Meet the Gold-Winning Russian Women’s Gymnastics Team

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The Russians had the competition of a lifetime in the qualifying round on Sunday and accomplished what no one else had done in a decade: They outstripped the United States. And yes, although American women have made mistakes, it would be unfair to attribute the result to that alone. The Russian team is terrific on its own terms.

Here’s a look at the four members.

Competing in her second Olympics, Melnikova is one of Russia’s best all-round gymnasts. She finished fourth in the qualifying round and showed she would be an all-round medalist in the best individual gymnast competition. He also advanced to the vault, bars and floor finals. No one has qualified this much except Simone Biles (who makes every finale).

Melnikova has come a long way since the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, where she was the youngest member of the Russian team and had a disappointing performance, falling twice in the qualifying round and failing to reach any individual finals. He has since won four world championship medals: two silver and two bronze.

He and Vladislava Urazova are the only Russians to compete in all four devices on Tuesday. (Three gymnasts per country compete for each.) She will be on the vault first, on the bar and beam second, and on the third floor.

Urazova qualified for major international competitions last year, and the Olympics is one of her first major tests on the global stage, as many have been canceled due to the pandemic. That’s a lot of pressure, but it’s handled well so far.

She finished fifth in the qualifying round just three percentage points behind Melnikova and advanced to the all-round and balance beam finals. His only real trip before the Olympics was at the European Championships in April, where he won a silver medal in the uneven bars.

Like Melnikova, she will compete on all four devices in the team final. The second in the vault will be the first Russian on the bars, beam and floor.

Listunova is an athlete that Russia did not expect to be in Tokyo. Born May 12, 2005, he would have been too young to compete if the Games had gone as planned last year. This year he became the Russian national champion.

She, Melnikova and Urazova are so balanced that their standings in any competition can depend on the smallest mistakes. At the European Championships, Listunova became the all-around champion, Melnikova won the silver medal, and Urazova was eliminated from the final with two rules per country. On Sunday, it was Listunova, which was closed by 0.167. He was also excluded from the bar final, but qualified for the floor final.

Listunova will be the third Russian on the bars and beams and the second on the floor. It won’t compete at the counter.

Akhaimova was the alternate of the 2016 Games and made the team this year after several tense weeks when the Russian federation took her and Elena Gerasimova fourth place.

He competed in all four devices in the qualifying round, but had the lowest all-around score for the Russian team, placing 28th, partly thanks to his fall from the anti-roll bar. However, it was successful at vault, making it to the device final in seventh place.

He will compete in the team final, only in the cellar, where he will be the last Russian.

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