Usually at the Olympic games, at least one of the gold winners has been a World champion in individual events during her competitive career, but that was not the case when it comes to the 2004 Athens Olympics.



Catalina Ponor, Romania
Team, Balance Beam, Floor Exercise gold medalist.

Despite her longevity, Romania's Catalina Ponor who was the most decorated gymnast in Athens, has never won a World title. She competed at four World championships and won three silvers and two bronze medals.

Her World record:
2003: 2nd team, floor exercise, balance beam.
2005: 3rd balance beam.
2007: 3rd team, 4th balance beam.
2011: 4th team, 7th balance beam.

The Romanian gymnast announced her comeback this year in the aim of making the Rio Olympic team, her coach said to the media that she will most likely not be ready to compete at this year's Worlds (2015).

Update: she is expected to compete at the 2017 World championships.


Monica Rosu, Romania
Team, Vault gold medalist

Monica is known to be one of best vaulters Romania has ever produced but sadly her career was cut short.

As a fresh senior, she went to the 2003 World championships where she won a silver with her team and placed fourth on vault.

The following year, she upgraded her difficult and performed one of the most beautiful Amanars, at the Olympics. Her second vault was also difficult as she performed a double twisting Tsukahara, only three tenth less difficult than the Amanar. (According to today's CoP)

Struggling from injuries, Rosu failed to make the 2005 Worlds team thus ending her competitive career.

Worlds record:
2003: 2nd team, 4th vault.





Emilie Le Pennec, France.

Uneven Bars, gold medalist.

Russia's Svetlana Khorkina who had dominated the uneven bars during her long gymnastics career, was heavily favored to win her third consecutive uneven bars Olympic title, but a fall on a skill she originated opened the door for the French gymnast to achieve her country's first Olympic gold medal in women's gymnastics.

Her routine was considered to be one of the most technically difficult bar routines in the world, as she performed a G rated release "full twisting Gienger" and F rated double twisting double back tuck dismount.

Le Pennec competed at two World championships and did not win any medal at either competitions.


Worlds record:
2003: 11th all around, 5th floor exercise.
2005: 5th all around, 6th floor exercise.




Carly Patterson, USA
All around, gold medalist.


Just like Rosu, Patterson had a short career. She competed at only one Worlds which was the 2003 World championships. There, she qualified to the all around final and won a silver medal behind Russia's Svetlana Khorkina whom she beat the following year in Athens in the all around final.

But Patterson has a World gold medal in her resume which was won with her team. The gold medal was her country's first in World team competitions.

After the Olympics, Patterson took a long break and then retired in 2006.

World records
2003: 1st team, 2nd all around






Silvia Stroescu, Romania
Team, gold medalist.


Stroescu and Patterson are the only 2004 Olympic champions who have a gold medal at Worlds in their records. Stroescu's gold medal was won in 2001 in the team competition.

She was sidelined in 2002 and 2003, hence not making any of her country's team in major international competitions. She competed at the pre Olympic European championships and was initially not selected to represent her country in Athen. 

However, Andreea Munteanu who was named to the Olympics, injured herself just two weeks before the competition and Stroescu replaced her.

She retired after the Olympics.

Worlds records:
2001: 1st team. 7th floor exercise.



Oana Ban, Romania
Team, gold medalist.


Ban who turned senior in 2002, competed at the 2002 and 2003 Worlds where she earned a silver medal at each competition.

Ban had her Olympic experience cut short. She qualified for the all around and floor finals but an injury she sustained on her last event in the team competition forced her to sit out both competitions.

She announced her retirement after the Olympics ended.

Worlds record:
2002: 2nd: balance beam, 4th: floor exercise.
2003; 6th: all around final.






As for the other two members of the 2004 Olympic gold winning team, Alexandra Eremia who also won a bronze medal at the Olympic's beam final, was a part of the 2003 World silver medal winning team. Struggling with fitness, she sat out the 2005 season and retired in early 2006.

While Daniela Sofronie who won a silver medal on floor in Athens, never made a World team.


Written by Gigi Farid

Photos by Sing Lo

Axact

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