Aliya Mustafina

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Aliya Mustafina
— Gymnast —
London 2012 Aliya Mustafina.jpg
Mustafina winning gold in the uneven bars final at the London Olympics on 6 August 2012
Personal information
Full name Aliya Fargatovna Mustafina
Country represented  Russia
Born (1994-09-30) 30 September 1994 (age 19)[1]
Yegoryevsk, Russia
Hometown Moscow, Russia
Height 5 feet 4 inches (1.63 m)[2]
Weight 51 kilograms (112 lb) [3]
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior International Elite
Years on national team 2007 –
Club CSKA Moscow
Gym "Lake Krugloe"
Head coach(es) Raisa Ganina
Former coach(es) Dina Kamalova
Alexander Alexandrov
Choreographer Olga Burova
Music 2008: "The Blue Danube"
2009–2010: "Hijo de la Luna"
2011: "Hood Jump"
2012: "Final Hour"
2013: "Queen of Hearts"
2013: "Soulseeker"
Eponymous skills Uneven Bars: 1½ twisting double back tuck dismount.

Aliya Fargatovna Mustafina (Russian: Алия́ Фарга́товна Муста́фина, Tatar Cyrillic: Алия Фәрһәт кызы Мостафина, Latin: Aliä Färhät qızı Mostafina; born 30 September 1994) is a Russian artistic gymnast who is the 2010 World individual all-around champion, the 2012 Olympic uneven bars champion, the 2013 World balance beam champion and the 2013 European champion in the all-around and on the uneven bars. Mustafina was the most decorated gymnast (and athlete in general, except for swimmers), male or female, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, having won four medals including the silver in the team all-around, the bronze in the individual all-around final, the gold in the uneven bars final, and the bronze in the floor final. She is considered by many to be one of the greatest gymnasts of all time.[4]

Early life[edit]

Aliya Mustafina was born on 30 September 1994 in Yegoryevsk, Russia into a middle-class family. Her father, Farhat Mustafin, an ethnic Tatar,[5] was a bronze medalist at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling, and her mother, Yelena Mustafina, née Kuznetsova, an ethnic Russian, is a physics teacher.[6][7][8] Her younger sister, Nailya, is also a gymnast and a former member of Russia's junior national team.

Asked about being compared with the former great Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina following her success at the 2010 World Championships, Mustafina said, "I have no idols and never have. Svetlana was, of course, an amazing gymnast".[9]

About her gymnastics role models, in 2009 Mustafina said, "I like Nastia Liukin, I adore her elegant and beautiful performances with difficult elements. I like especially her graceful uneven bars and balance beam. Among the Russians, I like Ksenia Afanasyeva. I respect her strong and beautiful gymnastics."[10]

Her former coach, Alexander Alexandrov, once said, "The girl is very talented, but with a difficult character. However, you don't find much complacency among champions."[5]

Junior career[edit]

2007[edit]

In March, Mustafina competed at International Gymnix in Montreal, Canada. She placed second in the all around competition with a score of 58.825.[11]

In April, Mustafina competed at the Zakharova Cup in Kyiv, Ukraine. She placed second in the all around competition with a score of 55.150.[12]

In September, Mustafina competed at the Junior International in Yokohama, Japan. She placed second in the all around competition with a score of 59.800. In event finals, she placed second on vault scoring 14.750, second on uneven bars scoring 15.250, second on balance beam scoring 15.450, and second on floor scoring 14.100.[13]

2008[edit]

In April, Mustafina competed at the European Championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France. She helped the Russian team finish in first place and individually she placed second with an all around score of 60.300. In event finals, she placed fourth on uneven bars scoring 14.475 and fourth on floor scoring 14.375.[14]

In November, Mustafina competed in the senior division at the Massilia Cup in Marseille, France. She placed sixth in the all around competition with a score of 57.300. In event finals, she placed fourth on vault scoring 13.950 and second on floor scoring 14.925.[15]

2009[edit]

