Easily one of the most talked about and polarizing gymnasts of this quad, arguably the most successful thus far (second in medal count only to Rebecca Bross, and hers includes 2 gold), and the root of some of the biggest battles in the gymnastics cold war.
Whether it’s her hardcore “haterz”, most of whom appeared to be born out of a rather bitter rage after she led Russia to victory in TF and then proceeded to lose their fucking minds after her AA victory……..
It’s always appreciated when people start dictating what kind of gymnastics everyone else likes and then judging them for it …
or her most #hardcore fanZ, who practically threaten to burn down your house and murder your family if you dare suggest that perhaps her twisting form could use a little work, and that no, her floor routines are not quite at the same level as the Kirov ballet company.
Is the entire history of the sport now limited solely to Mustafina, Raisman, and Nabieva??
…… something about the combination of Aliya and the internet has brought out the worst in people. Or maybe not so much the worst in people, as just the worst people.
As far as more rational gymfans go, I think most can agree that there are plenty of valid reasons to like Aliya
She’s a phenomenal competitor who goes out and competes like she fucking means it
She’s the closest anyone has every come to single single-handedly winning a team title.
She’s awesome on bars, with some great original skills and combinations.
She attempts some interesting skills and connections on beam as well
(via stark of winterfell)
and incorporates choreography that at least attempts to be original
While she does spend her fair share of time standing in the corner of the floor exercise mat breathing heavily, when she does decide to move, she does it very well. I will always appreciate a gymnast who sells her floor routine instead of just going through the motions.
(via the amazing stark of winterfell)
I also kind of dig that she updates her floor exercise often. Even the best floor routines get kind of stale a while. And I’ve always liked it when gymnasts make sure to get new music and choreo for an Olympic year.
She’s a reasonably well balanced gymnast who’s had the dance training to move gracefully, but who also builds her difficulty from “power” skills like her standing Arabian, as well as difficult dance moves like her switch ring on BB and Memmel or even possible triple Y on floor.
Maybe most impressively, when she injured her knee at a competition she was poised to dominate , she didn’t appear to whine or feel sorry for herself, posting within a couple hours “everything will be fine” to reassure her friends and fans she was okay, explaining that in sport “nobody is immune to injuries” and returning to the meet on crutches to support her teammates in EF.
Then she obviously worked her ass off and fought like a pissed off motherfucker in a knee brace to get back back in time for the Olympics. I was one of the people who questioned the wisdom of letting her go out and do a (rather sloppy) triple full 6 months post surgery, but I can’t deny that it must have taken an awful lot of grit on her part. Everyone likes a fighter.
While all those attributes are certainly impressive, Mustafina most definitely has her flaws as well.
Most obvious or course, is her twisting form which is definitely in contention for being the absolute worst out there today.
The exasperation felt by fans around the world as they watched Mustafina’s helicopter legs chop their way through Rotterdam was compounded by the fact that she chose to twist so. fucking. often.
You’d kind of think someone whose weakest point is her laid out twists would choose to compete a non-twisting dismount off beam and limit her twisting passes on floor. Not our girl Aliya! Nope, she went on to choose not only a twisting dismount, but the most difficult one out there: a
2.75triple full, as well as competing 3/4 LO twisting passes on floor. The double salto C.R seemed to be the only obstacle in her apparent quest to look like a human egg beater.
Another thing about Mustafina that served to aggravate people, is that instead of perfecting the skills she already had, she just seemed to be determined to add more twists. When she showed up at the 2011 American cup with a 3.5, many shook their heads wondering why she couldn’t have instead paid some much needed attention to the the glaring execution flaws in the skills already in her repertoire. It exemplified this code’s emphasis on just chucking the hardest skills possible, regardless of how well they are mastered, and difficulty levels spinning out of control. (yeah I went there…)
To her credit, post surgery Mustafina has made improvements in some of these areas. She no longer butchers a triple full off beam, and she’s replaced the 3.5 with a double tuck. Not the most interesting pass, sure, but in this case it’s a trade nobody minds given the alternative. She’s ditched that ass-scraper of a Tkatchev apparently modeled after her own American idol Ivana Hong with shades of the original low-flying Henrietta Onodi, and seems to have learned that as the Olympics are in London, there’s no need to pay tribute to Paris by impersonating the hunchback of Notre Dame while doing your Y turns on floor.
This however, is kind of negated by the fact that post surgery Mustafina’s twisting form has deteriorated badly on her comeback trail. It almost makes 2010 Mustafina look clean by comparison.
