Sandra Izbasa speaks about 2010 Worlds and her future

I would be unfair if I said that (2010 Worlds were disappointing). After the injury I had, I can state that this was a successful return. God basically gave me a second chance to do gymnastics and I took advantage of it. Three months before the Worlds I didn't even think I will be in the team.
Asked if she was upset she didn't win a medal on floor she answered that her sadness comes from the fact that that medal she could have won went to another country and not to Romania.
I'm twenty years old and I think it's an age at which gymnasts should not consider retirement. We have just finished our warm-up for performance. At this age our mentality changes, we are not just children that act like little robots. The relationship between coaches and athletes is of collaboration. They understand us and completely support us and we must act like professional athletes.

the interview was published in Libertatea

Worlds 2010 gymnastics montages

one from 21najafast
or watch here 

and the other from pikedjaeger
or watch here

Both of them are really nice. Everybody has a thing for Rebecca Bross' beam fall; it's one of those images that stay with you for a long time.


Best Romanians on Uneven Bars (based on the number of Olympic and World medals)

They say that Romanians are weak on Uneven Bars but since Nadia's Olympic gold in 1976, there have been some quite ok if  not great bars workers  representing this country. I have put together a table of  the most decorated. Unfortunately, it is quite obvious from this table that they become rarer and rarer, if we look at the frequency of world medals in the past 20 years  (one medal every 7-9 years)

  1. Daniela Silivas 3 gold (1987, 1988, 1989) 
or watch here

  2. Emilia Eberle 2 bronze one silver (1978, 1979, 1980) 
or watch it here

  3. Nadia Comaneci one gold (1976) 
or here

  3. Lavinia Milosovici one gold (1992)
or here

  4. TeodoraUngureanu one silver (1976)
or here

  4. Ecaterina Szabo one silver (1983) 
or here

  4. Lavinia Agache one silver (1983 - tie with Szabo) 
or here

  4. Oana Petrovschi one silver (2002) 
or here

  5. Melita Ruhn one bronze (1980)
or here

  5. Mirela Pasca one bronze (1992)
or watch here

  5. Andreea Cacovean one bronze (1993) 
or here

  5. Ana Porgras one bronze (2009)
or watch here 
  My top three would have to be -on 1st Comaneci and Silivas  and on 3rd Teodora Ungureanu or Oana Petrovschi. What are your favorite Romanians on uneven bars?


10 years after Sydney... Andreea Raducan's book

I do think she has something to say... I will definitely buy it.

It was requested by the people that love gymnastics, by the ones that in 2000 gathered in the streets to support me. It's a sign of appreciation and a way of thanking them. It's a nice story about life, about gymnastics, that mostly happened because of what happened in Sydney because otherwise I would have been just a gymnast with a nice career.

(I wrote this  book) because I do have a bit of experience in the media, I have a master's degree in journalism but also because this year marked the 10th aniversary of Sydney Olympics. I remember that immediately after many journalists were asking where do I see myself in 10 years. Some of the things I said then happened, others are about to happen so this is kind of an answer to that question as well.

There are also many funny moments, for instance the one after the team finals in Ghent, when we thought that we should celebrate winning the world title and ordered Room Service after the lights had to go off. Imagine some kids, in the middle of the night begging the waiter to take their money so that the order doesn't show on the check for the coaches to see. Then how we tried to take the tray trolley out of the room and what happened when Mrs. Bitang found out.

The book will hopefully be published next month.These days, we will solve the problem with the publishing house, then with all the photos that will be published because the most important moments in each chapter will  be illustrated.

Andreea wrote this book thinking of her father who passed away a few years ago. "we promissed each other many thing but unfortunately we didn't manage to do everything."


Cati Szabo's years of suffering

About a month ago, while we were too concentrated on the 2010 Worlds, GSP has published a "super reportage" about Ecaterina Szabo, the 1984 Olympics gold medallist.

A short interview:
Cati, what was the thing that most marked you as a gymnast?
The hunger! I can say that I truly learnt what suffering from hunger means. If I had to name the most difficult to bare thing from the period when I was an elite athlete, that would be the diet. You must be tough in order to overcome this.

But you were still managing to run away to find sweets...
It was very difficult because we were permanently watched but I remember a cute episode that happened in Moscow, i was with Daniela Silivas. After the contest we went to the tribune and started to beg for money: "Please, one rubla". Anything was good, not just money.

