Blythe Lawrence gives us an update on how tiny Azerbaijan suddenly decided to become an Olympic contender in gymnastics.
… fan favorite and newly naturalized Azeri Anna Pavlova, who for the past five years has been overlooked by the Russian team masters for big international competitions, even when she could have potentially medalled on vault, by far her strongest event.
The dynamics of The Pavlova Situation in Russia have never been well explained: Whether the Russian head coaches simply chose to focus on the new generation after Pavlova tore her ACL in 2008 or whether there were issues of attitude problems and/or bad training habits is unknown.
Either way, Pavlova showed up at numerous Russian Championships between 2010 and 2013, performed well on beam, often won vault, and was never selected for major teams. She earned her living competing for foreign clubs, like Haguenau in France, as well as in the German Bundesliga league, before her nationality switch to Azerbaijan was greenlighted by the International Gymnastics Federation late last year. …
Examiner – Grow your own Olympic team