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A Year Review For The Romanians

I read this on the Gymn-L and I thought it was pretty neat, so I decided to share it with you all. This pretty much sums up '97 performance of the Romanians, I wish them good luck in the future. If you want to add anything to the Review, feel free to e-mail me. I'll add it to the page. If you have any question about the infomation in the review please E-mail Gert.

Date: Tue, 30 Dec 1997 21:46:48 +0100
From: GMG <gguendis@TIR.BAYNET.DE>
Subject: What happened gymnastically in 1997 in (for) your country?

    As the season is over, I want to start a new thread, which certainly
will be very interesting if many of you take part.

    There are many different people, from many countries on this list: USA,
Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, (Germany, Romania), Italy,
Great Britain, South Africa, etc.
Beth could report about Russia, ...

    Could someone from each country please give a short synopsis of the country achievements, good things, bad things, news, prospects for the
next year, future etc.

    Basically: what happened gymnastically in YOUR country in 1997.

    I'll start the thread with ROMANIA


    For the Romanian men, it was an extremely difficult year, not to say an "annus horribilis". The major factor which influenced their performance was the severe and life-threatening illness of our national coach Danut Grecu, who almost died in this years spring from peritonitis. As a consequence, the boys couldn't train as they should, and were in addition followed by bad luck. Gold medal hope on still rings Dan Burinca ruptured a muscle in his arm during the last training in Lausanne, Rares Orzata got injured as well, and our gold medal hope on PH Marius Urzica choked being in the lead after prelims in Switzerland. Hopefully 1998 will be a better year for our male gymnasts.

    They recently move from Resita to a new highly sophisticated gym in Bucharest. The were few positive things: some good results in the ITC (despite a disastrous floor performance), a good performance at the World University Games in Sicily, a bronze medal on vault at Worlds for Adi Ianculescu (which was rather a result of luck then of capability), and the fact that Urzica became quite a good HB (full twisting stretched Jaeger) and
PB (has his own skill) gymnast.

    Urzica also won a World Cup title.

    Tomorrow I'll give a synopsis of the achievements, etc. of the Romanian




    The situation within the Federation is not that well as well. Adi Stoica (with whom Grecu sympathizes with) and Nicolae Vieru (with whom Tavi Belu sympathizes with) are still fighting each other. Bela's book "Feel No Fear" caused a lot of quarrels and public accusations between Vieru and Karolyi, since the one called the one "traitor" (Vieru about Karolyi), while vice versa Bela called Vieru a (former) "fanatic communist". Thanks Lord for Maria Simionescu who kind of calms down the parties.

    Our country and Federation have to deal with financial problems, that's why the Federation cannot send competitors to as many events as they
would like to.


    The first post-Milo year was on of the most successful in the history of Romania's women's gymnastics program. The name who stands above all is the name of "GINA GOGEAN", who won three gold medals and one bronze medal in Lausanne at the World Championships. At the age of 20, an age, when many gymnasts are already considered "finished", Gina won her 3rd consecutive gold medal in the floor exercise (1995/1996/1997) (5 medals on floor in a row) and contributed to the third consecutive title in the team event (1994/1995/1997) to a total of 5 titles in this event for Romania (1979/1987/1994/1995/1997). Gina now has a total of 9 (!) gold medals, 2 silver medals and 4 bronze medals, which makes her the most successful female gymnast in the history of World championships, right ahead of Larissa Latynina from the former USSR. Gina was elected Romanian athlete of the year, and the International Gymnastics Federation named her recently the best female gymnast of the season.

    Her teammate Simona Amanar, was almost as successful, finishing 2nd in the AA competition and first on vault. Romania also finished first in the ITC and won two World Cup events. In addition Romania finished in the first ranks at the Trophy Massilia, The
Cunichi Cup, The International Junior Tournament in Japan, The 1997 Thailand Invitational, The Glasgow Grand Prix and many others. Promising juniors showed up, such as Maria Olaru, Erika Boncsina, Nicoleta Onel, who would probably make the team for 1998.

    Although I'm a little pessimistic about the 1998 Europeans for the seniors, I'm very optimistic about the 1999/2000 team, and for the 1998 Junior Europeans, where some of our juniors will have a great coming out party. There are many talents at the moment in Romania: Andrea Isarescu (Stefan Gal from Onesti said that she's the biggest talent in current Romania), Ecaterina Ureche, Paraschiva Rebreanu, Anca Matei, Emilia Manu, Andrea Paiu, Manuela Ungureanu, Elena Slabu, Draga Dobre, Simona Iorgulescu, Nadia Rovol, Elena Oprea, Ramona Socarici, Loredana Boboc, Raluca Babaligea, Ioana Bondor.

    Although the year was extremely successful for the senior ranks, one should not forget what Belu said in Lausanne: We didn't win because we have a fantastic team. We won because we made less mistakes than the others." Belu lost many sympathies in Romania claiming in front of the Romanian press in Lausanne after prelims: This is the worst team Romania had in the last 15 years." There were speculations that Belu was to leave the team, since shortly after Belu's negative statement the two Karolyi's returned to Romania. Bela and Marta became honorary citizens of Deva and Onesti. Later Karolyi declared that the only reason why he was coming to Romania, was the severe illness of his mother.

    Unfortunately the year was not so happy for the gymnast who was considered Romania's biggest hope in 1995/1996/1997: Alexandra Marinescu. Dealing with weight problems early in the season, Alexandra injured her foot shortly before the World Championships. A fall on beam kept her out from the finals on her favorite apparatus. She was pulled from AA finals due to her injury and the fact that Amanar was in better shape than she was. Many criticized Belu's decision on that, but IMHO it was the right decision. Shortly after the World Champions medical doctors diagnosed a serious curvature to one side of her spine: scoliosis. According to the doctors, she needs at least 6 months of physical therapy, which probably keeps her out of the sport for good.

     At the moment, the girls are in the winter sports village Poiana Brasov in Central Romania, where they train, and where they will celebrate New Year's Eve along with their families, coaches and the ROM officials.