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Controversy At the American Cup

Posted by garymcuesta on March 22, 2011

"NBC Universal"

JACKSONVILLE, Fl. – If you were a Russian at the American Cup, odds are you weren’t happy. Russian Aliya Mustafina and her coach Aleksandr Aleksandrov were none too happy with many things at the AT&T American Cup.

First, and the most notable error, was the structure of this year’s American Cup. It was a World Cup Event and was structured by the Federation of International Gymnastics, the international governing body of the sport. Under the requirements for gymnasts to compete in a World Cup, they both must have competed in and placed at the World Championships the previous year. Usually, the American Cup is run by USA Gymnastics.

British Nicole Hibbert injured herself while competing the weekend before the American Cup, ending her chance to compete. Three days before the American Cup, American Jordyn Wieber was announced her replacement.

On the men’s side, Russia’s Sergey Khorokhordin, also slated to compete at the American Cup, had to withdraw from the competition because of an injury just days before the American Cup. American Jake Dalton replaced him.

Simple enough?

Not quite.

Wieber nor Dalton competed at last years world championships. And Wieber was not even age eligible to compete at last year’s worlds.

Mustifina and her coach were none too happy with this at all.

“She was not even sixteen last year,” said Aleksandrov. “She wasn’t sixteen!”

Mustifina was also unhappy that she had to room with another foreign athlete at their hotel.

As if to add insult to injury, Wieber beat Mustifina for the gold at the American Cup, leaving her with the silver and a fall on the floor exercise to add to her already mounting disappointment.

While it is understandable that the Russians felt this way, it would have been near impossible to call a foreign athlete to replace the injured gymnasts who had competed at the World Championships last year. And if the Federation of International Gymnastics deemed the replacement gymnasts to be cleared to compete, there is not much anyone can do about it.

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