In March, Mustafina competed at the Russian National Championships in Bryansk, Russia in the senior division. She won the all around competition with a score of 58.550.[16] In event finals, she placed second on uneven bars scoring 15.300, first on balance beam scoring 14.950, and third on floor scoring 14.700.[17] The new Russian head coach, Alexander Alexandrov said, "I'm also very happy that we have new, young gymnasts, one of whom, Aliya Mustafina, even won the Russian all around title. The trouble is that this year girls of that age cannot compete at senior international competitions."[18]

In July, Mustafina competed at the Japan Cup in Tokyo, Japan. She placed second in the all around competition with a score of 58.250. She said, "Generally I'm content with my performances today. I think I could show what I can do. However I am not satisfied with my performance at beam and the score was low. At bars I could hold a fine posture where I should and I could fly where I should. I felt the enthusiasm from the audience."[19]

In August, Mustafina competed at the Russian Cup in Penza, Russia in the senior division. She won the all around competition with a score of 59.434.[20]

In December, Mustafina competed at Gymnasiade in Doha, Qatar. She won the all around competition with a score of 57.350.[21] In event finals, she placed second on vault scoring 13.900, first on uneven bars scoring 14.825, first on balance beam scoring 14.175, and first on floor scoring 14.575.[22][23]

Senior career[edit]

Aliya Mustafina with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Judo Olympic silver medalist Alexander Mikhaylin

2010[edit]

In March, Mustafina was injured during a training session prior to the Russian National Championships and was unable to compete.[24]

In April, Mustafina competed at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup event in Paris, France. She placed fourth on uneven bars (after a directional error) scoring 14.500 and second on balance beam scoring 14.175.[25]

At the end of April, Mustafina competed at the European Championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom. She contributed an all around score of 58.175 toward the Russian team's first place finish. In event finals, she placed second on uneven bars scoring 15.050, second on balance beam scoring 14.375, and eighth on floor scoring 13.225.[26]

In August, Mustafina competed at the Russian Cup in Chelyabinsk, Russia. She won the all around competition with a score of 62.271. Russian coach, Valentina Rodionenko said, "Bravo Aliya, she won by a wide margin. We have tried hard, she was trying very hard, and here the results are apparent!"[27] In event finals, she placed second on vault scoring 13.963, first on uneven bars scoring 14.775, third on balance beam scoring 14.850, and first on floor scoring 15.300.[28][29]

In October, Mustafina competed at the World Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She made history, qualifying for all event finals, two of them in first place, as well as first in the all-around. Nobody had done that since 1996 (Shannon Miller and Svetlana Khorkina both had the same feat at the time). She contributed an all around score of 60.932 toward the Russian team's first place finish and individually she won the all around competition with a score of 61.032. In event finals, she placed second on vault scoring 15.066, second on uneven bars scoring 15.600, seventh on balance beam (after a fall) scoring 13.766, and second on floor scoring 14.766. She left Rotterdam with a total of five medals, more than any other artistic gymnast, male or female.[30] Andy Thornton from Universal Sports stated, "The story behind Aliya Mustafina's all-around gold today is that of a revived dynasty; the dominant Soviet women's team of the 1980s and early 1990s – whom many consider to represent the absolute epitome of artistic gymnastics – was dead and now reborn. In addition to leading her teammates to their country's first world title as an independent nation, Mustafina has delivered one of the great performances by a female gymnast ever – capturing the very same artistry, difficulty, and competitive composure that made her Soviet predecessors so beloved and revered. Mustafina's four-event arsenal is so well balanced it's hard to pick a favorite event to watch her on, and a win so convincing and undeniable as hers gives a satisfying sense of closure to a competition. She has established herself and her Russian teammates as the absolute gymnasts to watch over the next two years – and the gymnasts to beat."[31]

In November, Mustafina competed in the "Freddy Cup" Italian Grand Prix in Cagliari, Sardinia. She placed fourth on uneven bars scoring 13.570 and first on balance beam scoring 14.700.[32]

2011[edit]

Aliya Mustafina at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup event in Paris, France.

