Over the years, I’ve learned not to expect anything from junior gymnasts. Nada, zilch, zero, nothing. The truth is that the least of promising-juniors-that-turned-out-to-be-disappointing-seniors is pretty endless: Kristal Uzelac, Nadazhda Ivanova, and Sabina Cojocar, to name a few (and from three different countries, too!). Honestly, in all my years as a fan (which I admit haven’t been very many, considering I’m young), I feel that the only gymnast who has truly managed to live up to the hype is Nastia Liukin, and the cynic in me believes that that’s probably only because people were writing her off by 2007.
I’ve also learned not to expect anything from zee Russians. I mean, really. If the Fab Four (I mean, Yelena Produnova, Svetlana Khorkina, Yekatarina Lobaznyuk, and Yelena Zamolodchikova) were not even capable of kicking some major Romanian booty in Sydney, what hope is there for the rest of them? Even when they’re at their best, there is always that unforseen extremely unfortunate factor that ruins the all fun (e.g. the vault was set too low; Anna Pavlova experienced momentary amnesia and forgot her floor routine, resulting in self-destruction; Yekatarina Kramarenko miscalculated her run to the springboard; Pavs really had to pee and just could not wait for the darn green light).
So there you have it. Extraordinarily successful juniors and zee Russians are cursed. There’s no other way around it.
You know what the worst possible combination is? Yes, you got it! Russian juniors! Oh, God. The more talent these little pixies show, the more terrified I become that something’s gonna break them.
There is one Russian junior, in particular, that I’ve grown to love, despite all my best efforts: Viktoria Komova, daughter of 1986 Goodwill Games champion Vera Kolesnikova. Check out this beam – it’s insane (sure, sure, she falls, but BHS-layout stepout-arabian!? Holy moley!)!
In addition to being quite the trickster, she’s got wonderful presentation for a teeny junior and nice lines as well. She could grow to be quite elegant, which is just what the sport needs right now! Hopefully she’s getting all the falls out of the way early on, because if this girl does not make it to 2012 as a serious medal threat, then I will cry.
You should check out her floor, too. She’s too adorable.