By Anna Rose Johnson

Yelena “Alyona” Shchennikova of 5280 Gymnastics is a rising star on the U.S. senior elite scene. The younger sister of former national team member Polina Shchennikova, Alyona is an exquisite bars worker and recently finished 8th in the all-around at the 2017 Jesolo Trophy. In this quick Q&A, Alyona tells us about her training and goals!

Inside Gymnastics: What has it been like to train alongside Polina over the years?
Alyona Shchennikova: Training with Polina was amazing. She was my idol growing up and I felt so blessed training with her. She would always push me to be my best. She was and still is incredibly inspirational to me because she was one who didn’t give up. Even when she wasn’t able to train she was in the gym every day encouraging me. I love her so much for that and I could never thank her enough for always being there for me.

Inside: What’s your favorite skill?
Alyona: My favorite skill is an inbar stalder and basically any variation of inbar stalder skills.

Inside: When will your next competition be?
Alyona: My next competition will be the U.S. Classic in July.

Inside: Are you working on any upgrades for this summer?
Alyona: I am not working on any upgrades at the moment. I’ve just been trying to perfect my routines.

Inside: What are your goals for 2017 and for the future?
Alyona: Of course 2020 is a goal, but that is more of a long-term goal. I am trying to take things year by year, and right now my goals for this year are to make the Senior National Team at P&Gs and to make it the World Championships team.

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Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com