Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy 22nd Birthday Ksenia Afanasyeva

Today Ksenia turns 22. In gymnastics age that is considered old but in reality she is still young. With many older gymnasts still continuing I hope ksenia can still be competitive in the new quad. An interesting fact is that Ksenia was born on Friday the 13th and today is Friday the 13th 2013. Ksenia will miss this year's world championships due to a recent ankle surgery. According to the Russians she should be ready to be back in December.

Ksenia's year started off with her doing a gala called From London to Rio.

She competed at Russian Championships and showed some very interesting new beam connections. She did Onodi + side somi + 1 -1/4 spin and Kochetkova + split leap 1/1! Very cool ideas.  

She then had to compete at a French Cup to prove her place on a Russian European team as her spot was not guaranteed. At the French Cup she was controversially given a forward compositional requirement that she did not do in prelims. She still advanced to floor finals and won gold. Click to watch. It was early in the season and she seemed to have really improved on her tumbles. Her DLO was powerful and her double pike dismount looked better than ever. She became a more improved gymnast. She was more powerful than ever. Unfortunately she had some problems with her new beam routine and eventually had to take out some of her cool ideas.

Ksenia eventually made the Russian European team. This was a special event for Ksenia since it was in front of her home country and it was her first time at an European championships since 4 years ago in 2009. She missed many Europeans due to injuries. For once she was now healthy and ready to win medals. She shocked the gymnastics world when there were rumours she could do the Amanar vault. I have to admit I was skeptical of this Amanar rumour. I couldn't believe it but when there were reports of her doing the amanar during podium training the rumours became true but still there were no videos of her doing the Amanar. During prelims she revealed a 6.4 difficult floor routine that made news. Interesting it wasn't her tumbles that were upgraded but it was her turns. I love her spinning connections. Ksenia only made floor finals where she won gold in front of a home crowd. Her routine had beautiful powerful tumbles mixed with beautiful dance elements. Click here to watch. Her season was beginning to look very good. Ksenia even decided to train early for Universiade. She was so positive and worked really hard for Universiade. She also posted a video of her training the H element 1/1 DLO and she is rumoured to be able to do 7/2 (3.5) twists.

At the Universiade Games in Kazan, Ksenia revealed new music for her floor routine. Her routine had mixed reviews but Ksenia was still elegant and beautiful on floor. She started off okay in AA but then had a very shaky nervous beam routine. She proceeded to have one of the best floor routine of her life clinching herself a silver medal in the AA. I personally liked her AA floor routine. It is one of my favourite routine of the year. She nearly stuck every tumble. It was a magical performance and probably a special night for Ksenia. She unfortunately didn't have the best floor routine in event finals but she was able to win gold with high difficulty. My highlight of the Universiade gymnastics was Ksenia's Amanar vault. She stunned the gymnastics community with her ability to win vault finals with a new Amanar and second vault. At age 21 Ksenia was able to upgrade two of her vaults. She was especially brave and courageous for doing the Amanar vault. All of her early hard work paid off.
She was looking like a lock for Antwerp until she suddenly had ankle surgery. I just want to say that Ksenia brought some excitement to the beginning of the season and it's very disappointing that she will miss worlds. She had a very big shot at floor gold and medaling on vault. I hope she will be back and stronger next year. Happy birthday Ksenia!

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