I imagine that you were as well among the ones that were severely punished by Bela Karoly...
I am the type that does not like to live through the memories of 30 years ago. I turned the page and moved on. But I do not regret anything that happened! Emilia Eberle called me last year to ask me if I will tell what I endured from Karoly. She spoke, that is her business! I think it does not make sense to put myself against Bela! I now live another part of my life's story and it did not make sense to go back in time.

But didn't you remain with certain frustrations from the bad treatments?
You know what? We were just kids. Drones! We didn't really care about what was around us. We only knew this: contests, trainings, rest and diet.

What victories do you consider the best?
The ones from the Olympics but also the ones from the '83 Worlds. It was the only competition abroad when a part of my family was with me: my mother, brother and grandmother. I am still surprised that they let them come in Hungary.

Cati's present suffering

She suffers from a rare form of hernia and she had a spine surgery which kept her in bed for 4 months. Cati, now 42, lives in France, in Chamalieres with her husband and two sons: 7 years old Zeno and 14 years old Lorenzo. Now, she can do regular household activities only after her daily dose of morphine.
Szabo, who has spinal disc herniation on four vertebrae, underwent a first surgery on March 30, 2010 but the problems have not ceased to exist. "The first sign was on May 16, 2008. Zeno and I had come back from shopping and I wanted to pick up some bags and water bottles. I made two steps and I got stuck. I don't know how I got house. Then, when the crises began, it was very painful. I could no longer breathe, my right leg has almost paralysed, i could not feel my toes. For three or four months I stayed in bed, I had infiltrations.

Consequences of the effort done as an athlete? "I don't think so. Maybe it just made the disease worse, in time. The doctors told me that they have seen people who have never done sports and have the same problems. Just that mine is a more atypical hernia. The truth is, however, that, when I was an athlete, I had never an X-ray done to know that there might be such a problem. "

After the surgery, she has gone through dramatic moments: "I was like a baby. My husband, Cris, and the boys helped me go to the toilet! They fed me, dressed me, brushed my hair,  washed me. Now I am more active, but nobody told me if I would ever recover completely. For the moment, without a daily dose of morphine, I can't get started! I have fierce leg pains because the nerve from my back that has branches to the legs is strangled and this causes many problems. It is very difficult!"

Interesting facts:

Born in Zagon, Covasna, Szabo did not know a word in Romanian when she was sent to Onesti in the first grade: "I found myself among strangers and did not understand anything. I only knew to raise the hand in the classroom when I needed to go to the toilet. Luckily, my sister, ten years older, was also there and helped me to fit in "
The former gymnast's true name is Katalin Szabo, but the communists wanted to change her identity to hide the Hungarian origin.I woke up one day with the name changed in my password: Ecaterina Szabo. I do not know now who has made this change. But I heard more people inside the federation: "Look this "bozgoroaica" is coming with us again".
You can read the entire article here.

some nice pictures

Source: OK! Magazine

There is also a small article, you can find everything here.

best picture of the week

Irina Paun and some girls from Russia that also won medals in Marseille

Source: Irina Paun's Facebook page


Check this out

My article about "Bellu's Strategy" in on thecouchgymnast.com.


Translation of "The Medal Factory"

For those of you who don't speak Romanian I tried to translate as much as I could of the "Medal Factory" show.
The show that aired on Digi Sport on Saturday November 13th, had as guests Mariana Bitang, Octavian Bellu, Andreea Raducan, the Romanian Olympic team, the six juniors that are in the special program of preparation for the Olympics and the coaches from the Senior and Junior teams.
the Olympic team: Dana Andrei, Amelia Racea, Raluca Haidu, Larisa Iordache, Cerasela Patrascu, Gabriela Dragoi, Diana Trenca, Diana Chelaru, Ana Porgras, Anamaria Tamirjan, Sandra Izbasa (not present).
Juniors: Georgiana Gheorghe, Maria Balea, Andreea Tufa, Diana Rusu, Madalina Neagu, Beatrice Margarit, Diana Bulimar (not present)
The coaches: Lucian Sandu, Marius Vintila, Florin Cotitiu, Liliana Cosma (not present) and for the juniors Lacramioara Filip Moldovan and Cristian Moldovan.
Romanian National Team (before the Worlds)

