Saturday, December 19, 2009


A new news article about Russian gymnastics has appeared on the Top Stories news site, telling us what all gym fans (but those who have had their heads buried in the chalk bowl already know. Russian gymnastics is on the improve.  Der.
They talk a little about the Voronin Cup and get a quote from Andrey Popov, who now coaches Great Britain.  He told journalists that there were no clear goals for the London Olympics, which they are looking toward, except to have a solid team perform.

"We just want to perform better than we did in Beijing.  We haven't had a good team since the Soviet Union.  Yes, we did have some brilliant individuals like Nemov or Khorkina.  But it's vital for us to do well in the team competition in London."

In another article, apparently Vitaly Mutko, the head of the Ministry of Sports has also been talking about a more general improvement in sport over the next few years in Russia, starting up a project called the year of the youth, which will encourage children to find their potential at things such as sport.
One aspect he mentions that has affected children entering activities such as sports and recreation in Russia is that the Komsomol, the youth Communist league used to unite children in such a way where they could become involved in activities.  Now that it no longer exists, the Ministry needs to find another way.

Another factor he mention is something we have definitely seen occur in gymnastics.  While Russia lost the centralised Soviet system of sports training with the fall of communism, other countries, such as the US inherited it through the dispersal of coaching talent with mass migration.  Mutko claims that Russian Sports needs to re-examine the current model and find a concrete method of sports management across the board.

This is very true.  There is no point in Russia raising all the incredible talent we have seen in the junior leagues if we see barely any of them, as in the past, make it to the senior ranks because of training and management issues that cause them to peak too early, becomes injured or drop out.
I sincerely hope it does not happen with this current brood of gymlings and the Russia gymnastics system can prove it has found an effective and safe mode of producing talent for 2012.


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