Alexander Alexandrov will be replaced by Yevgeniy Grebyonkin as head coach of the Russian senior women’s team following a coaches’ meeting on Monday, newsagency Rsport reports. Alexandrov lead the Russian women to their first world team title since independence in 2010 as well as the team’s most successful Olympics in 12 years. Personal coach to 2010 world AA and 2012 Olympic UB champion Aliya Mustafina, his success has been acclaimed world-wide.
However, it was the mixture of personal and team coaching duties that lead to his dismissal. State coach Valentina Rodionenko told Rsport in a phone interview that it was not possible to combine the duties of a personal coach with those of a head coach which always “means problems in the team”. “None of us understands why this [success] is associated only with one person. We have four pieces of apparatus, and there is a specialist [coach] for every one. The job of each coach is to organise his work.” According to Valentina Rodionenko the recent success the Russian women’s programme is not only Alexandrov’s doing. “You think this is only Alexandrov’s merit? We would have had those medals be it with Alexandrov , Ivanov or Petrov [i.e. any other coach]”
Alexandrov told news paper Sovietskiy Sport that he feels the reasons behind his dismissal were personal. “It would be better to ask Rodionenko that question. Everybody is saying we competed well at the Olympics, especially compared to the last Olympics in Beijing, but I was told I did a bad job. If you want to know my opinion, it is something personal. I was also told that the gymnasts’ personal coaches were very unhappy with me.” Sergei Zelikson, personal coach to Anastasia Grishina, was amongst his main critics, he stated. Alexandrov, who said Grishina is no longer working with Zelikson, will continue as personal coach to Mustafina until the end of the year, when his current contract expires. “What will happen then – I don’t know yet.”
Yevgeniy Grebyonkin, who has worked as the Russian womens’ bars coach for the past years and is usually on the podium with the gymnasts on bars, was named new head coach of the senior women’s team.