Double Olympic uneven bars champion Aliya Mustafina will serve as the acting junior women’s gymnastics head coach for Russia, according to an interview with Valentina Rodionenko with TASS and translated into English by Gymnovosti.
Mustafina replaces her former coach Evgeny Grebyonkin, who had been in the role since last year.
“Now, starting from the second camp [of the year], Aliya is working as the acting head coach of the junior national team. She has already very seriously led the first camp from January 15th to February 6th and is leading the second now,” said Rodionenko. “According to the regulations, a person without enough work experience cannot officially be appointed as the head coach. That’s why in the coming year Aliya will be the acting head coach.”
Though Mustafina has yet to announce her competitive retirement, she hasn’t competed since March 2019 with a series of injuries keeping her out of the European Championships, European Games and ultimately the World Championships.
Mustafina, who burst onto the gymnastics scene to win the world all-around title in 2010, is the winner of seven Olympic medals. In addition to uneven bars gold in 2016 and 2012, she also twice finished third in the all-around (2016 and 2012) and helped Team Russia to silver in Rio and London. She also took floor exercise bronze at London 2012.
Those accomplishments seem to be translating into her new career as coach, according to Rodionenko.
“I think Aliya will become a great coach and not just for the junior team,” said Rodionenko. “We are helping her in all the organizational issues, teaching her everything, and she’s very proficient technically. She has a good head. Yes, she also has a difficult personality but those are the kind of people who achieve results.”
“Aliya has good ambitions, she knows in which direction women’s artistic gymnastics should develop,” she added.