I was not a fan of Aliya Mustafina. In fact I had never even heard her name before the 2012 Olympics. I was fully prepared like always to root for team USA during women's gymnastics. After all isn't it my patriotic duty to root for the USA? At least that's what I've always been told. That was all about to change.
    As usual NBC television tried their hardest to build up the USA women as America's sweethearts. They had the girl next door looks, picture perfect smiles, scripted media responses, and bubbly personalities ready to go. It just seemed too perfect and fake. I needed something different. I was looking for a breathe of fresh air.
    Thanks to NBC's horrible commentators I got just what I was looking for. Towards the very end of team qualifications NBC aired a spot on Aliya that lasted just over one minute. During that one minute segment they tried their hardest to give the USA someone to root against. They tried to create the perfect enemy for us. They said that she was hard to coach and that she was a diva. Their plan backfired on me.
    What I saw was a fierce competitor. I could just see the complete and total focus in her eyes. I could tell she was determined to take gold. She was daring with her look. She really stood out in the crowd, in a good way. I had finally found my person to cheer for.
    After qualifications were over I quickly went online to find out what I could. I was shocked to find out that in April 2011 she had a horrible knee injury. It's truly inspiring to see any athlete come back from that kind of injury when it would have been so easy just to give up. The strength she showed to get back to the top is simply amazing. I also found out that Aliya was the 2010 World Champion and that she had qualified for all four event finals, taking three silver medals. Her credentials just go on and on.
    I went on Youtube to watch some videos and NBC was at it again. They were in shock that Aliya had no idols in gymnastics. I think it is wonderful that she strives to be her own unique person. She even has her own unique skills named after her in gymnastics. I'm sure things would be much easier for her to just idolize someone else and copy their style.
    Throughout the rest of the Olympics I got to hear more and more of NBC's ridiculous commentary. If the Russian team cried it was that they were ungrateful for their medals and that they were overly emotional. If team USA cried it was that everything that they had worked so hard for had slipped away. Russia was made to look like they had bad sportsmanship if they celebrated or cracked a smile during someone else's routine. When the USA did the same exact thing nothing was said about it. When Aliya pushed her coaches hand away after falling off the balance beam it suddenly became she "shoved" him. They were constantly asking if anyone had witnessed any diva like attitude from Aliya. If someone from Russia fell on any events it was that they just gave up and didn't fight hard enough. If the USA fell it was that they were exhausted.
    Of course NBC never had anything nice to say when Aliya went up to Aly Raisman and HE Kexin and congratulated them and gave them a thumbs up. I saw great sportsmanship from Aliya throughout the Olympics. I saw her consoling her teammates and cheering them on through all the events. I thought that she really showed great leadership. When Aliya was on the podium at the end of the team finals I watched her congratulate every women on the USA with a smile on her face. I thought that she showed a lot of class.
    Do we really need to vilify another countries athletes? Are we not above such things? I for one was thrilled to see Aliya win four medals during the Olympics. She was the most decorated gymnast(man or women) in the Olympics. I wish to congratulate her and her team for doing such a wonderful job.

Kenny

    Anyone that has a story they would like to share could always do so in the newly added message board.
Michelle
8/11/2012 07:21:27 am

I agree with you.

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mathewTorres
8/11/2012 12:10:27 pm

Well expressed. Couldn't agree more

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Buddy Sloan
8/11/2012 12:28:42 pm

I feel the same way with you!! I belive that is all NBC does is try to make any other country look bad while ours are the heros!! I really think its pathetic, how did she "shove" her coach when all she did was lightly bush his hand away!! She is by far one of the best gymnasts I've ever watched!! And I'm looking toward to watch her in Rio in four years!! She has officially inspired me to push myself harder in my sports!! And she has inspired me to try gymnastics!!!!

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Giliane
8/11/2012 12:36:49 pm

I completely agree. Felt the same way!

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Nancy Raymond
8/11/2012 12:57:52 pm

I totally agree! No mention was made when McKayla stood on the podium for her silver in the vault and covered her medal the entire time she stood there! I don't even know how she managed to get any medal after landing one vault on her bum!

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8/11/2012 01:14:43 pm

I am glad... well in fact happy to have read your post, I loved every single of your words, it was like if you were reading my mind.

After seen a NBC's cruel video making difference between RUSSIA and USA teams, showing the first as weak with all those preselected images and color, I felt pity to see how an important network, was behaving so deplorable in the name of a wrong patriotic feeling.

