Friday, 2 November 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Ksenia Semenova (RUS)

Ksenia Semenova (now retired) was a key member of the Russian team from 2007-2010, participated in three World Championships and the Beijing Olympic Games. She was often under-rated as she was Queen of the dreaded 4th position not unlike her fellow Russian Anna Pavlova. 

A young Semenova on floor in the all-around Olympic competition where she finished 4th place (Photo credit: Getty Images, Jeff Gross)

However, she was a champion in her own right, winning the uneven bars title at her first World Championships in 2007 outshining fellow competitors Nastia Liukin (USA) and Yang Yilin (CHI). She became the first uneven bars World Champion since Khorkina. Here is her gold medal performance at the 2007 World Championships. She swings extremely efficiently and moves very quickly  through her routine. Note the Rebecca Bross-like toe point! She perhaps lacks some difficulty and there is a bit to be said about her technique.

Ksenia wins the uneven bars title at the 2007 World Championships (aged 14!!)

She underwent a growth spurt after the 2008 Olympics and really matured as a gymnast. Her personality flourishes in her 2009-2010 floor routine which is one of my all-time favourites. The choreography fits her and the music so perfectly and she performs it with such passion! I also love the unique turns (foot held up behind her head). With strong routines on floor, beam and bar, and with a decent vault she became the European all-around champion in 2009, she was at the peak of her career in 2009. Here is her excellent floor routine performed at the Memorial Gander competition in 2009.

Ksenia's 2009 floor routine (best quality video I could find!)

Ksenia helped the Russian team to win gold in the Team competition at the 2010 World Championships for the first time EVER alongside Russian star Aliya Mustafina. Semenova contributed with beautiful balance beam routine. It is amazing what Team Russia can accomplish when they are confident!

Semenova's beam routine helped Team Russia to gold at the 2010 World Championships

Semenova has since retired from gymnastics due to on-going injuries and further growth spurts, she is now pursuing her studies in law. She is still involved in the gymnastics community and helps with coaching at her old club. Ksenia should be immensley proud of her gymnastics career, she has contributed much to Russian gymnastics and will be remembered! World Champions are forever, afterall.

Semenova hanging out with Aliya Mustafina and Ksenia Afanaseva in 2012

Article by Imogen Browne (@ImogenMireille)

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