Pavlova first emerged on the international gymnastics scene in 2000, winning a gold medal on the uneven bars at the Junior European Championships. Although she was too young to compete as a senior at the World Championships in 2001, she was allowed to participate in the Goodwill Games, where she earned a silver medal on the balance beam. In 2001 Pavlova successfully won the junior women's nationals, which was her biggest accomplishment of her career so far. In 2002, still too young to compete internationally as a senior, Anna won the Russian National Championships and picked up four medals, including team, vault and all-around gold, at the Junior European Championships.
Pavlova competed at the 2003 World Championships during her first year as a senior gymnast, where the Russian team finished sixth. Pavlova herself did not earn an individual medal, although she had qualified for the individual all-around and floor finals, mistakes prevented her from placing among the top three.
In 2004, Pavlova competed in the European Championships team competition. She fell from the uneven bars, which she was a favorite to win, and didn't qualify for the all-around. Later that year, Pavlova claimed the Russian national title and made the Russian Olympic team.
At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens Greece, Pavlova produced arguably her best performance to date. The Russian team clawed their way back onto the medal podium, finishing third behind Romania and the United States. In the individual All-Around, she placed fourth and missed the bronze medal by a fraction 0.025 to China's Zhang Nan. Still, Pavlova came back to win an individual bronze medal on the vault during the event finals, narrowly missing silver, whilst a mistake in beam finals cost her a medal and finished fourth behind Romania's Alexandra Eremia. Her floor music at the Olympics was "Winter" by Bond.
Pavlova is one of the few Russian gymnasts from the 2004 Olympic Team who opted to continue competing, winning silver all-around at the 2005 European Championships. She also competed in the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, where she qualified to the All Around final, as well as the Vault and Beam apparatus finals. The following year, Pavlova competed at the 2006 World Championships where she won a bronze medal with the Russian team. She once again qualified to the All Around, Vault and Beam finals.
She was named to the Russian Olympic Team for the 2008 Summer Olympics. On August 10, 2008, in the preliminary round, she performed her floor routine to "Exodus" by Maksim. She qualified fifth for the All-Around Final in Beijing, and has also made the final of the Vault, Beam and Floor events. At the Team Final, Russia finished fourth, letting Romania slip by to get bronze. On the Vault Final, at her second vault, she scored a 0-score, due to a miscue, where she started her vault before the green light was lit. On the Floor Final, she was still unsettled after her zero score in Vault, and did not perform well. Two days later, she performed better in the Balance Beam final, finishing 4th, 0.050 behind China's Cheng Fei.
In November 2008, Pavlova tore two ligaments in her knee during her beam dismount at the DTB World Cup event in Stuttgart. Surgery was required to reattach the ligaments. She was expected to take up to a year of recovery. While hopeful that a return to gymnastics is possible, Pavlova was not sure she will be able to. Pavlova told a Russian sports website:
"I hope, of course, that I'll be able to return to gymnastics, but I don't have full confidence in that yet."
Before her injury, Pavlova was able to place third on vault in Stuttgart. At the time of injury, Pavlova was ranked third in the world on beam and vault.
As of August, 2009, Pavlova resumed training. At the end of September, Anna began competing at the local level. She participated in the All Russia Dinamo competition and won gold on the uneven bars and bronze on the balance beam. After having competed at several local competitions, her first big meet was scheduled to be the 2009 Voronin Memorial that took place just days after the loss of her father. As a result, she had to withdraw. Anna made a strong comeback at the 2010 Russian Nationals in March, were she appeared with a heavily bandaged knee. Although she didn't compete full-difficulty routines, she placed a respectable 10th in the individual all-around, she won the gold medal with her team, the Central Federal District and she posted the highest score on vault to qualify for the event final, where she finished 5th.
2008-2010: "Exodus" by Maksim Mrvica
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