I saw the Olympics from an objective place, I am mexican, I have no preference for a particular country but for a good athletes.

At each Olympic Games I have admired to those who have demonstrated excellence no matter what country they come. It's a shame that NBC wanted to boast to their gymnasts, using dirty tricks to enlarge them. That, instead of helping, affects, at least in the eyes of the world, makes them look like they need that kind of advertising to win rather than demonstrating their skills. In my opinion in these Olympic Games there were many inconsistencies on the part of all participants, you could see them on the horns of the moon and the next day no. I saw the gymnasts of both teams in the same situation, the pressure must be terrible for all and there was no need to show enemies instead of competitors.

Is not one of the main Olympic ideals fair play? Thank goodness NBC is not competing in the Olympics because it would have lost by foul play ... well actually they lost my respect.

I'm in the same situation as you, before these games I had never heard from Aliya, but definitely she caught my attention, I have not stopped to watch her videos and admire her personality.

Get a hug from me and once again thanks for playing fair.

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Travis
8/11/2012 01:35:33 pm

I agree with you 100%. I think you should submit this to NBC as I will be submitting mine as well and so should others.the NBC gymnastics commentators were appalling to say the least and should not be covering the sport anymore.the cold war is over and to try and vilify another countries athletes is just wrong.your talking down about 17 year old girls who have worked there whole lives for this one moment and may never have this moment again and why?because they got upset over making mistakes?crying and being frustrated at themselves?NBC's commentators were pathetic and honestly made me ashamed of my countries attitude towards other countries athletes.and the double standards?WTF?wieber cried and oh no poor girl but komova cries and what she's a cry baby?mackayla got upset after her fall and was on podium in front of others clearly upset and it was ok but mustafina brushed her coaches hand away after a fall and she's a diva?

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Kenny
8/11/2012 11:20:49 pm

Do you have any contact information for NBC? I would be more than happy to share my thoughts with them. I don't know if NBC's commentators had been this bad in the past but this was embarrassing to say the least. The double standard they showed throughout the gymnastics competition was sickening. It's okay for us to have some competition. We don't have to win everything.

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Billy
8/11/2012 02:39:38 pm

I totally agree with you! The USA girls team was all hyped, but didn't perform as well as hyped. I admit being an American I had not planned for rooting for anyone, though I enjoy watching gymnastics all together and to spite my wife, who was a gymnast. I found Aliya to be the under dog and was made out to be the villain but it was NBC's comments that pushed me towards Aliya and rooting for her to win! I look at this way, NBC calls her a diva, so what she gets the job done! I started my researched and watched some videos and wanted her to win even more! Though the Olympics are over I can't wait to read and watch whats in store for Aliya next! Truly an amazing athlete!

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Richi
8/11/2012 04:08:07 pm

This describes my personal experience almost 100%!!! I was so tired of the american commentators that I ended up extremely disliking them. Aliya Mustafina proved to be the best out there, and even though NBC planned for her to be the "bad guy", she has become, by far, my favorite gymnast in these 2012 Olympics. ;) from her number 1 fan in San Antonio!!!

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Secret
8/11/2012 04:38:14 pm

Thanks for writing all of those. I REALLY APPREACIATE IT!

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8/11/2012 05:00:30 pm

It is very appropriate post! But it is so interesting that I am the only one Russian made this comment yet. The rest are probably Americans. I know some other reasons why my compatriots were crying. But it is definitely not because a bad sportsmanship. They were crying because they are simply a very young women!

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8/11/2012 08:00:45 pm

THANK YOU for this. Be aware that NBC is crappy when it comes to gymnastics-they really do not consider gymnastics an actual SPORT. So they create all this soap opera bullshit drama. Aliya Mustafina is simply the most charismatic gymnast I've seen since..well, really since Podkopeyva.

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Drew
8/11/2012 10:03:19 pm

I agree with you 100%. In addition to what you said I was also captivated by her beauty and superior gymnastic skills.

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Natasha
8/11/2012 10:47:01 pm

Thank you so much for writing this. Aliya is by far the most talented gymnast currently in the world. Her only competition is her teammate, Vika Komova. It's nearly impossible to tear your entire knee and compete -- most people need years and years to recover and usually never get back to the same form they were previously in. But not Aliya. She is a true fighter, and the next gymnastics legend --- strength, creativity, artistry, perseverance and talent. We're seeing a legend come to life with Aliya Mustafina.

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Amoyu
8/11/2012 10:53:27 pm

You are a genius!

