The C Score (2.0)

Posts Tagged ‘Gabriela Dragoi

A few updates from my favorite national team:

Corina Ungureanu

Remember Corina Ungureanu? She was a member of the Romanian gymnastics team in the 1990s, and was a member of the 1997 and 1999 world champion Romanian teams. She later retired in 1999 due to a spinal cord injury, and then did a number of naked things, including posing in Romanian Playboy (which she did again earlier this year), and doing gymnastics routines topless on a Japanese DVD.

Ungureanu is now 28, and she now lives in England, where she is coaching on the Isle of Man. And, according to this Libertatea article, she is now training bars, beam and floor herself, and recently competed in an internal competition on beam and floor. Remember, she was the 1998 European floor champion.

Check it out:

Awards for Dragoi and Tamirjan

Gabriela Dragoi was named Athlete of the Year for Buzau county, according to this article in Stiri Locale Bucuresti.

Dragoi and Tamirjan

Dragoi and Tamirjan

In other heartwarming Dragoi news, a businessman named Costel Bucur is helping out her family (she has five siblings) by helping to rebuild their house and donating things for Christmas. Very cool. See article here.

Ana Maria Tamirjan was also honored recently by the Prahova Directorate for Sport, which encompasses Ploesti. Tamirjan is second in the competition for best athlete of Prahova county, with first place going to someone who does judo.

Tamirjan said:

2008 was a hard year, in which we had many injuries, which makes this even more satisfying. [In 2009], on a person level, I’d like to come back with medals from Europeans and Worlds. Otherwise, I hope for good health and the ability to work hard.

Tamirjan is recovering from a cracked femur, and consequently has refused to take off more than one day for Christmas!

See Pro Sport article here.

Andreea Acatrinei won the Best Athlete award for Hunedoara, with Ceralesca Patrascu second. Steliana Nistor won for Sibiu.

Sandra Izbasa

And, naturally, what Romanian update would be complete without something about Sandra Izbasa? She is currently in Belgium for an exhibition (see here). She’ll be performing on beam and floor. Dariya Zgoba will supposedly also be there. (In other exhibition news, Chellsie Memmel is in Holland for similar reasons.)

Nicolae Forminte did an interview with Replica.

Nicolae Forminte with Sandra Izbasa

Nicolae Forminte with Sandra Izbasa

In the interview, Forminte talks about the Romanians’ performance in Beijing and their hopes for 2009, and also has some very kind words for Steliana Nistor.

Of the Romanians’ performance in Beijing, Forminte says that Nistor and Ana Maria Tamirjan didn’t really finalize their routines until Beijing, where they did a lot of last-minute training. Moreover, Gabriela Dragoi was suffering from leg pain. This left Forminte with only one team member fully able to contribute: Sandra Izbasa. No wonder she was the only one to win gold.

On the other hand, Forminte is not disappointed in his team’s performance:

I believed in myself and in my colleagues, and I managed to fulfill our objectives. I was tremendously happy that the team remained on the Olympic podium.

Forminte also says that he didn’t really publicize news of Nistor’s back problems before the 2008 Olympics (among other things) because he didn’t want to use it as an excuse for the Romanians’ performance.

You’ll recall that when she first retired, Forminte tried to convince Nistor not to, but he now says that he wasn’t sure she could continue, concluding that, “For me, the gymnastics chapter of Steliana’s life has ended, but we remain in contact.”

Who's more talented?

Nistor and Liukin: Who's more talented?

Because of her injury, Nistor was not able to train at the level of intensity that was necessary to achieve Forminte’s biggest goal for her: to win gold in the all-around. This is disappointing to Forminte especially because, he says, “She was more talented than the American [Nastia] Liukin.”

(That’s a difficult argument to make! But I’ll let people fight it out amongst themselves. Suffice it to say, Liukin does seem to have a lot more medals. … Then again, natural talent and hard work are too different things. Then again, Liukin’s entire DNA is a veritable vault of talent. Aaanyway.)