In March, Mustafina competed at the American Cup in Jacksonville, United States. She placed second in the all around competition with a score of 59.831, after leading the whole competition, yet experiencing a fall on floor - the very last event.[33]

Later in March, Mustafina competed at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup event in Paris, France. She placed second on vault scoring 14.433, first on uneven bars scoring 15.833, and first on balance beam scoring 15.333.[34]

In April, Mustafina competed at the European Championships Berlin, Germany. She qualified in first place for the all around final with a score of 59.750[35] but during the final she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee while landing an Amanar vault.[36] Russian coach, Valentina Rodionenko said, "It was thought to be an injured meniscus. The diagnosis was clarified through the imaging: rupture of the left anterior cruciate ligament. Aliya spent the night in the hospital and in the morning she was allowed to return to the hotel. They put on a tight bandage so there would be no swelling, because a lot of swelling causes problems for the surgery. Yesterday, Aliya came to the competition, rooting for our guys and girls. She also came today, of course. She's going through the normal emotional and psychological experience! She's a bright, capable child, and understands everything. Yes, the injury is serious. Bad, but not terrible. It requires surgery."[37]

Five days later, Mustafina had surgery at Sporthopaedicum in Straubing, Germany performed by German surgeon Dr. Michael J. Strobel. After the operation, Mustafina said, "I ache a little, but not too much, yesterday was worse. And I have strong pain killers. Thanks to the Internet I've been communicating with friends and time flies quickly, so there's less focus on the pain. Tatiana Nabieva called me here today on Skype, and I talked a lot with the other girls." Russian coach, Andrei Rodionenko said, "Aliya feels good. She feels positive and wants to get back home. The doctor said that the operation was successful, including the improved position of the meniscus, and the post-operative MRI confirmed what they said. On Friday there will be the post-op examination, and after that we will learn when we can leave the clinic. We must say thank you so much to Dr. Strobel. He said his surgeries are booked for the next six months but he got involved with us and immediately arranged to help Aliya. And this is something not everyone can recover from. Therefore, all advice will be strictly followed. Maybe from a medical perspective it's not that complicated. The typical man recovers from this surgery 100 percent. But Aliya has a serious athletic career ahead of her. Therefore, we chose the clinic and the doctor very carefully. And we decided on Straubing - they not only operate perfectly, but they have perfected the rehabilitation process so I understand."

In May, Mustafina returned to Germany for a check-up on her knee. Valentina Rodionenko said, "The doctor who operated on Aliya is pleased with how she's recovering."[38] She later added, "(We) are not going to force things. Her treatment must go as is. We have decided to trust in the advice of the expert who operated on her in Munich. We will follow through. And only when we are told that she can proceed with training will we go forward. It's important to save her for the Olympic Games."[39]

In July, Mustafina was only doing upper body conditioning and rehabilitation on her leg. Alexander Alexandrov said, "The German doctors recommended completely avoiding any loading whatsoever on the leg she had the operation on, because in order for the knee to recover fully, it cannot be forced at all. So, Aliya is not doing any exercises that include jumping. First the leg has to be brought back into shape and the muscle functions need to be recovered. That is pretty dreary work."[40]

In August, after in the Russian team was announced for World Championships, Valentina Rodionenko said, "Aliya really wanted to go to worlds — her heart and soul are literally crying, 'I can do it! I'm ready!' But we do not want to risk costing her the Olympics, and her surgeon in Germany said that she can start real training only in December. She just thinks she's ready now. But she does not really understand what she will face. She must be protected. Sometimes it takes years for people to recover from these injuries, and she hasn't even had five months."[41]

In December, Mustafina returned to competition at the Voronin Cup in Moscow, Russia. She placed fourth in the all around and second on uneven bars with a score of 15.475. She said, "I am happy with the competition and my performance. I really wanted to compete because it's the first start after the April injury. Of course, there are still some limitations I encounter during training. We can say that my recovery is still ongoing."[42] Alexander Alexandrov added, "I was pleasantly surprised and happy about her first meet. She didn't do her full routines and full difficulty, but she tried what she was ready for at the time and for me it was enough to see. She was nervous, even though her goal was just to compete, to see how she does after eight months off and how well she could handle the pressure and how her knee would feel. I came up up to her and said, 'Well, it seems like you're not very nervous at all and I'm surprised!' and she said, 'Look at my hands, Alexander!' and her hands were shaking. 'Maybe I'm not showing that I'm nervous, but inside I have butterflies!'"[43]

