Gymnasts on Dancing With The Stars

Lilia Podkopayeva

Shawn Johnson

Svetlana Khorkina

My favorite is Lilia because she did this almost a decade after he retired from her competitive career.
I know that Corina Ungureanu and Maria Olaru also did this but could not find videos. Do you know if there are any videos of them?


Cerasela Patrascu Interview

When Cera was kind enough to answer a few questions exclusively for Gymnastics, No ceiling, I was beyond thrilled! Now, I want to share with you what I found out (in English and Romanian)

English version:

Me: Hello Cerasela, How was the year 2010? For many people it was a surprise to see you competing at such a high level. We you surprised?
Cera: Hi! Honestly, I didn’t expect to get to that level so fast after the long series of injuries and disappointments. I owe everything to the coaches that were patient with me.

Me: You went to the 2010 Euros with the girls but you didn’t compete. Was it a role of „psychologist” and supporter? Is it harder to look at a contest from this angle?
Cera: I can say that the role of team leader is much more difficult because you have more things you are responsible of. I liked that position as well, and if the coaches gave me this task it means that they trusted me.

Me: How was Rotterdam, how will you remember those Worlds?
Cera: At the Worlds we were truly a team. We also had new coaches that we became fond of really quickly and we were not nervous in the new circumstances.

Me: What was your favorite apparatus and why?
Cera: Since I was very young I loved the Uneven Bars. I did not have a particular reason. I just liked it.

Me: Why did you decide to retire?
Cera:There was a chain of health problems that I had over the past two years; they determined me to stop here.

Me: What are your plans, now that you are no longer a gymnast?
Cera: After 12 years of gymnastics, of course I would like to stay in the field. I got a few offers for coaching positions abroad but I am not sure I would be prepared for that yet.

Thank you very much, Cerasela, and good luck in your future career!

Romanian version:
Bea: Cum a fost pentru tine anul 2010? Pentru multa lume a fost surprinzator faptul ca ai reusit sa concurezi la un nivel foarte ridicat. Te asteptai sa ajungi acolo?
Cera: Buna, sa fiu sincera nu ma asteptam sa imi revin asa de repede dupa o serie lunga de accidentari si neimpliniri. Totul se datoreaza antrenorilor care au avut rabdare cu mine.

Bea: La Europenele din 2010 ai mers acolo dar nu ai concurat ... ai avut mai mult un rol de psiholog si suporter? A fost mai greu sa vezi concursul din postura asta?
Cera: Pot spune ca rolul de lider este mult mai greu decat pare. Ai mult mai multe lucruri de care esti raspunzator. Mi-a facut placere sa fiu pusa si in aceasta postura; daca antrenorii mi-au dat aceasta sarcina inseamna ca au avut incredere in mine.

Bea: Cum a fost la Rotterdam, ce amintiri ai legate de acele Campionate Mondiale?
Cera: La mondialele de anul trecut am fost intr-adevar o echipa. Am avut si alti antrenori de care ne-am atasat foarte repede si nu am avut emotii in noile imprejurari.

Bea: Care e aparatul tau preferat si de ce? 
Cera: De mica mi-a placut paralelul. Un motiv intemeiat pentru aceasta placere de a concura in special la paralele nu am. Imi placea pur si simplu

Bea: De ce te-ai retras din gimnastica?
Cera:  Din cauza problemelor de sanatate care pe parcursul ultimilor 2 ani s-au tinut lant de mine. Acestea m-au determinat sa spun stop

Bea: Ce planuri de viitor ai?
Cera: Dupa aproape 12 ani de gimnastica binenteles ca tot pe domeniul acesta o sa ma axez. Am primit niste oferte de a antrena in strainatate dar inca nu sunt sigura ca sunt pregatita sa trec la acest capitol.

Multumesc si mult succes in cariera ta viitoare!


A Good Laugh with Octavian Bellu

This is an old interview (from June) but definitely a good laugh:
The first two minutes are kind of boring. The host of the show explains that they had to move the show's sofa in the gym: they wanted to talk to some of the great champions oj the country and champions are worthy of the trouble. Then he starts asking them, what it takes to make a champion... the usual...
From min 2:12, it goes like that:

CM: What is Mrs. Bitang's favorite flower
Bellu: Gerbera
(look at Bitang's face as he continues)
but... hmmm... no longer, it used to be until she realized that although beautiful it dies too soon. And then she switched to these spring flowers, with nice colors, such as snowdrops (Bitang looks like she's going to die).
But, I am not a flower specialist or a romance specialist... If my answers are correct, we are going to find out afterwards...

CM: What is Mrs. Bitang's favorite song?
Bellu: A song that we both love, The power of love by Jennifer Rush.

CM: Now I am going to have to ask Mrs. Bitang as well... What is Mr. Bellu's favorite color?
Bitang: One in which I can't stand watching him any longer: black.
CM: Why don't you throw away his clothes from the house?
Bitang: There's no point in doing that because he goes and buys other (black) clothes.
CM: Does he collect anything?
Bitang: Watches and all sorts of stupid little things sucha as a small device for massage from Japan, that massages your finger... We have two cases full of such things, just because they seemed nice at some point.

