Will the victories of Russian gymnasts be incomplete in the absence of Olympic champions?
The Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship kicks off in Japan. For Russian gymnasts, this championship could become an opportunity to prove that they are the strongest in the world, and the victories of the Bulgarian team and Lina Ashram at the Olympics were an accident. Or, conversely, another defeat of the Russians would prove that the decisions of the judges at the Tokyo Games were fair.
But we will not see the fight against the main competitors of the Russians. The Israel national team with Ashram and the Bulgarian team will not participate in the World Cup. Were they afraid of revenge?
For the first time in a long time, the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships will be held in the same year as the Olympic Games, postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recall that at the Olympics, Russian gymnasts sensationally became only the second. Moreover, it was not possible to win gold both to the multiple world champion Dina Averina, performing in the individual all-around, and to the Russian gymnasts performing in the group.
The first place in the individual all-around at the 2020 Olympics was given by the judges to the Israeli Lina Ashram, who allowed the object to fall in the exercise with the ribbon. The marks of Dina Averina, in whose performance there were no serious mistakes, allowed her to take only second place.
Irina Viner-Usmanova, President of the All-Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation, Russian coaches and athletes have repeatedly spoken about their disagreement with the marks and condemned the work of judges at the Olympics. Nevertheless, the FIG technical committee for rhythmic gymnastics did not reveal any irregularities in the work of judges at the Olympics and called the results in the individual all-around and in group exercises fair.
At the same time, Israeli coaches call Ashram’s victory fair. Israeli mentor Ayelet Zussman stated that “everyone who stood on the podium should have been there” and expressed regret that “people do not know how to lose with dignity.” Another Ashram coach, Elena Kopylenko, said that the Israeli woman managed to win due to the difficulty of the program – the coaches and the athlete worked on this for several months before the Olympics. And that is why the result of Ashram at the previous European Championship differs from the results of the Olympiad.
Based on the words of the Israeli coaches, it seems quite logical that Lina Ashram should take part in the World Championship, again bypass the Averins and prove to everyone who disagrees that her victory was not accidental. However, a month and a half before the World Championship, news appeared that Linoy Ashram would not take part in the competition. It is not surprising that the question arose – was Ashram really scared of revenge? However, it is worth paying attention to the fact that the entire Israeli national team will not take part in the championship. And, according to foreign media reports, this is due to the internal system of work of the Israeli national team, where coaches and athletes are recruited for the Olympic cycle, and now the coaching staff and the team are simply not formed.
Would the whole national team refuse the championship out of fear that Ashram would lose to Averin? Unlikely. The ashram has already won the main start of the five-year period, and it does not have to prove anything to anyone. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in her pass of the World Championship.
The same was done, for example, by members of the Russian men’s artistic gymnastics team. The athletes became the best at the Tokyo Olympics, but did not take part in the World Championships held in Japan two months after the Olympics.
“Bulgarian team is the best”
Unexpected was the announcement of the skipping of the World Championship by the Bulgarian team, which won gold at the Tokyo Olympics. The reason for withdrawal from the competition is the injury of gymnast Laura Traats.
“Yesterday our team had two trainings, and after the second Laura Traats felt very strong and sharp pain. A consultation was immediately held with the team doctor, who decided that Laura’s injury was serious and the team’s participation was impossible! ” – noted in the statement of the federation on Facebook.
More recently, “Bulgarian Irina Viner-Usmanova” Iliana Raeva said that it was the Bulgarian athletes who were favorites throughout the Olympic cycle and there is nothing surprising in their victory over the Russians in Tokyo.
“Our team has been head and shoulders above all other teams all these five years. If we didn’t win, it’s only because of our mistakes or injuries. There is no more worthy team than the Bulgarian one. The judges at the table could not say that black is white.
Losing is probably very difficult. But you have to endure and admit that the Bulgarian team is the best. I’m not that serious about it. We must stop and respect the Bulgarian team more. They need to remember what a Bulgarian school is, ”BTV Novinite quoted Raeva as saying.
The Russian side, of course, cannot agree with this. Still, from 2017 to 2021, the Bulgarian team did not win a single gold in the all-around at major tournaments.
Nevertheless, the 2020 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships could give Russian women the opportunity to take revenge for the Olympics, but this will not happen. Apparently, Russian gymnasts will prove their superiority over the Bulgarians in the summer of 2022 at the European Championships, which, by the way, will be held in Bulgaria.
We will not see a beautiful fight between the Olympic champions from Bulgaria and Israel against the Russian women at the World Championships. And for Russian gymnasts, skipping the tournament by these teams is not very pleasant, since the victory in this case will not be entirely complete – after all, Olympic champions do not take part in the competition. All that remains for Russian gymnasts is to flawlessly carry out their programs and, despite the absence of competitors, win well-deserved gold awards.