Stunning, the world of gymnastics needs more Anna Pavlova’s
21. Female. California. Gymnastics Fan.
Just read the hype on Triple Twist about this little rookie who’s come all the way from Moscow to train with Valeri Liukin in WOGA. Her name is Irina Alexeeva, she’s 9 years old and competes at level 9.
Now, I’m not that familiar with the American levels system but are those skills not a lot more advanced than what is required of level 9? It’s like WOGA are just breeding mini Nastias, she even moves the same way! My only fear for her is that she will peak too soon and succumb to injury or just burn out a la Rebecca Bross.
I’m super exited about her either way, even if we wont see her till around 2020. She won’t even be senior until 2018!
I’d say she’s somewhat of an advanced level 9 but that’s WOGA’s problem. They drill huge skills into kids way before they’re ready and then the kids are injured/out when it counts, with Nastia as the exception because she and her dad clearly worked for what was best for her. Look at someone like Gabby compared to someone like Katelyn Ohashi…Katelyn came from GAGE without much difficulty, and then by 13 was doing skills more advanced than most seniors. That’s why Katelyn won’t realistically last until 2016 and why Becca didn’t last until 2012. I think seeing a steady rise and progression, a la Gabby or Aly, is better than seeing a junior who can do all sorts of crazy skills and then peter out before the Olympics. I think Jordyn’s an exception to the rule, but even she had trouble this year with girls not even on her radar in the past suddenly overtaking her (and she never really added much difficulty over the past few years…it’s like her peak came at 13 or 14 and she’s been plateauing ever since). Imagine if Jordyn had held off on some of her more difficult skills? WOGA (Valeri specifically) is terrible at peaking athletes at the right time. They are all about the shock of seeing tiny juniors doing huge skills, and then they’re surprised when their kids can’t keep those skills without a million injuries by the time the Olympics roll around.
Irina is definitely one to watch!! Check out more of her videos on Youtube to anyone who is unfamiliar with the name. On the Woga subject, I feel like Valeri coaches more or less how he was coached, the Russian way. In Russia, it’s all about taking the big risks and throwing big skills, skills the athletes may not have even completely mastered. Rebecca Bross reached her peak at 14/15, as did Wieber. Maybe a different coaching program would have worked better, but we’ll never really know (duh). I respect the Russian style of coaching athletes but I love the Chinese approach. This approach, I believe, is taken on by Chow and his wife with their pupils. They really nurture the progression of their atheletes, making sure that their gymnasts are well versed on the basics and technically close to perfect, and not allowing them to throw all their new tricks until they’re more than ready. At the end of the day, I don’t think one style is better than the other. Different athletes respond well to different programs. For example, I think Bross would have done better with Chow. And I’m going to end this post by saying that I absolutely loveee Irina. I hope her training goes well in the coming years and I can’t wait to watch her grow as an athlete.