Articles by "Romanian Gymnastics"
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Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

Romania's Larisa Iordache badly injured herself during warm up just moments before the qualification of the World championships which is being held in Montreal.

She completely tore her Achilles tendon and was flown home the following day for immediate surgery.

It was reported that the 21 year old gymnast will go through nine months recovery which means she will return to the gym in July.

Larisa would need lots of time to condition and regain her form which would make it impossible for her to be fully ready at the time of the next year's Worlds which will be held in Doha, Qatar in November.

Considering the current level of the Romanian gymnastics, fans predict that the country's federation might push her to compete uneven bars in Doha.

Iordache was a heavy favorite to shine in Montreal. She was rooted to win the all around and balance beam gold. 

The unfortunate gymnast wrote on social media following the injury that she was distraught and shocked calling it a nightmare but was grateful for the support and love she received from fans and fellow gymnasts.

 Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Ginnastica Artistica Italiana

After qualification in Montreal, Catalina Ponor took to Instagram to announce her retirement from the sport.

But for the fans who are not ready to let her go, Ponor informed them that they can still see her in action as she is set to compete in two more competitions.

We are yet to know what are these competitions but Cottbus Cup will be held next month, between 26 and 29 November. 

At the World championships, the Romanian gymnast had a disappointing qualification where she failed to make it to the finals.

Ponor had a fall on beam which she has won multiple titles on. While she finished in fourteenth place on floor exercise.

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Ginnastica Artistica Italiana

Catalina Ponor has taken to Instagram to officially announce her retirement from the sport.

The Romanian gymnast, who failed to qualify to any final today in Montreal, has posted a photo that contained text bidding farewell to her fans.

"I was trying to do the beam routine exactly as I could do it. In training, it went very well. I know that I was prepared and I am pretty sure I could do a lot better than this. This happens. Competition is a competition. Right now, I am ok with leaving gymnastics."

Ponor has previously expressed desire to compete at Tokyo Olympics in 2020. After Montreal's podium training, she shocked fans by announcing that this will be her last World championships.

The 30 year old gymnast had a long successful career. She won five Olympic medals, three of which are gold and multiple European titles. She turned senior in 2003 and competed at three Olympic Games.

She made three comebacks after retiring in 2006,2007 and 2012.

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Jeni Hull
Former Romanian gymnast and newly elected Romanian Gymnastics Federation Andreea Raducan gave insights on the current Romanian gymnastics situation during the broadcasting of National championships.

Raducan praised Larisa Iordache, who dominated the competition by winning four gold medals and a silver. She said that Larisa is a good competitor and is in great shape pointing out her positive attitude in training.

She hoped that veteran Catlina Ponor, who struggled during Nationals, would recover adding that it is no strange for an athlete to have pressure affect them regardless of their experience.

Ponor had two falls on balance beam during qualification. In the final, she came second to Larisa on beam and floor exercise.

She announced that only three female gymnasts will go to Worlds and both Iordache and Ponor have been selected. As for the men's team, they are going to send six.

The World championships, which will be held in Montreal next month, will only feature individual competitions. Countries are allowed to send up to four gymnasts.

The former Olympic gymnast briefly spoke about the Romanian gymnastics situation admitting that they have a shortage of coaches. 

"I thought we need to have a thorough examination of the athletes we have on the national team and also of our coaches," said Raducan "Because, whether we like it or not, our biggest issue is not the athletes, but the coaches. We have very few left, and not many are ready for the level required on the national team, and I don’t have a problem with admitting that."

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Jeni Hull

Romania's Catalina Ponor has always been known as a rock solid competitor. Simply, falls have never been in her dictionary especially on her strongest apparatus.

But things changed, starting from last year.

The veteran gymnast, who turned senior in 2003, had her first fall ever in a competition on vault at the Olympic test event. It looks like she was aiming at a full twisting Yurchenko but under-rotated it and landed after 3/4 twist which caused the falling.

Later that year, she had her first fall ever on balance beam, the apparatus she has always been known for being solid on. The fall took place at National championships. She fell on her double turn below horizontal.

At the most recent National championships, Catalina added two more falls on her resume. 

She had a fall on her Onodi 

GIF by postolympicworlds

and on her split ring jump.

GIF by postolympicworlds

A fall has been costing a full point since 2009.

But still, for such a long career, only having four falls in her entire career is something to admire.

Ponor turned senior in 2003. On balance beam, she is the 2004 Olympic champion, 2003 World silver medalist, 2005 World bronze medalist, five time European beam champion and 2016 European beam medalist.

On floor, she is the 2004 Olympic champion, 2003 World silver medalist, 2004 European champion, 2006 and 2012 European silver medalist and 2016 European bronze medalist.

Ponor first announced her retirement in 2006 then made a brief comeback in 2007. She made a comeback in 2011 and retired after the London Olympics. Her last comeback was in 2015.

Written by Gigi Farid

The Orthodox church has given a very generous donation to the national team training center in Deva.

The center has received a 16K worth of equipment, an acrotramp and a tumbling track, which are much needed. On August 9, Bishop of Deva and Hunedoara led the blessing rite for the gymnasts.

Nevertheless, a very popular Romanian gymnastics blogger on Tumblr called Aly raised concerns over the news:

The national team training center in Deva finally received an acrotramp and a tumbling track!

