Saturday 23 June 2012

So Close Saturday

Russian Delight

Earlier this week I was disappointed to hear that Russian gymnast Anna Pavlova was not one of the eight women who had been named to Russia's Olympic training squad ending both her 2012 Olympic journey and my hopes of seeing her in London. She is a powerful vaulter and tumbler and for many years Anna Pavlova has delighted us with her skill and her artistry, yet she is one of the many popular gymnasts who has never taken a major title.

Anna Pavlova has graced us with her presence at two Olympic Games, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. And I don't use the word 'graced' lightly. Watching Anna Pavlova perform has been a highlight of many events to me. Her grace, style and elegance set her apart from other gymnasts particularly on floor and beam. She moves beautifully and her balletic style of dance on the floor exercise make her routines a joy to watch.

Yet despite her fabulous gymnastics, Anna has never won a gold or even a silver medal at world level competition. She has helped her team to two bronze medals, in the Athens Olympics in 2004 and the 2006 World Championships. Individually, she has only ever taken one medal at world level, a bronze medal on vault in the Athens 2004 Olympics. At European level she has been more successful, winning 1 beam bronze medal, 2 silvers on vault and an all around silver in the 2005 European Championships. Yet a title at international level has always alluded her.

My hopes that her Olympic run would continue this year have already been thwarted, despite her placing 5th all around in the 2012 Russian Cup and coming 1st on vault. With so many excellent young gymnasts in Russia at the moment I suppose that it could be seen as inevitable that she wouldn't make the final cut. However, I will certainly miss seeing Anna Pavlova in London this summer.

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