These are bits of conversations that i managed to translate. I had to make a bit of a selection because the entire show lasted for 45 minutes and the transcript of the entire thing would have been a much too difficult task for a Sunday afternoon:
Mariana: “Let’s ask Anamaria Tamarjan what made her comeback.”
Anamaria: “I realised that I hadn’t done enough in gymnastics”
Mariana: “Bravo Ana! I am glad she has this mentality: she is an European Champion, has an Olympic medal, nevertheless she considers she has not done enough in this sport and I am conviced she will do more.”
Trying to talk to the gymnasts… First up Maria Balea:
“Why did you start gymnastics?”
“Because I liked it (…) I want to become a champion”
Bitang: “Maria is nervous… Let’s ask Larisa
“I want to go to the Olympics and get all the gold medals”
Bitang: “Larisa, not all of them, let’s leave some for the others”
Larisa: “I want to do something well, not to regret that I didn’t work and I didn’t do what I had to in order to be up there.”
Mariana: “Good, I am sure you will get those Olympic medals”
the Junior team - Silver medal winners at 2010 Euros

What about you, Pitic?
Bellu: (jockingly) you will have to adjust her voice whe you edit this she has a funny voice.
Haidu: “I want to go to the Olympics and win gold, help the team. I will work a lot to get there.”
Host: “Ana, how do you see this winner’s mentality? Mr. Bellu said earlier and Mrs. Bitang as well, that the silver and bronze medals do not count.”
Ana: “I think that the most important medal is the gold, because winning it means that you are the best. Silver and bronze are on the side.”
Bellu: “And they don’t even play your anthem.”
Host: “This is one of your favorites, right?”
Bellu: (smiling) “We don’t have to exaggerate either, because behind a bronze medal there’s a fantastic amount of work and you can pass quickly because of things that depend on youself or on the circumstances from being a gold medal favorite to bronze medal winner. So I say that at the Worlds, Europeans and Olympics, any medal is valuable”
Bitang: “But we’d rather have the gold one.”
Bellu: “Yes, because there are also other benefits after you win it. I am glad they have the jeweler’s inclination. I must also warn Iordache and Haidu that they don’t accept ties at the Olympics, so they will have to fight each other for gold… Only at the Worlds they can both have gold (laughing with Bitang).”
Host: “We slowly come to talk about the future, about London Olympics but also next year’s Worlds in Tokyo. What should we expect?”
Bellu: “I have always tried to avoid making predictions because this is not agriculture, we can't predict anything in a situation in which the circumstances are always changing (…) The perspective depends on the way in which the gymnasts will be responsible, give it all to work and be careful not to have gaps in preparation any more, to add new elements and increase difficulty and once 75% of these are covered, the shape in which you are at that one competition, then the circumstances can be favorable or not, but you must be prepared for anything and to be able to solve whatever is up to you: clean execution, good landings etc.”

Host: “Do we have enough time to catch Russia and the other teams?”
Bellu “Yes, we do have time but it depends how you use it because if you can’t accumulate quickly you can’t remain at the stage of learning the elements one week before the leaving for the Worlds. At one point you must stop and work to stabilize the new elements and combinations.” …”But the difference at the Worlds was obvious and I even saw statistics, the difference was not between our execution marks but our difficulty.”
Bitang: “If we think about it and it was obvious at the past Worlds, the difference used to be of around 10 points now the gap was smaller, 3 points, less than 3 poins. But now it depends on every gymnast because every technician will think the routine according to the gymnasts real and maximum abilities, but then again, only the gymnasts are responsible of how they address the preparation (…) if they really want to get those medals they must upgrade their value, their difficulty in a short period of time. I want to highlight that after the Worlds, most of the people are having a few days off, a recovery break. Given that they unfortunately had such long periods of recovery after injuries, we considered that it’s best to remain in the gym, because they were in a good physical shape after the worlds and learn new skills. This can already be seen, we can see a speed-up in the assimilation of new and very difficult elements, and I hope we will be able to keep this pace even if there will be smoother periods coming, because only now they can learn, now, for one more month or two because then they will have to start repeating whole routines two months before the Europeans - that are scheduled in the beginning of April”