2012[edit]

In March, Mustafina competed at the Russian National Championships in Penza, Russia. Before the competition, Alexander Alexandrov said, "Right now we don't want to force her back. Even in March at the Russian championships I'm not expecting her to be in 100 percent shape, probably 75 to 80 percent. Today she has all her skills but they are not all together (ready for competition). On vault she's doing soft landings and she also hasn't shown her new skills on bars. It's going to be a work in progress — the main goal is the Olympics."[43] She won the all around competition with a score of 59.533.[44] In event finals, she placed first on uneven bars scoring 16.220[45] and fifth on balance beam scoring 13.680.[46]

In May, Mustafina competed at the European Championships in Brussels, Belgium. She contributed scores of 15.166 on vault, 15.833 on uneven bars, and 13.933 on floor toward the Russian team's second place finish.[47]

In June, Mustafina competed at the Russian Cup in Penza, Russia. She placed second in the all around competition, behind Victoria Komova, with a score of 59.167.[48] In event finals, she placed first on uneven bars scoring 16.150,[49] second on balance beam scoring 15.000, and first on floor scoring 14.750.[50]

2012 London Olympics[edit]

Mustafina (center) with her gold medal at the uneven bars final.

At the end of July, Mustafina competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. She helped the Russian team qualify in second place and individually she qualified to the all around final in fifth place with a score of 59.966.[51] She also qualified in fifth place for the uneven bars final scoring 15.700 and in eighth place for the floor final scoring 14.433.[52] In the team final, Mustafina contributed an all around score of 60.266 towards the Russian team's second place finish.[53]

In the all around final, Mustafina finished in third place with a score of 59.566.[54] She was tied with American Aly Raisman but after tie-breaking rules were applied Mustafina was awarded the bronze medal, even though she had scored lower than Raisman in all but the uneven bars apparatus. She said, "I performed well apart from the beam (but) I was not totally confident that I would get a medal, even a Bronze – any fall is very bad and it is very difficult to finish in the top three after a fall like that."[55]

In the uneven bars final, Mustafina won the gold medal with a score of 16.133.[56] She said, "I did not believe I could do it. Of course when I got the bronze medal I became more confident. I am very happy and very happy to be following in the Russian tradition."[57] She added, "I am very, very happy I've won gold. Every medal represents its own thing. I was hoping very much to win and I was very happy with my routine. I didn't know what to expect of myself today."[58] Mustafina's gold medal in the uneven bars final ended Russia's Olympic gymnastics gold medal drought that lasted for 12 years.[59]

In the floor final, Mustafina placed third with a score of 14.900.[60] Her score was the same as Italian Vanessa Ferrari but after tie-breaking procedures Mustafina was awarded the bronze medal, as she had a higher E score. She said, "I didn't expect a medal when I did my floor exercise but I liked how the competition ended. I'm very happy and very tired."[61]

On August 7, 2012, the Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov congratulated Aliya following the Olympic success.[62] On August 15, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Mustafina the Order of Friendship at a special ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow for her achievements at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She was one of 33 Russian athletes to receive the award.[63]

After the Olympics, in December, she competed at the DTB Stuttgart World Cup, where the Russian team finished first.[64]

2013[edit]

At the 2013 Russian National Championships, Mustafina successfully defended her All-Around title with a score of 59.850. She scored a 15.450 on beam, 15.500 on bars, 13.600 on floor a 15.300 on vault. These results qualified her to the balance beam and uneven bars finals in first place, and also to the floor exercise final in third.[65] Mustafina received a silver medal in the team all-around competition along with the rest of the Moscow Central team members. She had qualified to three event finals, but withdrew from all but one in order to protect her knee. She finished in third place in the uneven bars final, behind Anastasia Grishina and Tatiana Nabieva respectively, after a directional error.[citation needed]

