2/25/2016

Margarita Mamun - Five Years Ago and Now

I was watching a video of the first time I saw the Russian star Margarita Mamun in the winter of 2011:




She seemed very elegant and definitely had her own style. At the time, I was very impressed by her jumps. When I look at her now, I see a much more mature gymnast who has taken it to the next level with her apparatus work and also with how expressive she tries to be. But I think that what is missing is the freshness, the originality, and the element of surprise:




Although Rita and her coach Amina Zaripova went all the way to winning gold at World Championship finals, it seems to be that I like the 2011 Rita a lot better. She was different. She stood out from the crowd. If Rita hopes to compete with both the prima Kudryavtseva, who is still battling injuries, and the extremely talented Alexandra Soldatova, we need to see the fresh and surprising Rita again, the one who made glamour her trademark.

2/22/2016

Salome's New Ball Routine Impresses Moscow

After I wrote about how Salome Pazhava trains in a poorly heated gym, I also heard that she sometimes goes into a smaller training space, which is warm, but unfortunately, lacks the high ceiling a gymnast needs to practice big, risky throws. I think this might explain why she is "marking" some of the movements in one of the risks with ball. It might also explain the error she made with ribbon in the finals. However, Salome's new ball routine is still nothing short of an absolutely brilliant, breath-catching, fiery choreography"



Currently Salome Pazhava is one of the fastest gymnast in the world. Her panche pivot speed is just as great as Rizatdinova's. She is also the gymnast with the highest level of physical preparation and stamina, which is very clear both from the tempo she keeps in her routine and the strong energy she projects.

With regard to choreogrpahy, Salome's routines are very mature, very demanding and very dense. When you watch her move across the carpet, you see nothing of the typical rhythmic gymnast who projects, even in the most dramatic routines, a certain sense of graceful fragility. Salome completely fills up the space and she each element very forcefully. As a dance, she is way ahead of most in the world elite. As an athlete, from a pure physical standpoint, she also seems better prepared. The only part she needs to improve is the apparatus work. Of course, that might hard to do in cold gym or in a gym with a low ceiling. But I really hope this season will bring her medals, regardless of all obstacles.