In 2004, we have witnessed the most successful Romanian Olympic team in artistic gymnastics. The Olympic team successfully defended the title, they won in Sydney making them the only non Soviet team to accomplish this feat. Beside the team gold medal, the gymnasts won three golds, one silver and one bronze in individual finals.

But where are they now!

Catalina Ponor (then almost 17 years old, now 26 years old)
Athens medals: Gold team, Gold balance beam, Gold floor exercise.
Ponor continued competing after the Olympics till the 2006 European championships and announced her retirement due to injury. She made a second comeback in 2007 and competed at that year’s World championships, however she retired shortly afterwards citing health issues.
She made a third comeback in 2011 and competed at the 2011 Worlds, 2012 Europeans and the London Olympic games.  After the games, she announced her retirement for good.
Ponor has partnered with DOMYOS  where she is designing leotards. She  is also dating Puerto Rican gymnast Tommy Ramos.
Ponor is a multiple World and European medalist. In London, she added two medals to the three golds she won in Athens.

Update: Ponor is working on her comeback in the aim of making Rio Team.

Monica Rosu (then 17 years old, now 27  years old)
Athens medals: Gold team, Gold vault.
After the Olympics, Monica continued training. The then competitive gymnasts was aiming on making the 2005 World team but health issues cut her goal short and has since retired.
After her retirement, Rosu attended college in Bucharest where she studied sports management and pursued a master degree.  Rosu has hosted TV shows and has worked with sports national channels.
Beside her two Olympic golds, she is the 2004 team and vault European champion and 2003 World silver medalist.

Oana Ban (then 18 years old,  now 28 years old)
Athens medals: Gold team

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Ban retired after the Olympics and has since refused to work in anything related to gymnastics. She  now works as a fitness instructor in a fitness club in Cluj.  
Ban who converted to Jenovah Witness at only 18 years old, does missionary missions along with her husband whom she married in 2010.
Individually, Oana was not lucky in Athens. An ankle injury forced her to withdraw from the all around and floor exercise final. Oana competed at two World championships and won two silver medals.

Alexandra Eremia (then 17 years old, now 27 years old)
Athens medals: Gold team, Bronze balance beam.
Eremia continued training after the Olympics and participated in several World cups. Due to controversies involving Eremia and Romanian federation, she was not selected to compete at the 2005 Worlds. In 2006, Eremia failed to regain her former level thus not being selected for the European team. She called it quits after that.
After her retirement Eremia went to college and worked as coach. Now she and her boyfriend European and World medalist Flavius Koczi have joined the coaching team at Janz Gymnastics Club, a full time facility in Dublin, Ireland.
Alexandra competed at 2004 European championships where she won a gold medal with the team and a silver on balance beam. She also contributed to her team’s silver medal win at the 2003 Worlds.

Silvia Stroescu (then 19 years old, now 28 years old)
Athens medals: Gold team.
After the Olympic games, Stroescu enrolled in the National Sport Academy and also in “Spiru Haret” University (the largest Romanian private university). She worked as coach in the sport and commentated for competitions for DIGISport tv.
Stroescu was a part of the last World gold winning Romanian team. She is also the 2004 European gold medalist with her team.

Daniela Sofronie (then 16 years old, now 26 years old)
Athens medals: Gold team, Silver floor exercise.
Daniela is one of the two 2004 Olympic champions who made the post Olympic European championships. There Daniela qualified to the bars final and finished last. She retired from the sport after the competition.
Daniela was for a short period a member of Romanian Golden Team – a gymnastics show. She is currently a coach in CSS1 in Constanța her hometown.
She recently has discovered a new hobby which is collecting and designing  chocolate figurines and masks. She said what she designs are given  to her friends and family as a gift. She also enjoys decorating Easter eggs.

Special thanks to our Alex Mladinescu for providing me with some information.
Written by Gigi Khazback Farid
Photo by Sing Lo


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