Mustafina also won the All-Around and team titles at the Stella Zakharova Cup. In event finals, she won gold on uneven bars and silver on balance beam after counting a fall on the latter.[66]

At the 2013 European Championships in Moscow, Mustafina had a rough start in qualifications, falling twice off the balance beam and qualifying 4th in All-Around with a score of 56.057.[67] In the All-Around final, Mustafina scored 15.033 on vault, 15.133 on uneven bars, 14.400 on balance beam and 14.466 on floor, winning the All-Around title with a score of 59.032; this was her first individual European title.[68] The next day she competed in the uneven bars event final and won with a score of 15.300.[69] She had originally qualified to the floor exercise final in third,[70] but withdrew, giving her spot to teammate Anastasia Grishina, who had been left out of the final due to the two-per-country rule.[71]

In July, Mustafina competed at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia, alongside teammates Ksenia Afanasyeva, Maria Paseka, Tatiana Nabieva and Anna Dementyeva. Prior to the competition, Mustafina's participation had been put under a question mark, after she had been hospitalized for a few days because of flu. In the team competition, which also served as a qualification round for the individual finals, Mustafina contributed with scores of 13.750 on floor, 14.950 on vault, 15.000 on uneven bars and 15.200 on beam[72] toward Russia's first place finish.[73] She qualified in first for both the all-around final[74] and the uneven bars final,[75] as well as beam[76] and floor finals.[77] In the all-around finals, she won the title with a score of 57.900.[78] Mustafina won gold in the uneven bars final, and a silver medal in the balance beam final. In the floor final she suffered a fall at the last tumbling pass and finished ninth.[79]

In October, just after turning 19, Mustafina competed at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. Prior to the competition, Mustafina had been sick for weeks and started experiencing heavy pain in her knees. She had a rough start in qualifications, falling on the first tumbling pass on floor (two whips into a double Arabian) and crashing her second vault (round-off half-on 1/1 twist off). This caused her to miss the finals in both events. However, she still managed a total of 57.165, qualifying 5th for the all-around final, 5th for uneven bars and 8th for the balance beam event final. In the All-Around final, Mustafina finished third with a total of 58.856, behind Kyla Ross and Simone Biles of the United States, clearly ahead of the fourth athlete, Romanian Larisa Iordache. She had a clean competition with no major mistakes, scoring 14.891 on vault, 15.233 on uneven bars, 14.166 on balance beam and a 14.566 on floor.[80] In the uneven bars final she scored 15.033 and finished in third place, behind Huang Huidan and Kyla Ross. She also successfully debuted a new low to high bar transition in the final: a full-twisting Maloney (or Seitz) caught in a mixed grip. However, the exercise she presented in the final was of .200 points lower difficulty than that in qualifications and the AA final, due to a transition blunder from the lower bar back to the higher. In the beam final, she gave a commanding performance and won her first world beam title with a score of 14.900, ahead of Kyla Ross and Simone Biles. Immediately after receiving her score, she unsuccessfully appealed her D score of 6.0. Both Ross and Biles, who competed after Mustafina, successfully appealed their own D scores, gaining .100 and .200 points, respectively, yet did not exceed Mustafina's overall score (though Biles moved from 5th to 3rd place). With this medal, Mustafina achieved the rare feat of having a World medal on every event, the first person to do this since Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina.

In her last competition of 2013, Mustafina helped her team finish second at the Stuttgart World Cup by contributing on balance beam.

2014[edit]

Mustafina began her 2014 competitive season on April 3 by successfully defending the her Russian naitonal all-around title with scores of 14.733 with a double-twisting Yurchenko vault, 14.333 on uneven bars, 15.400 on balance beam, and 15.100 on floor exercise.[81]

In May, hampered by an ankle injury, she competed at the 2014 European Women's Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. She competed on two apparatus in qualifications, Uneven Bars and Balance Beam. She qualified to both finals with a 15.100 and 14.233 respectively. In the team final, Mustafina contributed a 14.700 on vault, a 15.166 on bars and a 14.800 on the beam. She led the inexperienced Russian team to a third place finish behind Great Britain and Romania, who took silver and gold. respectively.[82] In event finals, she placed second on the uneven bars with a score of 15.266, and third on balance beam with a score of 14.733.

