Whatever happened to the Youth Olympics finalists – Aside #2

Whatever happened to the Youth Olympics finalists – Aside #2

The Youth Olympic Games are a recent
invention. The first Summer Olympic was held in 2010 in Singapore. The second one followed up in 2014, in Nanjing. Olympics are the holy grail of rhythmic
gymnastics. ‘This is the Holy Grail.’ It’s clearly easier for a gymnast in the national team to compete in a World or Continental championships than to go to the Olympics. In 2010, at the 1st edition of the YOG, many girls surely dreamed about the “real” Olympics. It was objectively understandable: they were only 15 or 14, so Rio 2016 and even London 2012 were possible goals. The first Youth Olympics were won by Alexandra Merkulova of Russia. A year later she was already senior World Champion in team competition and in 2012 she became European vice-champion. However, her career fizzled out in a cycle of injuries. Daria Dmitrieva was sent to the Olympics instead of Alexandra Merkulova. Then Yana Kudryavtseva took her place at the 2013 European Championships. She retired in 2014, at 19 years old. Four years ago, Irina Annenkova of Russia won the Youth Olympics. I had a dream to one day get to compete at the Olympic Games. She’s born in 1999, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which she becomes a world leader in the insanely competitive Russian team. The Belarusian Arina Charopa, silver medallist in 2010, was a valued team member, but never could challenge Melitina Staniouta and Katsiaryna Halkina for the top individual spots in her country. She retired in 2016 after several medal in World team events. Mariya Trubach, the second Belorussian silver medallist in 2014, seems to take the same path, though she has a bronze medal from the 2017 Universiade. The only winners who became Olympians are the two bronze medallists : the German Jana Berezko-Marggrander and the American Laura Zeng. Anastasia Kisse from Bulgaria had her career cut short by back problems. Lee Wan Nin of Malaysia was fourth, but only made it to one World Championships, like the American Polina Kozitskiy. Viktoria Shynkarenko of Ukraine finished her career in 2014, after winning two bronze medals at World Championships, one in individual team, one in group. The Israeli Victoria Veinberg Filanovsky became a member of the close gymnastics elite, yet she saw her Olympic dreams slipping away in Stuttgart 2015. She retired in 2017. The edition is more recent and the gymnasts were only 16 or 17 in 2016, so it is difficult to draw any relevant conclusions. Ana Luiza Filiorianu is currently the only one from the 2014 edition, with Laura Zeng, who has participated in the Olympics. However, come one name who absolutely did convert its junior excellence to the senior circuit: the Israeli Linoy Ashram. Indeed, she is currently a medal favourite in Tokyo 2020, with already two world all-around medals. Valeriya Khanina from Ukraine finished sixth. She is currently part of the Ukrainian group who won two European and one World Championships medals this year. For the the Moldavian Nicoleta Dulgheru and the Uzbekistan Anora Davlyatova, (although she won a gold medal at the Asian Championships in team event), the Youth Olympics was probably their zenith. The Canadians Katrina Cameron and Anjelika Reznik, bronze medallists in 2010, finished 11th at the 2012 Olympics qualification. The 2010 Russian junior group was the foundation of the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Russian unit. Presenter : ‘So Team Russia picks up the gold medal
in RG group AA, Egypt the silver, while …’ Kseniya Dudkina, Alina Makarenko and Karolina Sevastyanova all became Olympic Champions. Sofya Skomorokh : ‘We are not going to stop at this point. This is only the beginning.’ From the 2014 participants, Sofya Skomorokh made it into the Russian senior group and became a World Champion and European Games medallists, but not an Olympian because of a leg injury. She is currently part of the Russian reserve team. Finally, the Bulgarian Elena Bineva won several World and European Championships medals and will surely take part in the 2020 Olympics, the Bulgarian group having already qualified. Cid : ‘Wow! Oh my! They rocks!’ Rio: ‘A little mistake though, but …’ Cid: ‘Good. Good work of Adriana Dunavska’ That tells us a lot of things about how many downfalls can be in RG between the junior and the senior level, especially in countries with a strong competition. It is easy to understand why. RG demands very long training hours where injuries can happen, and puts extreme workload on the young gymnasts who can also go through tough phase of life. It is very easy to fall out. And even if they don’t fall out, they enter the world of senior RG, where there could be fierce in-house rivals, especially in the strong RG countries. Of course, don’t forget that the Youth Olympics does not represent the whole junior field. Some very bright junior talents can not participate in the Youth Olympics because of qualification rules. Evgenia Kanaeva or Margarita Mamun were never front-running junior talents, neither were the Averins twins 😉

19 Replies to “Whatever happened to the Youth Olympics finalists – Aside #2”

  1. The pink panther with 60's graphics and sassy music meets RG. You gotta love that !!! 2019 will be exciting Pohranychna, Trubnikova, and Lala are amazing talents. The two per country policy will again be shown up as ridiculous when we see who does not qualify for Tokyo in 2020.

  2. Irina Annenkova won the russian cup, and she improved a lot. We may saw at her the GP Moscow! (not the backup tournament, but the big!)

  3. This just goes to show that people grow (in terms of talent) at a different rate. U can be a star one day and the next, someone becomes better than u.

  4. At mid 2019 :
    Daria Trubnkova – placed 5th at Russian Championships, won gold at Grand Prix Brno.
    Khrystyna Pohranychna – in National Ukrainian senior team, but not seen at important competition because of Deriugina, who prefers Onoprienko (also a tiny 2003 blonde). We hope to see her at Worlds!
    Talisa Toretti – is not seen at big competitions. Won gold with clubs at IT Corbeil but that's all.
    Anna Kamenshikova – is not seen at big competitions, only international tournaments
    Tatiana Volozhianina – in Bulgarian national team. Potential of big scores but didn't make it into the 3. We will see her at a World Cup later.
    The Armenian girl was in Sofia World Cup clubs final, but can't compete at Worlds because of Azerbaijan etc…
    The Israeli girl is not at the top of Israel team, and I think that Aino is good but we don't see her a lot right now.
    My little recap ^^ correct me if I'm wrong

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