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women's artistic gymnastics

Extracts From No. 27 - June 1999

SIMONA AMANAR
"Gymnastics has always been a passion for me. Now it’s a way of life."

Date of birth: 7 October, 1979
Place of birth: Constanza
Started Gymnastics: at 6 years of age
Coach: Nicolae Forminte
Height: 146.9 cms
Weight: 36 kg
Occupation: Student in the High Institute for Physical Culture and Sports
International career started 1994
Residence: National Training Centre in Deva
Family: Mother, Father, Brother Adrian, 2 years younger than Simona
Favourite books: Detective novels and science fiction books
Favourite music: With Rhythm, Celine Dion and Disco
Favourite colours: Red and blue
Favourite country Romania
by Vera Atkinson

Still, a truly private person…

Simona Amanar and the World recognised master coach Octavian Belu, Senior National Coach for Romania

Opinions of each other

Octavian: At the beginning, no one considered Simona to be an exceptional talent. Ballet does not characterise her style as a gymnast. She is not very plastic either. In short, she is not a «show» gymnast. But she is powerful and quick as a deer. Her run on the gymnastics floor reminds me of the way the incredible Emil Zatopek ran on the track in the ‘50s - no visible effort, but tremendous power and zeal... Simona’s greatest qualities, though, are her discipline and her dedication to Gymnastics. I don’t mean sheer obedience! I mean genuine discipline!

Simona Amanar
Simona
: Mr. Belu is an extraordinary coach who knows exactly what to say, how to say it and when to say it. In the Gym, he is strict and to the point. Otherwise, he is understanding and always behaves the way we expect him to. Our confidence in him is unbelievable. We respect him for everything he has done so far. He is a key figure in achieving so many victories...

About Simona’s new role as a leader of the Romanian Team

Octavian:Simona is already in charge of her leadership. She is an excellent example for the youngsters in the Team. Simona, Claudia Presecan and Corina Ungureanu are now the core of our Team. We must build the squad for the World Championships ‘99 and the Olympic Games 2000. Simona is very tough, reliable and consistent. All these qualities help her win respect and be recognised as a leader.

Simona: I am quite a reserved person. That is why it was difficult to take on the responsibilities of a leader. To captain a Team once led by Milo (Lavinia Milosovici) and then by Gina (Gogean) is a great honour and responsibility. I realise that I must be a good example for my younger Team-mates and in this respect, I hope to be successful.

Romanian Team’s Motto?

Simona: Yes, we have one. It’s: «Be tough! Go and do it!» It is also very encouraging to hear gymnasts and coaches encouraging you before, or during a performance, although it is difficult to understand what they say. What matters at the moment is that their presence is felt. Then you know you are not alone...

The Change

Octavian: Simona’s process of maturing reminds me amazingly of Gina Gogean’s. While younger, Gina was an unbeatable introvert for years. Then, the moment came when she started enjoying the outside world. She opened «a passage» to herself. She became more outspoken during Press Conferences. The coaches’ approach to her also became easier. Building a brand new confidence was under way. This is exactly what’s happening with Simona now. She is still a very unusual teenager. How many of them do you know who do not like listening to loud music, or refuse to go shopping (for the sake of a good rest before a competition), or who stand up and look straight into the eyes of an adult when speaking, or who like being alone? Well, this is precisely Simona’s case. She is more open to the world now, but she is still a very private, very special person.

Simona Amanar
Simona Amanar
© eileen langsley
Simona: Every competition creates the same emotions for me, as it was in 1994 when I first competed with the Senior National Squad at the Europeans in Stockholm. I think I am an emotional person. I am not even sure that I am able to «cover» this. But then, the experience is very important and I feel much more confident now in every respect. Gymnastics has always been a passion for me. Now it’s a way of life. And I love it.

I know it will be difficult to stop competing, but I hope to become a coach and help create an Olympic Champion by my own efforts.

Who is the closest to Simona?

Octavian:Her mother. Simona gives her a ring wherever she is around the world. They meet (sometimes for minutes) at airports, gyms etc., but the bond of Simona with her family is very strong. Also with Claudia (Presecan). They are like sisters with the same tastes and approach to the world.

Simona: My mother is the one who knows me best. She has always inspired me, encouraged me and given me comfort. And also, my coaches! They have helped me to put up with myself and start breaking my shell.

Best Achievements
Olympic Champion on Vault in Atlanta '96
Twice World Champion on Vault '95 and '97 and with Team '95 and '97
World Cup '98 winner on Vault and Floor
Europan Champion on Vault and Uneven Bars '96 and with Team '94, '96 and '98
European Cup '96 winner on Vault and Floor
  
All-around: Olympic Bronze medal in Atlanta '96
World Silver medal in Lausanne '97
European Silver medal in ST. Petersburg '98

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