree with your argument about her vault. If you look at her qualification vault it is higher and cleaner (in the first twist) then the ones she has been performing. Not to mention she is very upright, more that usual, I have full expectations to see an amanar next year IMO.

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  4. I was smart enough to lower my expectations immensely, something I think Vika fans have a hard time doing. As such, I was more or less pleased with what I saw. The only surprise came on floor, such ambitious tumbling. It's too much too soon, she lacked the power and timing. That combination pass in particular showed no acceleration. I think given time she may be able to pull it off, but then there are Vika's endurance issues, I almost forgot about that. I can see a downgraded version of this routine as a better possibility, closer to the version you envisioned. The DLO could be kept as the opening pass just as long as she builds up power and doesn't have to expend too much energy on the other tumbles.

    Yet another example of the faulty "Russian artistry" in her floor routine: there was none unless you count beautiful carriage, graceful arm waving, and inane supple gestures as artistry. Granted, floor artistry has never, contrary to popular belief, been Vika's strong point, but still, would it kill them to add a bit of actual choreography and expression?

    Anyway, bars doesn't concern me too much. Other than trouble getting acclimated to her height, she did well. She is not as error free as she used to be and she still is showing a hit and miss record on UB, so let's hope she can at least manage consistency. Her beam has always been underwhelming to me. When she gets something right she gets it really right, like her floaty standing arabian. But otherwise her performances are often accompanied by big wobbles and/or long pauses and breaks.

    Her DTY was very nice, but an Amanar is out of the question. Vika's Amanars were never that good to begin with anyway.

    Aside from Komova's return we got to see Aliya back in action and I continue to be amazed by her abilities. Not that she didn't have her problems too - I worry about her on floor and beam; beam especially is precarious and her D-score continues to fluctuate on both events. I do love the wonderful dance elements that she attempts, particularly that spin combo at the beginning. But let's face it, she is extremely hit and miss on them, sometimes spectacularly so, sometimes dubiously receiving credit where she shouldn't. It's a gamble that also leaves less time for choreography. I actually like this floor routine more than last years in terms of choreography and music, even though there is little dance to actually be had. It's of a different mood and affect than her usual intense and dramatic style, more ethereal and roseate. And is it just me or has Musty's twisting form improved just a teensy tiny (like, really tiny) bit? Like it's gone from perfectly horrific to just really bad. Her bars are better than last year and she seriously floats that DTY.

    However, I reserve my biggest praise for Seda though. Finally it feels as if she is truly coming into her own. She's got all the freshness, verve and dynamism that her teammates are lacking. She doesn't have to huff her way through a floor EX. Fingers crossed that she performs well in beam finals!

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    1. I agree quite a bit with you. Seda definitely made the biggest impression on me, too. Too bad she had a fall!
      I also agree floor artistry has never been Vika's strong suit and I do think Aliya's twisting isn't as horrendous anymore. After the TF I thought it was worse if anything, but in the AA and EF I thought I saw improvement.

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    2. I think Aliya's twisting form is just as bad as before, it's just emphasized less. In the past she had the 5/2 and the triple. Now she only does the 5/2 and two 3/2's. Her twisting form only gets flexed, bent, and crossed when she double twists or higher. Which is why the two 3/2's would leave the impression that her form has improved.

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  5. I don't know how to respond to Vika. I wasn't one of her 2010/2011 converts and I always find it more difficult to support athletes who have loud and obnoxious fans, much as it shouldn't affect how I view their gymnastics, and so I've always tended to be a bit cynical of her. Ultimately, I'm still left wondering when she'll put all the pieces together. I don't know what I see for her floor as is. For now, I only see her filling a bars/beam spot.

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  6. I was very happy to see Vika back. While she didn't have her 2012 routines, I'm still quite satisfied with her performance. I also noticed that she's more mature now. No longer prone to childish tantrums after receiving low scores. She was also noticeably patient during her beam exercise. She didn't give up easily, unlike during the London Games.

    On another note, I enjoyed Lieke Wevers in the Euro Games. Such a beautiful floor routine. Her beam was also beautiful.

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    1. Yeah a couple time during beam looks like she was off but made good effort to save... the old vika just probably not hang on.... just not sure how much she can improve bk on vt and fx... she still has a long way to go...

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  7. Ah! I see your new computer allowed to follow gymnasts and post on your blog! I hope we'll see more frequent posts.

    I felt the same about Komova overall - her floor was quite the surprise given the difficulty she showed at the meet in Hungary, but also a let down as she just walks around the floor. I agree with November too, it's not as if she ever had a fabulous choreography, despite being capable of hitting lovely shapes.

    I think she has the goods still to snag a medal, especially this year where the top of the field remains thin. She would certainly need to master or even improve her current program, but she has the talent.

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  8. Can we have a pan am team discussion post?

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    1. That;ll be good too. I do have question: How did Brenna get back on US national team list? The news post that she is deferring her 2nd yr at UO went up 6/9 but the updated national team list dated 6/10 (current one) showing her name. So does that mean Marta somehow giving her a break at last by fast track her back on national team list? She still got a long shot to make it to Worlds though

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    2. Brenna was never taken off of the national team, because she never officially "retired." So unless you communicate to the national team staff that your done, i.e. Alexis Vasquez and Elizabeth Price, your still part of the team until the next national's.

