Bulgarian Group Olympic Medalist Lubomira Kazanova Retires from Competition

The bronze medalist  with the Bulgarian group from the Rio Olympics, the gymnast who took the place of Tsvetelina Stoyanova, has announced her retirement. Lubomira has explained that she competed with an ankle injury which did not heal properly and that she is finding it very difficult and dangerous from a health perspective to continue with a competitive career. 

Lubomira also feels that she "does not fit well" in the new group after he distinguished colleagues, world champions Mihaela Maevska, Reneta Kamberova, Hristiana Todorova and Tsvetelina Naidenova also retired.

Lubomira's retirement, according to some, marks a new page in the development of the Bulgarian team, as a brand new team will follow into the steps of the former Olympic bronze medalists.

Some fans feel that the national team coaches and the federation should have taken better care of Lubomira in terms of allowing her to compete with what appears to be a serious injury.

Still other have commented that the ankle problem is not the actual reason behind the retirement decision so much as the fact that Lubomira really felt a sense of belonging to the old team and would simply like to move on to new ventures now that everyone else on the team has left. While Lubomira has fulfilled her Olympic dream and played a pivotal role for the team as a whole after the Stoyanova incident, perhaps her retirement is a wise decision to end her career on the most positive note. Lubomira retires as a true hero, and all fans will remember her as taking the team to the medals both at the European Championship and at the Olympics.

While Lubomira will be very much missed, I am also hopeful that the new team will take an even better approach towards preparing for the next season especially in terms of the choreography and originality of their routines as well as their general conditioning and ballet training. We have yet to see whether the Bulgarian team will also undergo substantial coaching changes.


Neviana to Show New, More Complex Routines in 2017

As we approach the holiday season, fans have shared that Neviana will keep her ribbon and clubs routines but will include more difficulty. We hope she will perform the ribbon routine in its full glamor and originality while she keeps the most dynamic an risky club routine in the world currently.

Hoop and ball will be new, with a mixture of lyrical and more dramatic music and also new risks!

I will miss the old hoop routine which was very sophisticated and different but I have been looking forward to a new ball routine so I think the choice to change these two is correct. The ribbon is a crowd favorite and should receive higher marks, if error-free. As for the clubs, I am not sure what changes were made and how much more exciting it can get, but clubs is certainly my favorite routine and I am glad the team has decided to keep it.


Soldatova Dominates, Linoy Shines for Israel, the Ukrainian Teams Needs New Decisions

The Grand Prix in Eliat, Israel, brought no surprises but it did confirm that Linoy Ashram from Israel now takes the stage with an absolutely bright and original light of her own. She is fast, she is clean, her jumps are "explosive," and.... she actually moves with the music. Linoy is the best gymnast in Israel right now. The judges will, eventually, recognize this.

In the meantime, for several years now, the Ukraine has chosen to trust Viktoria Mazur, and Viktoria Mazur, who is an absolutely elegant, talented, beautiful girl, has never really had a competition where she did not make at least one completely disastrous mistakes. This time it was worse because, in the spirit of very poor decision-making, she went and picked up the "reserve" apparatus, while her hoop was still on the carpet and she actually thought she should perform with one hoop, while the other one is lying in the middle of the carpet.  It would have been one thing to lose the original hoop outside the carpet but not going after it when it is 2 steps away? I have never seen this. 

Here she is, holding one hoop and the other is right there. It would be like an artistic gymnast getting off the beam and going on another one.

If she had been inexperienced, I would still think it is highly unusual, where by "unusual, " I mean: not logical at all. But she did it and  she has been in competition for about 5 years now.

Either she needs to get some additional training that works with her psychological stamina, teaches how to react to the unexpected and how to avoid disasters like this, or, honestly, in all of the Ukraine, there has to be another elegant, talented gymnast like her.

The judges were not impressed:

Really, there is no excuse for someone who was born with quite obvious physical advantages over others to keep making poor decisions at every competition.

And, then, speaking of decisions, I still feel sad that Soldatova did not go to the Olympics. She is beautiful in everything she does, a true spectacle of a gymnast, with strength, grace, and passion all at once. I can't get enough of her. She brings more amplitude and more amazement every time she performs.

Of course, I always root for the underdogs, too, and, in this case,  Elizaveta Gamalejeva from Latvia is a great choice for a gymnast who keeps getting better, though still shy of the top spots. She did a very expressive ball routine where, for the first time, I think the music choice did justice to her personal charm and presence on the carpet. If she had cleaner lines, she would get higher scores, but I can tell she loves what she does. And that is always inspiring.