Rodionenko: There is a lot of criticism towards the Worlds’ organizing committee

The World Championships which were dubbed by some fans “The Hunger Games” allegedly actually kept the gymnasts hungry and thirsty – of course, in addition to the fact that there were countless injuries, blinding lights, and literal blood on the competition floor. Many gymnasts were unhappy with the organization. For example, Oksana Chusovitina complained that she was given only 5 minutes of podium training. Turns out she was lucky because Eleftherios Petrounias told the media that he didn’t get any podium training at all. When the gymnast came to do his podium training, there was no chalk in the bucket and, since he was given only 3 minutes to complete his podium training, he didn’t have enough time to find chalk and prepare the apparatus. The hosts of the Gymcastic podcast said that they heard about issues with the buses going between the hotels and the arena: gymnasts had to wait for a long time and when the buses finally came, they got crowded and there weren’t enough seats for everyone.

Valentina Rodionenko talked to TASS about some of the problems the Russian team encountered in Montreal:

“These Worlds will make history as a competition with the most injuries. Why did this happen? One of the reasons is the following: the organizers didn’t give the athletes enough time for the podium training. They [the gymnasts] could only go on the apparatus twice and basically couldn’t really get the feeling of the apparatus.”

“As we were explained, this had to do with TV, which, apparently, was streaming the podium training. And this is a disaster for such an injury-prone sport as artistic gymnastics. Also alarming is the huge number of injuries on vault during the landing – it means that there’s something wrong with the mats. It’s not a coincidence that Kohei Uchimura, an extremely experienced Japanese gymnast, got injured on this exact apparatus”.

Rodionenko also told that for the first three days of training, there was no water in the training hall. After the coaches complained multiple times, water was finally brought to the hall:

“Gymnasts had no place to get water and only after our multiple complaints water finally appeared. At other competitions, there are usually apples, oranges, bananas in the training hall, but in Montreal there’s nothing. Here they were charging for water even in the VIP zone, does that seem normal to you?”

Apparently, there was also an issue with athletes not being allowed to prepare bars by themselves before their routines:

“We’re outraged by the situation when the gymnasts weren’t allowed to prepare the bars for themselves before competing in qualifications. Our head coach, Evgeny Grebyonkin, had to do it. But it’s customary for us that every gymnast prepares her own bars, many don’t even trust other people to do it. Grebyonkin almost lost his accreditation when he tried to stand up for his gymnasts, after which there was this whole scandal. And when we told everything to the management of the Canadian Gymnastics Federation, they answered that the local executive committee does not follow the federation’s instructions. So, that’s why the organization of this competition invites a lot of criticism and questions.”


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