By Olga Yemolina for Moscow News
The Women’s Artistic Gymnastics World All-Around Champion, Russian Aliya Mustafina, flew to Munich yesterday for examinations after her knee surgery. The day before, at the Moscow stage of the World Cup series, your correspondent from Moscow News sat down for a chat with the gymnast.
— It is odd to be a spectator at a gymnastics meet?
Of course it is. I really want to be out there competing. But no athlete is safe from injuries and you have to find the strength in yourself to not get absorbed by one. After what happened to me, I told myself that I could not get depressed, that I had to heal my knee and continue training.
— Did you get that confidence in yourself from your father, the Greco-Roman medallist in the 1976 Olympics?
I don’t know where I got it, but my father and everyone at home was very upset when they heard about my injury. Papa understands like no-one else that now I need time to recover. But he didn’t say anything about it, because everything was understood without any words.
— Did you have your operation at the same clinic in Munich where other Russian athletes have been?
I only know the name of the doctor who did my operation – Dr. Stroebel. There are no easy operations, but I felt absolutely normal the next day.
— Do you feel any pain now?
No, none. The fact that I am limping some is just because my leg has not been thoroughly rehabilitated.
— They say that you are training a little bit?
Yes, I am conditioning my arms and doing easy exercises on the bar. I have support on my knee and do my exercises in it.
— The coaches on the national team say that you will most likely miss world championships because the main goal is the Olympic Games and things cannot be forced or rushed.
Of course, there is no way I can compete in the all-around at worlds. But I might be able to try bars and beam. First, I need that psychologically, so I don’t lose my confidence. Second, if I can, I’ll be ready. Why not?
— What is the goal of this trip to Munich?
I need to undergo tests to see how the recovery is going after the operation. The German doctors will write a rehabilitation plan and say what exercises I need to do. They told me not to try anything at home on my own before that.
— What are your teammates on the national team saying?
Everyone is supporting me, telling me the team needs me. But I want to get back to the podium as soon as I can myself. I think that is what ill happen.