With Nistor gone, there is certainly an aura of stress surrounding Forminte. He talks about the difficulties the Romanians faced in the last quadrennium, saying that it did not go unnoticed by foreign coaches and others that he kept showing up to competitions with new gymnasts. He says that he has been anxious and unable to rest.

As for the looking to the past and hoping for the future, Forminte attributes the Romanian decline to two things: the Code of Points and the current Romanian system for training children and junior athletes. You’ll recall that Forminte said after the Olympics that under the old CoP, the Romanians would have won: they had the cleanest exercises. But, he acknowledges, it’s important to change with the times and address these issues, even citing a desire to improve on bars. (Thank god.)

For 2009, Forminte is looking at Izbasa, Tamirjan, Dargoi. He hopes to see Dragoi and Andreea Acatrinei back, but both are currently injured. He also mentions Diana Chelaru. Otherwise, he says, he has not yet found a junior with the talent to replace Nistor. (I assume Larisa Iordache doesn’t count because of her age.)

It’s going to be tough for the Romanians. Lots of problems on bars among juniors (more on Romanian juniors here); I hope Forminte’s serious when he says he wants to work on that.

I respect Forminte. As Al Trautwig always used to say about Octavian Belu, the man lives in a one-room house adjacent to the gym compound. It’s a tough life. Also, if Izbasa is any reflection on him, he’s a good coach, I think. She’s been dealing with this ridiculous schedule really well, and dealt with her World Cup Final disappointment exceedingly gracefully. Anyway, as you can tell, I’m glad she’s still around. I really liked Nistor, but Izbasa’s my favorite current Romanian senior. (We’ll have to wait until 2012 (!) to see if Iordache can grab that spot.)

The Arthur Gander Memorial, held October 29th, is a competition run by the Swiss, and named after a former FIG president, and has a slightly odd format. Each gymnast competes three of four events.

China, Romania and Russia each competed top female gymnasts: He Ning from China, Sandra Izbasa from Romania, and Ksenia Afanasyeva from Russia. Germany sent Oksana Chusovitina, although Marie-Sophie Hindermann was supposed to compete but withdrew because of surgery for her Achilles.

Izbasa competed a slightly watered-down version of her floor routine, and took a step out of bounds, but continued to land solidly. Izbasa just keeps going up and up in my persoal rankings: she’s competing in four more competitions in the next six weeks and is, according to Nicolae Forminte, the only Romanian currently ready to compete. In this IG article Forminte says that Ana Maria Tamirjan, Gabriela Dragoi and Andreea Grigore are all injured, and that all of the others are “struggling to find motivation,” which could be a problem for my favorite team, sadly.

ThePenguin888 over at YouTube has some other good vids.

Results

1. Sandra Izbasa (44.300)
2. Oksana Chusovitina (44.000)
3. He Ning (43.550)
4. Ariella Käslin (42.400)

The Swiss Cup mixed pairs competition, honestly, is weird. Here’s how it works:

  • Gymnasts are paired by country: each country sends one male and one female gymnast. This year twelve countries competed
  • In the first round, each gymnast from each team competes on one apparatus of his/her choice.
  • In the second round, each gymnast competes on a second apparatus of his/her choice.
  • After the second round, four teams are cut based on total score (from the two rounds).
  • In the semifinals, each gymnast competes on one apparatus of his/her choice, but the apparatus may not be one of the apparatus competed in the first two rounds.
  • On the basis of scores from the first three rounds, four teams are cut.
  • In the final, each gymnast competes on one apparatus of his/her choice, but the apparatus may not be the apparatus competed in the semifinals.
  • The winner is determined by the combined score from the finals round only.

Exciting for me was also that Youna Dufournet of France competed, although the French team finished only ninth after she fell repeatedly on a pirouette on bars. The Germans did not perform well, with Chusovitina taking a nasty fall on beam. Word has it that she may have torn her Achilles (ironically — see above).

Results

1. China (31.250)
2. Romania (30.775)
3. Russia (30.750)
4. Switzerland (30.025)


About The C Score

First there was A score and B score, now D score and E score. Where is the C score? Right here. In the form of my random thoughts about women's artistic gymnastics.

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