CM: I know that it will soon be your birthday, "Happy Birthday" from us and I want to ask Mr. Bellu - are you going to make her a surprise?
Bellu: Usually I try to make her a surprise...
Bitang: But he never succeeded!
Bellu: True! But very rarely, very very rarely i surprised her by not giving her anything. Not because I forgot but because she is very difficult and exacting...
Bitang: OMG! people will think I want you to bring me the moon! This is the most trivial excuse "What can I give you because you have everything and you wouldn't like my gift anyway. Better go and buy something yourself".
Bellu: No. but you must admit that you always say "You had better asked, than buying this stupid thing" or "This is exactly what I needed!!"
Bitang: True...I admit!

CM: When was the last time you said "I love you" to Mrs. Bitang?
Bellu: Here we have a problem! (everybody starts laughing) A problem I agree with... Words are just words but what you do is most important... But saying it like that ... all day long... it loses its meaning. If you say it rarely, it has a different effect.
CM: What about you, Mrs. Bitang?
Bitang: I say it even less often than him.
Bellu: I think we can count the times she said it but this is what incites me.
CM: Could you imagine your life without Mrs. Bitang?
Bellu: Now it's obvious that I couldn't. Now that you took me by surprise.. No, I can't... Of course there is a dependence but you can't make things trivial and reduce it to just routine.


Impressive new project on Gymnastics Examiner

First question: Komova vs. Mustafina -- who's the better all-arounder?

Read answers by Blythe, Brigid (The Couch Gymnast), Rick (Gymnastics Coaching), Aunt Joyce and many more, and of course me :D here.



Hello everybody,

Now you can ask me questions on Formspring. Click here or on the link under my profile (to the right).



New vault for Sandra Izbasa and upgrades on UB for Ana Porgras

Via International Gymnast Forum (Romania: News, Pictures in 2011 - part 1)

Or watch it on eamyy's channel 

the best geinger in Romania

is the one performed by Maria Balea.
She has plenty of form breaks there's a lot of room for improvement.

or watch here 
I wonder how is it possible that I haven't seen it so far...


Favorite moments of 2010 - The best floor routines

Anastasia Grishina

or watch it here

Anna Dementyeva

or watch it here

Celine Van Gerner - she was the first reserve for the FX final at Worlds, with this routine:

or watch here

Ksenia Semenova

or here

Raluca Haidu - Worlds 2010

or watch here.

Tan Sixin

or watch here

Anything else you would add?

Favorite moments of 2010 - Best of Balance Beam

Anna Dementyeva - Worlds qualifications
I had seen Anna Dementyeva a few times before. My impression was that, although she had good difficulty and exquisite lines, she could not hold it together for an entire routine. In the qualifications at the worlds she demonstrated that she can. Maybe next time she will be able to pull it off in the finals as well. 

or watch here 

Aliya Mustafina - Worlds AA
I love uneven bars and beam rotations in team finals and all around competitions. Particularly in Mustafina's case... we all knew that if she had a weaker event, that was the beam. And with so many things going on in this routine, frankly it is difficult not to make mistakes. This is how Aliya showed that she is destined for greatness: 

or here

Ana Porgras Ghent World Cup 
I love this routine for a number of reasons. Although not as difficult as the one she competed at Worlds, this beam set contains virtually no wobbles. The dismount is also nicer.

or here

Gabriela Dragoi - Romanian nationals
The moment I saw this routine was the moment I really believed Gabriela was back and capable of great things:

or watch here

Lauren Mitchell Worlds EF
I remember watching the podium warm-up of the balance beam finalists - an hour before the final. Mitchell was the last one to finish her warm-up. She  had problems with the two footed layout (as she had all week long) but she wouldn't give up on it. I watched her doing it a little better every time: from falls after each one, she corrected it a bit... big wobbles, then smaller wobbles. And then that was it: stuck layout to two feet.


Favorite moments of 2010 - Uneven Bars

These are some of my favorite uneven bars routines of 2010:

Wu Liufang - Ghent event finals

or here

Amelia Racea Ghent Qualifications

or here 

Becky Downie - Europeans

or here

Anastasia Grishina - Europeans EF

or watch here 

Komova at YOG

or here

There have been many more great moments, leave a comment if you have a favorite one that was not mentioned.


Favorite moments of 2010 - The surprising VAULTS

It was fun watching vault this year despite the controversies. We must admit  that there were some pretty vaults too, here and there. But what I liked the most were the spectacular improvements: take for instance Mustafina- she didn't even attempt two vaults at Euros and five months later she throws two of  6+.

Other surprise evolutions: Raluca Haidu (from FTY at Euros to DTY at Worlds), Sandra Izbasa (from 1.5 Yurchenko at Nationals to DTY - 3 weeks later),  and, of course, Vanessa Zamarripa's Cheng - stuck in the first day of US Nationals. 