Host: "How did the girls seem when they came back from London? Did they seem more confident, eager?"
Mariana: “During the first two trainings they were enthusiastic and worked perfectly.. if only the contests had been then… I mean they obviously wanted it more.(…)”
Bellu ”The main idea is the continuity. Now this increase of difficulty happened precisely when they say there is a downfall, also in the specialised literature you will find that there will be a general fall after an important contest.. for these gymnasts this fall did not exist and we are glad."
Host: "Were you surprised by this and by the girls’ attitude."
Bitang: “mmm… No, we can’t be surprised anymore, but I think they were surprised, let’s ask them. We had all sorts of experiences so let’s ask the gymnasts. Were you surprised?”
Ana Porgras: “Yes!”
Andreea Raducan: “Gymnastics seems to be different now. When I was a gymnast, we never heard of vacation after the Worlds or Olympics. We just prayed that the five free days to come for Christmas”
Bitang: “See? Nothing is new. This is how we built the results in the past. After a contest ends you don’t stand”… “But Ana tell us more.”
Ana Porgras: "Yes, in the past, we had an easier period after the competitions but now we came back, started training new elements and I was surprised."
Bitang: “And you were surprised: wow! I can do a double twisting Yurchenko!”

Bitang “In London 2012 I want the surprise to be the team. I want them to learn to be a team because they spend more time here than with their own families and I want a REAL team spirit to develop and for them to understand that the more good gymnasts we have, the better the team will be and they must support each other in difficult moments, you must help your mate to get over the difficult time not to encourage her to remain there, I hope they will learn to be united in positive things. (…) I hope they will become one, being a team leader means more than having the best results. You must be a role model for the team mates and everybody else.”(…) "I remember that Andreea Raducan in Ghent in 2001, she was like the vuvuzela, you could hear only her voice in the hall. She had learnt all my indications for all the gymnasts on all apparatuses and she was coaching them even if she had to compete next she was shouting continuously, we need such children in a team”.
Again, you can watch the entire show on eamyy's youtube channel.

The medal factory

or watch it on eamyy's channel on youtube.

Anamaria Tamarjan is back at Izvorani!

This is the promo for a show that aired on Romanian Sport's Channel Digis Sport. You can see at one point Sandra, Gabi Dragoi and the Ana Tamarjan.
The Romanian Olympic team has now 17 gymnasts!

Edit: she confirmed in the show for which the promo was done, which was taped at Izvorani and aired on Saturday (yesterday).


"I still wake up at night because I dream I missed a vault" - Andreea Raducan

Andreea is a huge star in Romania, there are many articles about her and many interviews in Romanian magazines... She manages to say something interesting every time although the questions are all the same.

about being so slim "I am not on a special and miraculous diet. I went to Izvorani recently and Mrs. Bitang told me she could not believe she must beg me to eat, because when I was a gymnast I was always slightly overweight."

when asked if it happens to her to dream that she is competing "For a long period of time I kept dreaming that I was training or in competition, especially right after I retired. It still happens to me to wake up because I dream that I mess up the steps before a vault and I feel I don't have enough power to jump or to run."

about meeting guys "If anybody thinks that for as long as I was an athlete I thought of anything but gymnastics, they are wrong. But after 19 I had enough time to think about boys."
How did you fall in love for the first time? "Reluctantly"

Read the complete interview in Showbiz.ro

by the way, in case you missed it, Tribute2the80s has uploaded the TF AA and EF of the 2001 Worlds (and the quality is great too).
Silvia Stroescu and then Andreea Raducan on beam:

or watch it here


Romanian Gymnasts that turn 16 in 2011

The greatest news is that Diana Bulimar becomes a senior. I hope it's not too late, considering her latest health problems.

Her strengths: she's a good gymnast all around; a double layout and overall great tumbling and leaps on floor; nice form on uneven bars and very difficult beam

Weaknesses: she is not completely recovered after her foot injury; she needs to upgrade on vault

Best Results: third on Uneven Bars in the event finals at 2010 Junior Europeans, second on floor EF at Youth olympic Games 2010

This is the floor routine from the YOG EF:

or here

Madalina Neagu

Best Result: Qualified in the EF on Balance Beam at 2010 Europeans

Strengths: Competitive beam and floor routines; she's the only junior that has a release move in her uneven bars routine (besides Diana Bulimar and Larisa Iordache), nice form on uneven bars, pretty elegant beam worker; she has switch ring leap on beam

Weaknesses: her vault, she has been injured for most of 2009

This is her beam performance at Romanian International 2010:
or here.

