Valentine Rodionenko: “We have one task – to be much stronger than our opponents and not to make mistakes”

At the ROC Innovation Center in the framework of the Russia’s Olympic Team Media Center project a press conference was held. It was devoted to summarizing the results of the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships held in Glasgow. ROC Media channel provided live coverage of the event. Here are the main points of the discussion  with Valentina Rodionenko Head coach of the Russian team.

“Pre-Olympic year was difficult for our national team, with many injuries. However, the European Championship was a success. The women’s team won three gold medals of four possible.

Men also performed decently, but certainly you always want more.

The first European Games in Baku were very successful for us. Our athletes won 4 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals. Seven of them in the individual apparatus competition.

We approached the World Championships knowing that our women’s team is not expecting any help from its leader Aliya Mustafina because of the injury. Today it is impossible to find a replacement for her. National team was aimed at taking as many medals in different events of the team all-around.

Our girls and men did not manage to perform unmistakably on all four pieces of apparatus. Currently, it is a problem for us. However, we have accomplished our main task – on the result of the team all-around performance we won maximum quotas for the Rio Olympic Games.

Unfortunately we could not Fight head to head with the US team. It was the first time in the history when all three gymnasts wobbled on the Balance Beam. As a result, we were 0.4 points behind the third place. We were not expecting such result. I can even say it was a shock. Gymnasts did not have enough experience to show stable results at a major international competition.

In many sports judging  is subjective, much depends on the decision of the Head of the International Gymnastics Federation and President of the technical committee. The current Head of the men’s technical committee is an American. Of course, he will always support his country. Women’s Technical Committee President is Nellie Kim. She represents Belarus, but she lives in the United States. There isn’t any representatives of Russia  neither in men’s nor in women’s Executive Committees. That is why we are having problems.   We have only one task – to be much stronger than our    opponents and   not to make mistakes.

Now international competitions can’t be judged by representatives of countries-finalists. But we do not complain about the judgement, we say that is us who should be stronger.

A striking example of this is the situation with four gold medals on the uneven bars, when judges awarded 4 equal pints. Then, at the end of the competition, some judges came up to us and said: “Of course, Komova should have taken first place and while Spiridonova – second. But who cares for it when nothing can be changed! They saw that our girls were stronger and the combinations were more difficult. But   the judges wanted so much to screw up the American team and deprive us of our dominance in this event that they have painted themselves into a corner. I think that at the Olympic Games nothing like this will happen.

Of course, we have certain problems floor exercise both men and women, but we’re working on it.

This turned out to be a difficult start for Victoria Komova, who hasn’t performed at international competitions for almost 3 years and the Olympic cycle markedly increased growth.

Today competition in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics is very tough now simply fantastic. In the Japanese team Kohei Uchimura is a unique gymnast. He can probably be compared with the Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt.

Men’s fourth place team in the team all-around was the best result in the last few years. The progress is obvious. Before the Olympics, we don’t expect any major changes in the team composition.

In general, we are satisfied with the result of the World Championships. Today competition in World Artistic Gymnastics is very tough. It is wrong to think that there are 3-4 leaders and others are trying to reach them.

We will not discuss our plans for the Rio Olympic Games yet. I hope that we will win enough medals to be proud of our ladies and men”- summed up Valentina Rodionenko, Head coach of the Russian national Artistic gymnastics team.