(photos by JB) [This is a repost of information I originally posted last December on the Anna Pavlova Online web page, and shared to Gym2day’s Facebook page, but hadn’t previously posted here]
It is official, I regret to pass along that Anna has announced her retirement from gymnastics competition. She looks forward to a career as a coach (following in the footsteps of her mother, Nataliya Pavlova). This article from wogymnast.com says it all in a nutshell, “Pavlova is considered to be one of the most talented gymnasts of her generation as well as one of the unluckiest.” You can say that again.
I met Anna only once, but have been proud to serve as webmaster of her official website and Facebook page for the past two years. The picture above is one I took of Anna doing a (very high!) wolf jump on beam the first night of ESPN2’s Pro Gymnastics Challenge in 2013. I printed it at home and brought it back for her to autograph the second night. She doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Russian, so we couldn’t converse, but she seemed quite pleased when I presented the photo for her to sign.
When I heard about her retirement last December, it was disappointing news. Just two weeks prior to 2015 Worlds an official of the Azerbaijan gymnastics federation had told me that Anna was set to compete, despite nagging elbow and knee problems, and she had appeared on the Worlds nominative roster. Around the same time a visitor to the Facebook page Anna Pavlova Online pointed me to a very recent video of her competing balance beam in a minor Russian meet (albeit with a quite watered down routine), so I was hopeful she would appear and make a good showing at Worlds. But it was not to be. Apparently her elbow was just not recovered enough, and/or had interfered with her training too much for her to be ready for a major competition. Barely two months later, she retired.
I wish Anna much luck as a coach. It’s pretty certain she won’t play a prominent role in Russia’s gymnastics federation, as it appeared she was estranged from it long before she began competing for Azerbaijan, but she (and her mother) could probably do well opening their own gym or as private coaches.
Here is another photo I took of Anna at the 2013 Pro Gymnastics Challenge, showing what great shape she was in at the time, less than six months before she took the offer from Baku to lave Russia. On night one, she outdid Catalina Ponor head to head on beam when each did an Omelianchik. Anna held her handstand for a good fifteen seconds, giving a flexibility exhibition in the process, clearly showing off (I should include a picture of that, too. I’ll try to find it). Being as it’s a skill that perhaps half a dozen gymnasts in the world compete, it was a treat to see the two of them throw it so confidently.
You can find all kinds of Anna Pavlova news, results, videos, and photos going back several years on her official Facebook page Anna Pavlova Online, and her official website anna-pavlova.net (both of which I am webmaster of). If you speak Russian, you can find Anna on VKontake.