Gymnasts that never reached their potential: Part 1 Andreea Munteanu

Andreea Aura Munteanu was born in 1988, the same year as Chellsie Memmel, Monette Russo or Cheng Fei. With a much shorter career then theirs, Andreea seems a gymnast from a different epoch.
One of the most charismatic gymnasts that Romania has produced since 1990, she was first noticed in 2002, the year Romania did not participate with a team at the European Championships and Octavian Belu and Mariana Bitang were trying to reconstruct the national gymnastics team, searching for talents all over the country.
Andreea Munteanu didn't have a great career as a junior but she was chosen because she was very talented and, more importantly, would become a senior in time for the Olympic Games in Athens.
She began training at Deva, under Belu and Bitang, in October 2002, and only one year later she was a part of the National team in Anaheim.

Romania finished the competition 2nd (Andreea even fell during her floor exercise, causing more trouble for the team); she qualified for the AA finals, finishing 15th, after a fall off the UB and placed 4th on floor in the Event Finals. Although It may not seem much of an accomplishment, Andreea was noticed by gymnastics fans all over the world and her preformance in the floor exercise finals is still remembered; she showed exquisite dance abilities and a very strong personality.
2004 was the year of the big competition: the Olympic Games. The training for the Olympics was going very well for her - she placed 1st in the AA at the Nationals, 2nd on beam and floor. However, Andreea never made it to the Olympics. They say that only two hours before embarking to Athens, she was told she was staying home. The scene with all the Romanian girls crying, Floare Leonida and Andreea Munteanu because they were left home and the rest because they were leaving to Athens without them is famous.

Andreea never appeared in an international competition afterwards. She kept training untill 2006 and that year, she hoped she'd be able to compete at the Worlds in Aarhus but a back injury put an end to her career at only 18.


Part 2: Beam final

The first Group of BB finalists

What a treat! Ok, there were still a few falls and wobbles here and there, but the girls looked rather good.

Ana Maria Tamarjan: after in training she fell off the beam tens of times (after every aerial walkover or front piked, as i mentioned in my previous post) in competition she managed to pull off a good routine. She had one major balance check after the switch ring leap and probably she wasn't given the element ( I mean it wasn't counted for the D score) but overall she looked strong. Her score was 15.2- to finish second, but the best part about the performance was that she showed confidence and was dominating the beam, looked in control, much more so than in the first day.

Ana Tamarjan, concentrating for her BB routine

Ana Porgras: so, she fell (again, as she had done in day one), but she is stunning, breathtaking, even at such an young age. What impresses me the most is the originality of the skills and the choreo. My hope is that this failure on the favourite aparatus at the Nationals, will only make her more eager to succeed and have clean routines at the worlds and not shake her confidence. Score: 14.4

Ana Porgras had some explanations to do after her routine

Amelia Racea: bb is not her favourite event, but she won. Because she is clean, frank and concentrated. She reminds people of Lavinia Milosovici, another well known hard worker, who didn't like beam. Milo used to say, (the same way Amelia will when she'll become the captain of the team Romania )"It's me, Mr Belu, with my ugly nodous knees that saves the situation.". Here, it was Amelia, with her quiet, yet bold performance that took the title, with a score of 15.400

Gabriela Dragoi: I was glad to see her looking ok on BB as well as on UB. Not much an improved performance compared to the Europeans in April (!!, must be really annoying for her too), but given the circumstances and precarious health, she looked more confident (and the girl even medalled) . Score: 14.60

Two good friends: Gabriela Dragoi and Cerasela Patrascu


Romanian Nationals! What a relief!

After the first day, I thought all the Romanian gymnasts were suffering either from lack of motivation or lack of training; out of shape or too injured to even dream of the World podium in three weeks.
The relief was that on the second day of the Natinals I saw all of them conviced that they were capable of achieving something, they looked somewhat dignified.
I must confess that Ana-Maria Tamarjan scared me a little, when I first got there. She was trying to show something to Nocolae Forminte, the head coach. She was in pain, jumping around and shaking her head as if she were saying "this hurts too bad, Mr. Forminte!"; then they let her mount the beam and was falling after every single pike front or aerial walkover.

Ana Maria: a bit(?) worried

After quite a while she moved to the UB with the other girls and the competition began.

Diana Chelaru looks now much better than 3-4 months ago, mostly because she gained confidence. Her Double twisting Yurchenko doesn't look that terrible either. Her mark:14,287 (14,800 şi 13,775) - she finished first
Ana Porgras: she did the same vault twice; she managed to stick both landings plus she looks very clean in her flight
Amelia Racea: looks a bit tired, doesn't try too awfully hard to pull off perfect landings. Her final mark: 13,700 (13,900 şi 13,500) - finished second

Amelia Racea: preparing for her first vault
Ana Maria Tamarjan: made the same vaul twice (double twisting Yourchenko) and she was given 14.9 and 15.05 ... I don't think she actually deserved those marks, maybe the judges were more impressesd by her reputation :).
Third: Dana Andrei 13,287 (13,275 şi 13,300) - she's a junior

Uneven Bars:
Cerasela Patrascu looks good, but the real competitions are far away for her. She doesn't even try a proper dismount, probably she is not strong enough yet. Still, she looks clean and elegant and she reminds me of Ana Pavlova.

Cerasela Patrascu and Gabriela Dragoi
Ana Maria Tamarjan: She fell (again), but she looked a bit more polished than in day one

Ana Maria Tamarjan: UB

Diana Chelaru - fell on the same combination as in day one, she is just too far away and off direction in that release. Frankly, I don't think she'll manage to show that combination successfully at the Worlds.
Ana Porgars: had the nicest UB exercise, as expected of her, with the most difficult combinations, still after the dismount, Forminte pointed to her head, as if he were saying, "Ana, I don't know what's in there, but's not doing us good". Her mark: 15,050 - finished first

Ana, after her dismount

With Nicolae Forminte, talking about the head problems :)

Gabriela Dragoi: beautiful work, just not the most difficult skills and the most difficult dismount (only a double backward tucked).
Amelia Racea, was probabily the gymnast Forminte scolded the most (from what I have seen). Scored 14,375. to finish second
Third: the same cute Dana Andrei, with 13,900; all the other scores were bellow that because the gymnasts were either unable to perform their complete exercise due to injury or because they fell!!
Amelia and her coach

I'll be back with some more...