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The Voice of a Romanian Gymnastics Fan

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The following is a message I read on Gymn-L discussed about the recent(the last one was 12 years ago) NED-ROM Dual.
-Amanar A. Admirer


Date:  Monday, September 13, 1999 1:55 AM
From:  Martine Jellema
Subject:  NED-ROM

Hi everyone,

Here's my two cents on NED-ROM...

The Dutch gymnasts were great. Obviously some of their scores were inflated because of the home advantage, but the fact remains that there were GOOD, especially given the fact that they were not exactly injury-free and the temperature in the gym was, as reported, atrocious. As always, the Dutch were great on bars, where they scored only 0.2 less than Romania (if I remember correctly - I'm going from memory here). Their vaults were pretty good, and their beam routines were downright impressive - no falls, no major wobbles, just little losses of balance here and there. Lots of difficult elements, too: whips (Marzouk), Rulfovas (Lucke), full-twisting flipflops (Nuijten), Onodis (Endel), that sort of thing. The only thing the Dutch need to work on are their start values on floor. Apart from Caroline Verberk, who has a 9.8 SV, all the Dutch floor exercises shown in Zuidwolde had a 9.6 SV, and they were far too twist-abundant to be interesting. Still, a pretty good effort for the Dutch team, two points over their main goal for the competition. Impressive.

As for Romania, I was a bit disappointed with the way they competed. Obviously they were affected by the heat (Amanar complained of a lack of oxygen, sweaty palms and sweaty soles), but then again they should be used to that - the gym at Deva gets pretty hot in summer, too. And anyway, they fared quite well in training, when it was hot, too. Mariana Bitang said after the competition that the team has been having problems with consistency lately. They do well in training, but mess up in competition. Not a good thing for a team whose main quality is supposed to be its stability.

Anyway, on to more important matters now - the individual performances of the Romanians. First of all, Maria Olaru. I wasn't too keen on her before this competition, but she's GOOD; it is easy to see why she won that national title. Her form has improved, she knows how to move and she's ever so consistent. I don't think I saw her make a single mistake in Zuidwolde, training and competition combined. Her piked Jaeger on bars is good, her beam mount of pike front-wolf leap-Korbut (all linked) is stunning, and God, her twists are impressive. Her double-twisting Yurchenko beats any I've seen this year, and her twists on floor are equally good. Perhaps she does too many of them, but with all the other Romanians throwing big somersaults, she can be forgiven for sticking to twists, I think. As for her dance, what can I say? She could be an awesome dancer (she clearly has the gift), but until someone gives her a decent choreography, she'll be just another Romanian on floor. Watchable, but not much more than that.

Amanar lost the meet on bars, where she put her hands down on the dismount. Apart from that, she was OK. She has cleaned up her form on her layouts (still does a sloppy Korbut, though) and is back to her old floor tumbling of double layout, front to triple, whip-2 1/2-punch front and full-in. The full-in was HUGE in Zuidwolde.

Isarescu was disappointing. She's clean and perky but her routines really aren't that exciting. Her ff-ff-whip on beam is low and she doesn't get much height on her vaults either. I think she did a Hristakieva in Zuidwolde. Not the sort of vault one would expect of a Romanian.

Raducan was terrific. She didn't medal in Zuidwolde because she fell from beam on her front somi, but she was quite impressive all the same - quite a personality, too. Her ff-full on beam is great, as is her double layout on floor. Definitely Romania's new star.

Ungureanu is coming back from a whole series of injuries and it shows - she's a bit overweight (to Romanian standards anyway - she'd be the thinnest on the American team) and not all that consistent. She vaulted an unimpressive Phelps and fell from beam on her Rulfova mount. Her floor isn't too good either. She is a gifted dancer, but her choreography (the same she used last year, to Aurelia Dobre's old music - what were they thinking?) is awful. Her bars are impressive as ever though - I love that inward Healy (or whatever it is) where she tilts her arm sideways and swings on one arm for a moment.

I'm not a great fan of Ulmeanu, the reserve - she's clean, and does lovely twists, but her gymnastics is more uninspired than Gogean's and Amanar's combined, which is saying a great deal. They need her because their other juniors (Ionescu, Stroescu, Barac, Bucerzan) are age-ineligible, but the moment the others turn 15, she'll be discarded, I think.

On a side note, Leon Cosma, who choreographed the Romanian floor exercises back in the late eighties (when they were still artistic), attended the meet, and told me he had offered his help to Belu, only to be told that the team didn't need his help. Is Belu blind?

Cosma also told me not to ask the Romanian coaches about Presecan's injury, since the situation was 'extremely sensitive.' A friend of mine who did ask was told that it was nothing serious, but she said the look on their faces told a different story.

OK, so much for Zuidwolde. Does anyone have more info on the GER-FRA meet that took place this weekend? I know the results, but I'd like to hear more about the competition...

Martine

------------------------------------------------------------ For those who wanted to know what type of skills the Romanians (particularly Olaru) are doing these days, here's a none-too-comprehensive but still informative (I hope) list:

Amanar:

Same stuff she always does, same way she's always done it, except that her layouts on beam look a bit less sloppy.

Olaru:

V: double-twisting Yurchenko (excellent) and something that looked like a full-twisting Phelps or a half-on, 1 1/2-off (only saw her do it once - couldn't check) UB: giant-1 1/2-Tkatchev-Pak, piked Jaeger BB: piked front-wolf jump-Korbut mount; front immediate tuck jump; wolf jump-double stag Yang leap; cartwheel-double full (probably missed some acrobatic element there) FX: whip-2 1/2-punch front; front 2/1-punch piked front; triple twist.

Raducan:

V: Phelps; Khorkina UB: undergrip giants to Gienger, bail-1/2 (good) BB: piked front mount; ff-full; Chen; front; ff-ff-double pike FX: double layout; whip to double pike; 2 1/2-punch piked front; triple twist

Isarescu:

V: Hristakieva UB: giant-1 1/2-Tkatchev-Pak BB: front mount; ff-ff-whip; piked front FX: nice balletic routine, lots of twists (good triple)

Ungureanu:

V: Phelps UB: loads of intricate giants and turns into a Jaeger BB: Rulfova mount; side somi; ff-ff-Rulfova; double pike FX: whip-2 1/2-punch front; triple twist; double pike

I didn't write down everything Ulmeanu did, but if my memory serves me well, she did a nice handspring-piked front-1/2 vault, a high Tkatchev and a piked-layout double dismount on bars; a front and ff-layout-ff on beam and a good double pike and triple full on floor.

Hope that helps.

Martine


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