Competitive history[edit]

Mustafina's trademarks are her elegance, strong all-around abilities, focused demeanor and consistency. Her best event is the bars, where she displays a high level of difficulty and originality, and her weakest tended to be beam where she had been inconsistent until winning the World title on it in 2013.

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
2007 Japan Junior International 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd
Gymnix International 2nd 2nd 1st
Stella Zakharova Cup 2nd 4th 6th
2008 European Championships (Junior) 1st 2nd 4th 4th
Massilia Gym Cup 7th 4th 2nd
2009 National Championships 1st 1st 2nd 1st 3rd
Japan Cup 2nd 2nd
Russian Cup 1st
Gymnasiade 1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st 1st
2010 Paris World Cup 4th 2nd
European Championships 1st 2nd 2nd 8th
Japan Cup 1st 3rd
Russian Cup 2nd 1st 3rd 1st
Holland Invitational 1st 1st
World Championships 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 7th 2nd
Italian Grand Prix 4th 1st
Toyota International 1st 2nd 1st
Voronin Cup 1st 1st 1st
2011 American Cup 2nd
Paris World Cup 1st 1st 1st
European Championships 24th WD WD WD WD
Voronin Cup 6th 2nd
2012 National Championships 1st 1st 1st 5th
Switzerland vs. Great Britain vs. Russia 1st 1st
European Championships 2nd
Russian Cup 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st
Olympic Games 2nd 3rd 1st 3rd
Stuttgart World Cup 1st
2013 National Championships 2nd 1st 3rd WD WD
Stella Zakharova Cup 1st 1st 1st 2nd
European Championships 1st 1st WD
Universiade 1st 1st 1st 2nd 9th
World Championships 3rd 3rd 1st
Stuttgart World Cup 2nd
2014 National Championships 2nd 1st 6th 3rd WD
European Championships 3rd 2nd 3rd
Russian Cup 1st
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
2014 European Championships Sofia Team 3 169.329 3 170.621
Uneven Bars 2 15.266 2 15.100
Balance Beam 3 14.733 4 14.233
2013 World Championships Antwerp All-Around 3 58.856 5 57.165
Vault 10 14.366
Uneven Bars 3 15.033 5 14.900
Balance Beam 1 14.900 8 14.133
Floor Exercise 25 13.166
European Championships Moscow All-Around 1 59.032 4 56.057
Uneven Bars 1 15.300 1 15.025
Balance Beam 40 11.666
Floor Exercise WD 3 14.300
2012 Olympic Games London Team 2 178.530 2 180.429
All-Around 3 59.566 5 59.966
Uneven Bars 1 16.133 5 15.700
Balance Beam 12 14.700
Floor Exercise 3 14.900 8 14.433
European Championships Brussels Team 2 175.536 2 172.562
Uneven Bars 5 14.533
Floor Exercise 32 12.966
2011 European Championships Berlin All-Around 24 15.375 1 59.750
Vault WD 3 14.487
Uneven Bars WD 1 15.600
Balance Beam WD 1 14.900
Floor Exercise WD 2 14.525
2010 World Championships Rotterdam Team 1 175.397 1 234.521
All-Around 1 61.032 1 60.666
Vault 2 15.066 1 15.283
Uneven Bars 2 15.600 4 15.300
Balance Beam 7 13.766 6 14.933
Floor Exercise 2 14.766 1 14.833
European Championships Birmingham Team 1 169.700 1 168.325
Uneven Bars 2 15.050 2 15.200
Balance Beam 2 14.375 2 14.750
Floor Exercise 8 13.225 2 14.325

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  29. ^ "International Gymnast Magazine Online - Khorokhordin Wins Twice as Russian Cup Concludes". Intlgymnast.com. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
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External links[edit]