When I say great vaults I am also thinking about Larisa Iordache. In 2009 she had a FTY and  a round-off half on tuck (4.6) while in 2010 she presented a FTY and a 1.5 Yurchenko.  She had successfully competed  the  1.5 Yurchenko since the beginning of the year but during the fall she managed to stuck it on numerous occasions. I consider her vaults extraordinary, given the general level of the Romanian juniors.

Any other vaults that surprised you? Here are some of my favorites:

Larisa Iordaches' vaults at Romanian Nationals

or watch here.

Mustafina's Amanar from Waalvijk

or watch here

Sandra Izbasa's DTY from Worlds

or watch here
Vanessa Zamarippa's Cheng vault:

or watch here

or watch here


Lili, I already miss you!

Lili coaching Ana Porgras during 2010 Romanian International

Everybody is talking about it... Two months ago Lili Cosma has left the National Team returned to Deva. I was hoping she was on a vacation or something. This is a bad news... she was invaluable to the team!
Gabriela Dragoi, Anamaria Tamarjan, Ana Porgras, Sandra Izbasa, Stela Nistor, Raluca Haidu, Amelia Racea - all these gymnasts have won medals at Worlds or Europeans with Lili Cosma as their beam coach. 
Especially after 2008 Cosma has been the mastermind behind many original beam sets with  nice dance elements here and there and difficult combinations of elements.
Of course, all these gymnasts were well trained and had good routines before they came to the national team. Still, Lili has added, in many cases, that final touch that made all these routines memorable.

Some of my favorites:


Favorite Moments (of 2010)

Jade's promised comeback!
Jade was eating ice-cream when I asked if I could take her pic
unfortunately the team mates took it out of the setting
Most of us thought that her career was finished in the beginning of 2009.  It was announced then, that there seemed to be no cure for her wrist condition. People were amazed at how optimistic she looked while declaring she will probably not be back until 2010. There were two things she seemed to ignore: 1 - there was no cure and 2 - 2010 was very far away, how could she still be so positive she would still want to do gymnastics?

Luckily, no one told her that and if they did, she did not listen. Jade made a successful appearance at Brazilian Nationals in November 2009, placing first on floor. Throughout 2010 we did not see much of her in competitions. At the 2010 Worlds she quietly managed to qualify in for the all around finals vault finals (with the third score). 
In the finals she pulled off two great vaults and showed us what she meant by "I won't be able to do well in competitions until next year"

 2010 World - two nice clean vaults

or watch here.

2007 - a young Brazilian showed us how to throw an Amanar:

or watch it on youtube.

Catalina Ponor - coqueting with gymnastics

According to Prosport

I'm not not holding my breath, other people have attempted comebacks as well. As we have seen, it does not only depend on how badly you want to return but also on how your body reacts to intense training.
In the summer of 2010 Catalina said that Mariana had invited her to join the national team but she declined (for medical reasons and because she had other plans). I wonder what made her change her mind...

Sources in Izvorani have said that her purpose would be either to return to elite gymnastics or to be able to participate in shows, for which top physical shape is necessary.

Adrian Stoica has declared: "these are not rumours, regarding Catalina Ponor. All I know is that a possible comeback is discussed and we don't know if she will be healthy enough to be able to make it. In the future, we will know more."

Mariana Bitang has refused to comment.

Izvorani Training Camp: In the Holiday Spirit

These are taken from an article published in Romanian rag magazine Click. The pics are nice though the content of the article is "light". The title of the article is "The gymnasts, like princesses on New Year's Eve!".

the gymnasts and the most successful coach of all times next to the Christmas tree:
 And, the gymnasts are (from left): Diana Trenca, Amelia Racea, Larisa Iordache, Dana Andrei,
Ana Porgras, Diana Rusu, Raluca Haidu, Beatris Margarit, Georgiana Gheorghe

It seems that they were allowed to enjoy more the "holiday atmosphere" than the specific foods. Euros are just three months from now... we can't be surprised.
Diana Rusu and Ana Porgras
The author of the article notes: "Ana Porgras was in the spotlight, giving fashion advice to her younger team mates". That's what I call team spirit!

Source: Click!

part two of the almost lost pics

Mona Lisa smile:

Happy to be leaving smiles:

Diana Chelaru, on the other hand seems very comfortable:

Amelia Racea reminds me a bit of Gina Gogean. (and I also remember Sarah's take on Gina Gogean's serious face: "I'm a doctor, not smiley face". which I would link but her site is not available at the moment)
I have no idea how Amelia really is... she does seem a bit sad at times.
Even when she won the gold at Euros. See this face on the podium?

After this routine:

Maybe when she manages to overcome all injuries and be the best in the world we will see a big smile. But it's not mandatory... Amelia is a champion, not a smiley face :)


La multi ani 2011! Happy new year!

Today I remembered I have on my computer some pictures taken by a dear friend of mine that loves gymnastics as much as I do. She gave me these pictures she took at the Worlds but I forgot to publish them (I am ashamed of myself).

So, here they are... (part one) Some lovely pics of Raluca Haidu:
-the dance moves

Raluca Haidu - Worlds 2010 AA
 - the pointed toes:

 - And she is so small... Nabieba looks like a giant next to her (I can assure you that she is not, although her determined look may indicate something else)