Diana Rusu

Best Result: silver with the Romanian team at 2010 Euros, qualified for the vault finals at 2010 Euros, 3rd AA at 2010 Romanian Nationals

Strengths: floor (great leaps and hight in tumbling passes) and beam

Weaknesses: the uneven bars (her D scores have been in the mid 3s)
or here

Beatris Margarit

Strengths:floor - she is a poweful tumbler and has a competitive D score on this apparatus, consistent on beam

Weaknesses: the uneven bars

Best Result: silver with the team at 2010 Euros

This is her floor from 2010 Nationals in Resita (a month ago):

or here.
Tatiana Geamparoiu

Strengths: floor

Weakness: did not show an Ub routine at 2010 Nationals

International Experience in 2010: Gymnix Junior Cup

This is the floor she showed a month ago at the Nationals:
or here
Ana-Maria Baicu

Strengths: she is lovely on twists on floor; pretty form on leaps on floor and beam; on beam she has the difficulty and much more: lovely arms and spins, great rhythm.

Weaknesses: She did not train at full potential in 2010 due to injury

International Experience in 2010: Gymnix Junior Cup

This is her beam routine from Gymnix Junior Cup

Romanian Junior Nationals

This weekend the Junior Nationals for categories II and III took place in Bacau. No videos have emerged yet, but I have read that it was a pretty good one, with many nice surprises.

In the Junior II the competition was dominated by Ana Maria Ocolisan, who won the All around title and the Vault and Uneven Bars finals and Andreea Rotaru who won floor and medals on vault and uneven bars.
At level 3, the all around title was won by Laura Jurca. This is her floor routine from June:
I like this kid! She is only 11 and yes the choreo is not very complex, but I like how she uses her arms and the fact that she looks like a future power tumbler.

At level four, Irina Paun was the star: she won the All around and silver medals on all four apparatuses. What a great all arounder to have in the team after 2012! This is her beam set from last month at Resita:

Many wobbles, but pretty good for an 11 year old, huh! And that sheep jump!

You can find many pics from the meet on this website.
There are many, many routines of the Romanian juniors on andra000lumi's youtube channel (but not yet from this competition)

Complete results:
Juniors II
1. Ana Maria Ocolişan (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,350
2. Andreea Rotaru (CSSG Focşani) – 13,100
3. Maria Răuţă (CSSG Focşani) – 13,050

Uneven Bars
1. Ana Maria Ocolişan (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,300
2. Maria Răuţă (CSSG Focşani) – 12,350
3. Alexandra Marcu (CNS Cetate Deva) – 12,250

Balance Beam
1. Alexandra Marcu (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,650
2. Maria Răuţă (CSSG Focşani) – 12,900
3. Andreea Rotaru (CSSG Focşani) – 12,850

1. Andreea Rotaru (CSSG Focşani) – 14,200
2. Ana Maria Ocolişan (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,700
3. Alexandra Marcu (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,600

Juniors Category III, Level III
1. Mădălina Blendea (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,625
2. Larisa Culbece (CSS 1 Timişoara) – 13,300
3. Andreea Puiu (CSM Oneşti) – 13,200

Uneven Bars
1. Anda Butuc (CSS 2 Bucureşti) – 13,850
2. Mădălina Blendea (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,800
3. Laura Jurcă (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,400

1. Andreea Iridon (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,450
2. Larisa Culbece (CSS 1 Timişoara) – 13,350
3. Laura Jurcă (CNS Cetate Deva) – 13,250

1. Andreea Iridon (CNS Cetate Deva) – 14,150
2. Mădălina Blendea (CNS Cetate Deva) – 14,000
3. Aida Orheanu (CSSG Focşani) – 13,900

JUN, Category III, Level IV
1. Silvia Zarzu (CSM Oneşti) – 13,450
2. Irina Păun (CSA Steaua Bucureşti) – 13,200
3. Diana Teodoru (SCM Bacău) – 13,100

Uneven Bars
1. Andreea Munteanu (CNS Cetate Deva) – 12,950
2. Irina Păun (CSA Steaua Bucureşti) – 12,700
3. Ioana Badea (CSS 1 Timişoara) – 12,600
ina Paun (photo Ionut Branzei)

1. Ioana Badea (CSS 1 Timişoara) – 13,700
2. Irina Păun (CSA Steaua Bucureşti) – 13,500
3. Denisa Năstase (CSSG Focşani) – 13,050

1. Denisa Năstase (CSSG Focşani) – 14,000
2. Irina Păun (CSA Steaua Bucureşti) – 13,850
3. Silvia Zarzu (CSM Oneşti) – 13,750