Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bad Girls Files #4

Gymnast: Yulia Lozhechko
Gymnastics Highlight:  Gold on Beam in Amsterdam at European Championships 2007.
Crime: Forgetting that there is no "I" in team.
Please Explain:  Well, Yulia had won the beam event finals at the 2007 European championships, and perhaps, still flying on the thrill of that win, made an unwise split decision later that year.  Apparently, during the qualification rounds at the Stuttgart World Championships Yulia was so desperate to make the event finals in beam that she threw her harder dismount, a 'Patterson' (a double arabian) without consulting her coaches.  She was supposed to do some sort of double back. Unfortunately for her and everyone, she fell, meaning she cost the team valuable points and did not make it into the event finals.
A senior coach Alexander Kiryashov believes Yulia's inabilty to behave correctly stems from a psychological issue, saying "I know exactly what they are, but i don't want to talk about it.  When she listened to us, the coaches, everything was fine, but as soon as she tries to do everything on her own and to her own taste she has immediate problems.  We know that Lozhechko is going through hard times.  But we are trying to help, and I hope soon everything will be fine again." (Hmmm.)

The Punishment: Yulia was banned from training at the Round Lake training centre for several months after the World Championships.
Russian coach Andrei Rodionenko explained his decision, saying, "I have come to the conclusion that if athletes are unable to put aside their personal interests for the sake of the team, they need to leave.  To keep up team morale is much more important than the whims of a single, even a very talented individual."

Badness Rating:  Medium to High (?)
You know, I guess the Russians have always come in with a "team first" mentality and Yulia really messed with that concept and considering her decision was going to affect the team score she really should have consulted her coaches before pulling that trick. On the other hand, Yulia was so young, all gymnasts are so young, and we know teenagers have a propensity for making spontaneous bad decisions.  Still...
wether it was worth banning her from the training Centre (mainly because it only really hurt them by having a fantastic athlete out of action and losing valuable training time)...... I don't know.

So, what do you guys think?

P.S It is strange, but for some reason I always think of Lozhechko as Ukrainian and have to correct myself.  There is something about her leggy grace and extension that is reminiscent of some of their best.


  1. I think it was the right decision; even though they lost one of their best gymnasts for a while, it was more important for Lozhechko to learn to put the team first. If they'd just left it alone, she might have done the same thing again.
    I reckon she should have been on the Olympic team, though...

  2. I heard the coaches told her not to do the Patterson but she did it anyway. She knew she was breaking the rules so I guess she did deserve some sort of punishment. Being banned wasn't too bad since she could train at home and didn't miss any major meets.
    I have wondered if her being left off the Olympic team had anything to do with this situation though. She finished 8th AA at worlds the year before and is great on beam. They did have stronger AAs then her in 2008 but she could've gone as a beam specialist. Her and Grebenkova are probably relatively equal on that event so I wonder if the whole Worlds thing impacted the final decision.

  3. I am very understanding of teenagers having impulses and less cerebral development than their adult counterparts. However, when you're in an adult sport--and gymnastics puts you in an adult environment, whether most of its competitors are adults or not--you gotta act like one. If she's having trouble being a team player, or if she's battling psychological issues, a little break from the team can be quite valuable.