Sigh. Here’s the lowdown. Last year American Gabby Douglas became the first Black gymnast in history to win the Olympic All-around title. Earlier this month another American , Simone Biles became the first Black gymnast in history to win the World All-around title.
That makes a whopping TWO Black gymnasts who have won the All-around titles in the entire history of gymnastics but between the Italians lamenting how disadvantaged their gymnasts are because they aren’t Black and this latest interview with Russian Coach Rodieonenko, you’d think gymnastics was the new NBA
Some nuggets from the translated interview.
Question: ...Simone Biles and [Russian]Anna Rodionova are both 17. They competed in their first World Championships. Biles won gold. We praise Anna Rodionova who finished 16th. There is a difference in ambition and mentality. Why is it so?
Rodionenko: Biles was in the group training for the Olympics. We cannot compare her with Rodionova. We hadn’t planned to have Rodionova perform in the all around. Afanasyeva underwent surgery, Grishina had back pain, Komova had meningitis and in Antwerp Nabieva fell on her head. We should pay attention to the colour of the faces of the vault finalists. Isn’t it like in athletics? Four out of eight are African American. And this is only the beginning … We work with Anna on something that Biles has got from nature.
Question Will there be a total domination of the African American group?
Rodionenko On vault and floor, yes. But on bars and beam, the situation is different, of course.
Question: Аnd in the All Around? Douglas is the Olympic champion; Simone Biles is the world champion.
Rodionenko: ...We have never competed with them at our best level. The Americans have achieved this thanks to a large reserve. Viktoria Komova competed at the Olympics, but not at her top level. She was then growing very fast. Not in days, but in hours, like in Russian fairy tales! The Americans have left behind this growth period: African Americans have this earlier.
Question: Was including risk in the [Russian] routines justified?
Rodionenko: Not all our experiments were well appreciated. It’s worth mentioning. Some judges are not prepared to understand. I can explain why. I don’t know why the second and third category judges were not there. Some third, fourth category judges were giving scores at the World Championships … Some of them were women wearing the hijab.
1)Didn’t realize it was natural for Blacks to be born with the ability to do a double-twisting double back somersault. All this time I thought it took years of training and the mental fortitude to execute when it counts in competition. My bad.
2)Not sure why it matters that some of the judges where wearing hijabs.
3)There were 4 Black gymnasts in the vault final but guess who won?
4) Gabby and Komova were virtually the same height and size (4’11”) in London. As is typical of gymnasts – Black or White --both were underdeveloped compared to average 16 year olds. Not sure why he thinks Gabby had a physical advantage.
Original Russian interview