Since she first arrived to the elite competitive scene in 2007, Russian gymnast Viktoria Komova, daughter of former Soviet great Vera Kolesnikova, became a favorite to win the 2012 Olympic all around gold medal, the most prestigious title in the sport of gymnastics. As a junior athlete, Komova won competition after competition, including the coveted European Youth Olympic Festival in 2009, the 2010 Russian National Championships (even beating 2010 world all around champion Aliya Mustafina), and the 2010 Youth Olympics, also earning the top spot on the uneven bars, vault, and placing third on the floor exercise.
Since 2007, Komova, along with Mustafina, has been considered Russia’s best chance at Olympic gold in 2012. As a junior gymnast, Komova performed incredibly difficult routines with artistry and, most importantly, consistency (a quality that many Russians have lacked over the years).
Unfortunately, just days prior to her senior competition debut, Komova sustained a nagging injury to her foot. Since then, the Russian star has been plagued with inconsistency at competitions, and many have written her out as another Russian “head case.” Although Komova placed second at the 2011 world championships, her performance was not up to par to her gymnastics as a junior gymnast.
As the Olympic Games draw nearer and nearer, with only 100 days to go until the opening ceremonies, it will be interesting to see whether Komova does actually live up to the expectations, not only from the Russian team but from fans worldwide that consider her a saving grace from a sport that has unfortunately shifted its emphasis from artistry to unbelievable – and sometimes dangerous – difficult skills. Komova, critics agree, has the ideal combination of both.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that Komova did not participate at the recent Russian national championships, something that has many of her fans nervous. Russian head coach Alexander Alexandrov claims that Komova is still very much in the running for the London team, and that she is simply giving her chronic foot injury some time to finally heal.