The Story of Larisa Iordache - Part 3

Training with the seniors
new team mates (Larisa is second from right to left between Raluca Haidu and
Diana Chelaru)

In September 2010, before Romanian Nationals, it was announced that Larisa Iordache had been transferred to the “Olympic team”. In other words she had started to train with the seniors under Bellu and Bitang. The head coaches, whom had taken over the preparation of the national team in June 2010, had as main goal building a competitive team for London 2012. Bringing Larisa over (at only 14) was among the measures to achieve that.

At the Nationals, in the junior competition, Larisa won gold medals in the all around and on all the event finals. The story becomes “boring” after this:

- October 2010, Larisa was sent, together with seniors Dana Andrei and Diana Trenca and junior Maria Balea to an international competition in Schiltigheim. She again dominated, winning the all around with a total score of 58 points and all apparatus finals (on vault it was a tie with France’s Elodie Perez).

- May 2011: she is sent, along with other team mates in much need of gaining competition experience (Haidu, Andrei, Trenca)  at the French Nationals. Wins AA, VT, BB and FX

- June 2011 – Gym Festival (Trnava) wins AA, UB, BB, FX

- a couple of weeks later: Great Britain vs Romania (friendly meet between the junior teams). Larisa wins AA and gets the highest scores across the board

So here we are, in July 2011 at the European Youth Olympic Festival  - Trabzon 2011. For the first time I was nervous for her: this was the big meet of the year and this was the first time since april 2010 when she was supposted to be competing against those Russian Juniors, especially Anastasia Grishina and Anastasia Sidorova. Add to that Bellu’s statements that this was the meet which had to put Larisa in the spotlight, to make a reputation for herself. I say reality check time seasoned with a bit of a killer pressure from head coach.

But the Russians had once again managed the impossible and Grishina and Sidorova were left home to mend some new minor injuries aquired out of the gym.
With one challenge out of the way – thing that I bet did NOT make the coaches nor Larisa as happy as some may think - the battle now was with herself: competing three days in a row all around without having a major mistake.  
The final result speaks for itself in a way: 3 silver medals (team, VT and UB) and 3 gold medals (AA, BB, FX). By "in a way" I meant that in the all around the margin was of about 2 poins so even with a fall, she couldn’t have lost that title. 

On top of those medals, Larisa came back victorious: international press (meaning mainly us bloggers LOL) were raving about her and most importantly, she stayed on the apparatus, "on her feet", until the last routine, for three days in a row. Not bad, I say.

We have seen in parts 2 and 3 of my rants about Larisa Iordache how she beautifully developed, since 2008, on the international scene. Up next, in part 4, I will take a look at her routines and the skills she has competed during these years but also ask the big question: is she capable of more?

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