At the age of 21, Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina is one of the most decorated gymnasts in history, and she has added two more medals to her collection in Rio so far. The passionate Mustafina's many roads to victory were paved by her daring and expertise, and although many viewers might not know what the Mustafina is, the gymnast's uneven bar dismount is a crucial part of what makes her such an extraordinary athlete.
The Mustifina is a highly difficult dismount on the uneven bars which calls for a gymnast to do two back flips with a one and a half twist before sticking the landing. It is classified as an "E" skill in the Code of Points (the Gymnastics' detailed handbook of points), making it among the most difficult skills a gymnast can master. Mustafina has ended her uneven bar routine with the move several times, and has perfected it to the point where it now bears her name. However, Mustafina is not the only gymnast who can pull off her eponymous move.
United States champ Simone Biles, who has already won the gold for all-around gymnast in Rio, can also pull off the Mustifina. The more difficult a skill is, the more points it can bring. That is why gymnasts, especially those at an Olympic level, try to incorporate stylish moves like the Mustafina into their routines despite the higher probability of the routine going wrong.
If you have been hearing murmurings about the impressive move this year, it is because Mustafina has not done the move in competition since 2013. The past few years have been hard on her, as she suffered from both a knee injury and ongoing back pain. There is no quitting for this athlete, though. This is a woman who has six Olympic medals and is looking to add another one to her collection when she competes in the final uneven bars event.
Mustafina brought back her signature move in Rio during the finals and she absolutely nailed it during her routine. Her flawless execution contributed to her taking home the bronze medal for all-around gymnast, taking her place beside Biles and Aly Raisman. Given the state of her health and her age (21), this could be Mustafina's final Olympics. If it is, it is fitting for the Russian juggernaut's final event to be the uneven bars, her specialty.
The athlete has already brought the Mustafina back to the Olympics once in 2016 and demonstrated to her competitors how the complex, high-flying dismount is meant to be done in the process. If Mustafina decides to use her signature move one more time in the finals, she is almost certain to place in the final uneven bars event. The move is a showstopper and no one does it as elegantly as the woman who gave the dismount its name.