Russia’s female gymnasts are trailing the United States team in the run-up to the London Olympics and will only be competitive if they master a key vaulting skill, Alexander Alexandrov, head coach of the Russian women’s team, told RIA Novosti on Sunday.
None of the Russian women managed 2 1/2 twists in the vault at the Russian championships in Penza this weekend, which Alexandrov said was crucial.
“It’s very important for everyone. It would be easier for the gymnasts to win individual medals and those vault twists would take the team to a different level,” he said.
“All of the Americans who’ll be in contention in the all-around will vault these two and a half twists.”
The Russian team also have smaller “holes” in their technique, he added, but these are “not so serious,” he added.
Double world champion Aliya Mustafina won the all-around at the Russian championships Saturday, but Alexandrov said she was frightened of pushing herself to the limits as she returns from a knee ligament injury.
“Aliya Mustafina and I actually haven’t started working in earnest on the floor or the vault,” he said.
“At the Russian championships she did two twists for the first time and had some real worries.”
At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Russia failed to win a single medal in artistic gymnastics for the first time, although Russia won two gold medals in rhythmic gymnastics.