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    3. That's real interesting to know. I didn't know that's even possible. Wonder if that was kind of her strategy all along to not announce her official retirement even though she went to college. she might be one of the only eligible US national team member eligible for Universidad games...

      Well, good luck to her. I saw her super duper bars from first day at p&g last yr and was fairly impressed. too bad she couldn't hold on for 2nd day.. I just wish marta would've let her compete back in 2013 instead of sitting her. I mean nothing again Mac but Brenna could've at least maybe try to into the bars final. Mac wasn't gonna be able to overtake Kyla to be in the running for AA anyway. Oh well...

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    4. Brazil's Rebeca Andrade has torn her ACL :(

      I was excited to see how she stacks against the Americans at Pan Ams because of all the upgrades we have seen so far like the 1 1/2 full in on floor, bars and the Amanar, but I guess not. It is such a shame and hopefully Alexandrov will work his magic to help her recover her program. I hope she will take the time to increase her D score on bars (ala Mustafina) and blow away the competition next year. Fingers crossed.

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    5. Madison Desch Rachel Gowey Amelia Hundley Emily Schild Megan Skaggs

      So what is the thought on this PanAm team? How competitive are they? I am a lil disappoint that Nia didn't make it. looks like she's kinda behind this year. Anyway good to see Gowey back.

      Sucks that Andrade torn her ACL. She would've made good contribution to the Brazil team.

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    6. I also hoped Nia would make it, I really want to see how she looks. I guess I can keep hoping maybe she didn't make it because she is too good...

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    7. I think the AA final will be quite interesting. TF hopefully still interesting. Anyone knows what's the other teams look like?

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  9. It looks like Flavia Saraiva and Jade Barbosa are on the Brazilian team. Flavia should factor into AA and EFs. I don't know if Cuba is sending a gymnastics team or not; they've qualified both a MAG and WAG team for Pan Am Games, but had several MAG gymnasts defect to the US during last summer's Pan Am Championships in Canada. I hope they do send a team because I'd love to see Yesenia Ferrara and think she could also be in the mix for AA and EFs. Plus, Ellie Black and Jessica Lopez will be there, so the AA and EFs should be entertaining and hopefully competitive.

    As far as TF, I think the US should get gold fairly easily. The Canadian team is decent (Ellie Black, Maegan Chant, Victoria Kayen-Woo, Madison Copiak, Isabela Onyshko) and looks good for silver. I don't know who else is on Brazil's team and don't know who is on Mexico's team (but probably Elsa Garcia is). I think bronze will likely be between Brazil and Mexico, maybe Cuba too if they send a full team. I hope the TF will be close because it's so much more fun to watch, but probably the main contest will just be for bronze.

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    1. Cuba is sending a team and unfortunately Ferrara is not on it due to injury :/. I disagree with you for TF, USA got it in the bag obviously but I think Brazil can contend for silver with Canada, it will be close between them.

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    2. If Andrade was in the mix, I think brazil would be much more competitive but given she's out til at least rio, this does not look good for them here... Still I think silver and bronze won't be quite a given.

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    3. Yeah, I'm bummed about Andrade's injury. Also bummed that Yesenia isn't competing for Cuba. :(

      Lauren Hopkins posted the average scores by athlete by event for each of the teams competing at Pan Ams. The US is more than 7 points ahead of Canada for the averaged team total. Canada looks pretty secure for silver as their averaged total is about 5 points higher than Brazil. Mexico is only 1.4 points behind Brazil, so bronze could be close. After that is Cuba, trailing Mexico by about 5 points. (The crazy thing is that simply adding Yesenia Ferrara to the team would raise Cuba's total by 7-9 points, probably securing them the bronze and possibly challenging for silver.)

      Unless the US and/or Canada melt down, gold and silver are both pretty locked up. We'll see if bronze goes to Brazil or Mexico. I'd like the competition to be super close for third, at least. TFs are best when they come down to the last athlete, and we get so few of those lately.

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    4. You have the link for this post by Lauren with the numbers? I am real curious. thnx.

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    5. Yep, here's the link:
      http://my-bff-nastia.tumblr.com/post/123602348264/as-always-heres-a-look-at-what-we-might-expect

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    6. Hmm, those vt scores are a bit low. Given that we will likely see DTY from everyone from US, that should definitely raise it up. Same with other teams as I expect a few more DTY for them too... If Emily schild can repeat her 14.5 ub she would likely make the ub final... I hope everyone will score higher than what's on that page..

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  11. 173.8 for US B/C team at Pan Am. Not too bad. Gowey got the best scores on the 2 events she competed. Desch improved on her Jesolo score even with her fall. I hope she will go 4 for 4 in AA and show everyone that she is certainly capable of scoring 58+...

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  12. Well, they got the expected TF medal but I think marta is a little disappointed with this B PanAm team. Sad to see Maddie and Rachel didn't have the best ending. Good that Skagg and Hundley saved the silver. I think marta underestimate the competition this time.. Ellie had a great time at home...

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