Friday, 21 November 2008

Anna Pavlova - Our Heartbreak Heroine

Well, it looks like the winner of my veteran poll is Anna Pavlova. Anna is known for her amazing combination of grace and power. Personally, I love her dance and find her name fitting (after the famous ballerina).

Anna began gymnastics because her parents ran a gym. She is still coached by her mother.

Let's take a look back at her time on the gymnastics scene. Anna first burst onto our screens in 2000, when she competed in the Junior Europeans, Gymnastics Challenge and Russian Championships.
At the Europeans, Anna and the Russian team bagged gold, while Anna placed 5th in the all around and 1st on uneven bars. All at the age of 12! Below is her winning bar routine, look how tiny she is!:

In 2001, Anna competed in the Goodwill Games, winning silver on balance beam. She also competed in the European Youth Olympics Games, where she finished second all around and first on balance beam.
By 2002, Anna had become a big fish in the junior pond. She placed 1st all around at the Europeans, as well as taking the gold on vault and with the team. She polished off the event with a silver on balance beam. Here she is. Just look at those bangs!In 2003, Anna joined the senior ranks and made the Russian team for worlds. Individually, Anna qualified for the all around, vault and floor finals. Here came the first hints of her consistent inconsistency. In the floor final she stumbled out of her tumbling and finished 7th, in the vault final she finished 5th and in the all around, 10th.
In 2004, 1st place finishes on beam and all around at the Russian Championships helped her on her way to being named to the Olympic team.
At the Olympics, Anna won bronze with the team and vault, whilst finishing 4th in the all around and on balance beam. Below is her beautiful beam routine from the all around final:

Anna competed at the world championships on 2005 and 2006 continued to give heartbreakingly just outside the medals performances with a number of 4th 5th and 6th place finishes internationally. Within Europe and on home turf, Anna did better, with a gold and three bronze medals in the 2005 Russian Nationals and two silvers and a bronze at the 2005 Europeans.
For the majority of 2007, Anna disappeared from the world stage. The only competition she competed in was the Shanghai World Cup event. I'm not sure why, perhaps injury. Anybody know?
Wherever she was, she was back with a vengeance in 2008. In my opinion, she looked stronger than ever and had begun competing her (beautiful) double layout again.She helped the Russian team to a silver medal at Europeans, while finishing 5th on floor and vault.
Pavlova made her second Olympic team as team captain and I, amongst many others I'm sure, was ready for her to do well. Pavlova performed beautifully in qualifications and made the all around, beam, vault and floor finals.
Unfortunately, in the team finals, things started to go wrong. Anna fell to her knees on her double piked dismount on floor exercise, this combined with mistakes from her team mates left the bronze medal out of their reach.
Below is her beautiful floor exercise from the all around final:

In the vault final, Anna vaulted before the green light and scored zero. Without the mistake, she would have had a very good chance of a bronze medal. Her zero vault was beautiful and it was so sad that she didn't get the reward she deserved. Still unsettled by this, Anna went on to perform badly on floor and thus finished outside of the medals. Below are her vaults:

By the beam final two days later, Anna was performing better but missed out on bronze by 0.05 in another heartbreaking 4th place finish. Personally, I think she deserved bronze.

After the Olympics, Anna moved onto the World Cup competitions. Currently, Anna is ranked 3rd on vault and beam and 13th on floor exercises. She will be invited to at least two world cup finals. However, Anna will be unable to attend as at her last world cup event she injured her knee. Later reports confirmed that she had torn a ligament in her knee.

I'm crossing my everything that she doesn't retire!!!!
Here's to Anna!

1 comment:

MissEducated said...

Rumour has it that the knee injury is her Anterior Cruciate Ligament which won't be quick to heal. She'll be out probably 6 months minimum I would say. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she doesn't retire. I love her gymnastics and would love to see her at Worlds 2009 but I'm not holding my breath, not if it is her ACL.