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Troy
8/11/2012 11:14:01 pm

The exact same thing happened to me.

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Kenny
8/11/2012 11:27:56 pm

It seems like NBC's plan might have backfired a little bit. I'm happy to see so many other people thinking the same way as me.

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Stoyan
8/12/2012 03:29:17 am

It's like you took the words out of my mouth, this is exactly how I felt. I was really interested, and the more interviews I saw with Aliya the more I respected her. I've never really followed gymnastics but Aliya amazed me so much!

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Kenny
8/12/2012 04:00:17 am

I rarely watched gymnastics outside of the Olympics. Aliya really opened my eyes to the sport and now I can't wait to see where she competes next. I doubt America broadcasts much though so I'm sure I'll have to rely on You Tube or other means.

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Anna
8/12/2012 12:59:35 pm

I'm not American so I didn't have to bear through the NBC commentators, but I've seen some of it and heard similar stories, and I totally agree with you. Personally, Aliya is by far my favourite. She's so inspiring, graceful and strong. And I can't wait to see more of her.

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Jenn
8/13/2012 06:30:58 am

The BBC had a similar commentary to that of NBC's. And despite the fact that I love Aliya, much of what they said was true. Her coach has said she's difficult to work with due to her strong character, but that only made me like her more. There were times when Komova appeared to have given up - landing on vault, falling on beam and this was commented on by the BBC. They also complimented both the Russian and US teams throughout for their outstanding talent. I don't think the BBC commentators were trying to make an enemy out of the Russians - they just told it how they saw it...

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travis
8/13/2012 10:25:09 am

Nbc contact info can be found on their website i encourage People To send their complaints.i am ashamed of their comments and have sent emails To nbc

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kristen
8/13/2012 08:07:10 pm

Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts. Those are the exact things running through my mind. Aliya Mustafina captivated me the first time i watched her in this recent Olympics. Not only the fact that she is pretty, she was really awesome and admired her determination to get back in shape after that injury. it was just so sad that NBC was unfair to someone who really is good in this event. It's not being a diva NBC, that's called focused mixed with fierce.

If not for the internet, i wouldn't have known that Aliya is a World Champion and the best out there. Love her!

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Stoner
8/17/2012 08:38:46 pm

Kenny, I couldn't agree with you more !! The coverage was the same in '96 in Atlanta. Make the Magnificent Seven into America's Sweethearts and the Russians, Romanians, everyone else the enemy. For whatever reason they decided to focus their negativity on Aliya, in a twisted sort of way I have to thank NBC for that because it made me do my own research and turned me into a HUGE fan of Aliya. She has a intensity and fire for competition that everyone else should aspire to someday have. NBC says that makes her a diva, I say that makes her a CHAMPION !!!! I'm an American, so I was rooting for the US girls and I won't apologize for that, but when a girl from another countries team impresses me I will absolutely come to her defense against the people trying to make her out as something she obviously in NOT. Aliya has impressed me and more than earned the respect she should've gotten from the morons on NBC. This American has your back Aliya, anytime you need it !!

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estefania
11/22/2012 03:02:32 pm

La vdd me gusto mucho el post, y me agrado ver el punto de vista de una persona americana sobre una atleta rusa, y creo que ambos, tanto las rusas como las norteamericanas, fueron excelentes, especialmente me gusto mucho komova. que triste ver que en EUA le traten de quitar metiro a al equipo ruso de gimnasia....

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Leann
2/1/2014 09:38:18 am

It's 2014 and I'm looking forward to see her compete in the upcoming Worlds '14 and '15, and Rio '16!

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Kristine
7/25/2016 11:49:52 pm

I know you all wrote so long ago, but I recently rewatched a lot of the gymnastics from the 2012 olympics and you're are all so right!

If anyone is interested you can watch all the gymnastics events from the 2012 olympics on the Olympics' youtube channel. It has great commentating (not by NBC) which is very positive about all the gymnasts and not biased like the NBC commentators.

I know 2012 is a long time ago, just thought it might be helpful if anyone felt like rewatching any of the amazing gymnastics from London - it mights also be relevant for the 2016 games in Rio this summer :-)

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Bitota Nkongolo
9/29/2016 03:44:16 pm

I totally agree. Upon that, they only show and cover the routine of the top performers, I understand they can't show every single gymnast routine, but can they at least show some routine from gymnasts who are not in the top 10. Because we also wanna cheer for them.

Bitota from South Africa

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