Aliya Mustafina: I would be happy if Russia finishes top 3

Aliya Mustafina

The Russian women’s gymnastics team at the World Championships is very different from the squad that took runner-up to the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics.

Olympic and World all-around bronze medalist Aliya Mustafina is the only carryover from the London team.

“I would be happy if we finished at least in the top three,” she said, looking ahead to Wednesday’s team competition, according to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

Mustafina is without top teammates Viktoria Komova (Olympic all-around silver medalist), Ksenia Afanasyeva (2011 World floor exercise champion) and Maria Paseka (Olympic vault bronze medalist).

Russia won the World Championships team gold in 2010 and took silver behind the U.S. in 2011 and at the 2012 Olympics. There was no team event at the 2013 World Championships.

The Russians face competition from not only the U.S., but also Worlds host China, longtime power Romania and rising Great Britain to stay on the podium this year.

With Mustafina, Russia finished third at the European Championships in May, behind Romania and Great Britain.

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