(via the hilarious Spanny Tampson)
This isn’t helped by the fact that her block on vault is leg separations galore and also that she has a pack of obnoxious rabid fans who attack anyone who even tries to point out some of these facts, however respectfully and diplomatically they do it.
Now I’m not saying that anyone who likes Mustafina is in this category or that it’s even really her fault. But a group of idiots fueled by the relative anonymity of internet who worship at the alter of Mustafina’s bent knees refusing to acknowledge that her pretty face doesn’t make up for her sometimes ugly form, that actually, there’s not THAT MUCH choreography in her routines, and that she not the second coming in absolutely anything and everything she does, can certainly be grating. Especially when they make insulting and stupid comments about other gymnasts in the process.
Where you stand on the Mustafina issue is your own choice and there’s no wrong one here. There are plenty of reasons to love her, and plenty of reasons why she just might not be your cup of tea. She deserves the respect all gymnasts deserve, and no-one should be made to feel ashamed or looked down upon for liking her, but she doesn’t need to be exempt to criticism either. Personally, I think she’s great but I can appreciate why other people don’t - we should all be allowed to like or dislike who we like or dislike, without being labelled a Yankee flag banger or someone who only likes terrible gymnastics.
But haters or worshipers, can we all drop the DIVA label already?
I blame NBC for starting this - but really anyone who takes them seriously should be just as much to blame.
The diva label started at Worlds as the trio’s mission to anoint the new
Mary-Lou NadiaKhorkina. Apparently there’s only ever allowed to be one well known gymnast with one style and personality from each country. Poor Canadian girls have it worst - the new Elfie Schlegel. Evidently skin colour and nationality is the only reasonable basis for comparison when you’re affiliated with NBC. It really annoys them when a black girl comes onto the scene and Tim has to practicing saying “the new Mary-Lou” AND “the new Dominique Dawes”. Anyway Alexandrov’s comment:
came to define everything about Mustafina for NBC. People sometimes wonder why the American girls and coaches hesitate to give interview answers that go beyond “we’re honored to be here, we work really hard, she’s a coach’s dream, I want to hit 4-for-4”. Well a lot of it probably has to do with people like Tim, Al, and Elfie, who can’t be trusted not to make an exaggerated and stupid story out of anything more.
Next came the American cup, where were learned Elfie’s obsession with Mustafina’s (non-existent) diva qualities seemed to have really flourished in the 5 months post Worlds. Instead of seeing actual routines, we got to listen to Elf blather on about “working with women” and how Mustafina “stared (them) down”. Of course, the crowing jewel of the NBC broadcast was Tim’s interpretation and broken English rendition (because that’s how Russians speak when they visit America) of a conversation between Mustafina and her coach, where she supposedly refused to follow directions and water down her floor routine.
After the competition, Alexandrov explained to a Russian network how the purpose of World Cup competitions is really to try out new skills and when asked directly about that conversation on VK, Mustafina explained it that never happened. Nonetheless, that solidified the DIVA label, and while most people would probably trust Aliya and her coach to give the most accurate account of what happened, others much prefer to listen to Tim Daggett.
I’m sure Jordyn is glad her fans think she is a “wholesome person”.
But really what motivated me to write this post was this quick hit from yesterday’s podium training, especially considering this is not coming just from a youtube commenter or message board troll, but a supposedly reputable magazine that actually got accreditation to cover the Olympics as official media.
Look, I’m not going to lose my shit if people complain about Aliya’s leg form during the next two weeks, but it’s pretty unfair to label her a “drag on the team,” when she appears to be the exact opposite.
In fact, since she’s been in spotlight, Mustafina been a pretty darn gracious competitor, especially for someone labelled an arrogant diva. She regularly claps for her competitors at competitions, whether or not they are on track to beat her. When asked which Americans she disliked the most, she said she liked all of them and named Alicia Sacramone as her favourite because she’s “really nice to talk to”. Remember, Alicia Sacramone? The one who beat her for the vault title when Aliya’s vault was downgraded?
As for her own team, when she had a poor showing in quals at Euros and was knocked out of finals on her best event due to the two per country rule, who was there to chalk up bars and cheer on her teammates with not a hint of self pity?
Really, since she started competing with the team, she seems to have always taken the supportive role
even when her teammates made mistakes that cost titles…..
So form? No. All this “Mustafina’s a dramatic bitch stuff” ?.. yes, I will lose my shit over that.
LOL remember when right after this post all NBC did was count Aliya’s “diva moments” at the Olys? good times good times!
Are you talking about that time in Olys when they said she pushed her coach or something like that after she feel from BB in the AA final? hahaha that was epic