That’s the good news, but the completely baffling news is how they got it! It was a $16.000 worth donation from the Deva and Hunedoara Episcopate. Apparently, they visited the training center a few months ago and saw that the team needs this equipment, so they took it upon themselves to get it for them. Excuse me, what?!? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a lovely gesture, and at least it’s comforting to know the people’s money was being used for something worth while, because I assume the Church had that money from donations, too, but still…

How? Why? Do we really need the Church to identify the equipment the gymnasts on the national team need and make the effort to get it? We have a Federation for that! We have a Ministry for that! If the Church can get $16.000 for this purpose, why can’t the Federation or Ministry do something? Sure, maybe there are no money, but why can’t they draw sponsors? According to Forminte, they wanted and needed this for years, so I imagine he talked about it before and it got him nowhere.

It was possible for us to find enough money to spend over 600.000€ to organize Euros, but apparently, no one can do anything to get the equipment Deva needs. What a joke!

By Gigi Farid

Photo by

Photo by Jeni Hull

Catalina Ponor is more than determined to win a medal at the World championships, something she hasn't achieved in ten years.

The Romanian gymnast is working on upgrading her balance beam and floor exercise routines. She is training a round off to straight layout mount on beam which is worth an F. While on floor exercise, she is retraining a full twisting double back layout which is worth an H.

Ponor previously trained the difficult tumbling pass in 2012 and was aiming to compete it at the London event finals where she won a silver medal but her coaches decided that it was better for her to go for an easier routine.

The three time Olympic champion will be 30 years old at the upcoming World championships which will be held next October in Canada.

Her last World medal was a bronze in the team competition in 2007, while her last individual one was also a bronze on balance beam in 2005.

This year, Ponor won her fifth gold medal on balance beam at the European championships in Cluj.

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Jeni Hull
Romanian gymnast Larisa Iordache is set to compete at the upcoming Universiade Games which will be held from 19 to 30 August in Taiwan. She will also be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the games.

Iordache will be the only Romanian gymnast to be competing in Taiwan.

There were reports that the US men will take part in the competition.

The Universiade Games is a multi sport event that takes place every two years.

Written by Gigi Farid

Stoica left - Raducan right
Adrian Stoica, who served as the President of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation for three consecutive terms, has announced that he will no longer seek a re-election.

Stoica explained to what caused him to have a change of heart. He said that he would like to give a chance to the younger generation to lead the federation.

"We all live in a society which, unfortunately, is starting to forget that there comes a time when every one of us has to encourage the next generations to grow." said Stoica.

"Despite receiving several proposals from members to continue on with another term, even though grateful, I decided it’s time for the younger generation to get involved."

During the last election, Stoica had no opponents. Former Olympic champion Andreea Raducan is expected to run for the upcoming presidential election of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation.

The election will be held on the fourth of August.

It is worth mentioning that Stoica has come under heavy attack in the past two years for the poor performance of the Romanian team. At the last World championships, they finished in 13th place in the qualification - the first time since 1974 they had finished worse than fourth. Laura Jurca and Larisa Iordache, managed to qualify to the all around final while Romania had no representation in the events final.

After the World championships, Stoica was sent an open later by the Romanian Olympic Committee where they urged him to find a solution to the downfall of the country's gymnastics recommending him to hire foreign coaches for uneven bars and sports psychologists to help the gymnasts.

He was offended by the letter accusing the committee of politicizing the situation adding that he is pleased with the results and that the downfall was only temporarily.

At last year's Rio Test Event, they failed to qualify a full team to the Olympics for the first time in 48 years. They were only able to send one gymnast to Rio, veteran Catalina Ponor, who failed to bring home a medal.

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Jeni Hull
Last week, news broke out that Romanian gymnast Olivia Cimpian has left Romanian to train and compete for neighboring country Hungary.

The reason behind this, is that her parents believe that their training methods will benefit their daughter more than the current Romanian one. It is worth mentioning that Olivia's father, Marcel Cimpian used to play football in Hungary.

Romania's head coach Nicolae Forminte took to Facebook to confirm the news.

"I’m sad to confirm that Olivia Cimpian is no longer at the training camp in Deva. I informed the Federation and the Olympic Committee. The talks that were had with the gymnast’s parents are confidential and were amicable, Olivia and her parents not having complaints about the coaching staff. Personally, I was stunned. No one has nothing to hide, and there’s nothing wrong at the Deva training center. For now, my main goal is to try and diminish the emotional impact this had on the other members of the team, the focus being on training for the EYOF. From my point of view, there was no reason that justifies this decision. As painful as it might be, I will respect each family’s right to make decisions regarding their own children."

"Whatever happens from now on depends on the Sports Ministry, the Romanian Gymnastics Federation and the Olympic Committee. I hope Olivia will come back to Deva, where she is loved and respected unconditionally."

Cimpian turned senior this year and took part at the last European championships where she qualified to the all around final and finished in 23rd place.

She will be training alongside Hungarian gymnast Zsofia Kovacs who won a silver medal in the all around final at this year's European championships.

Written by Gigi Farid

Larisa Iordache at the European Championships last April. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Romania’s Larisa Iordache, 21, was on her way to Olympic glory in early 2016, when a series of unfortunate injuries prevented her from training and even, controversially, from gaining the only available spot to represent Romania at the Rio Olympics. She was eventually named as an alternate, while the Olympic spot was awarded to teammate Catalina Ponor.

Since Rio, Iordache has been working hard in the gym, but until a few months ago, she seemed unable to gain back her previous difficulty, as well as the confidence she had back in 2014 and 2015.

In a recent interview with Romania’s TVR Sport, however, Larisa Iordache has impressed, showing off old very difficult skills, as well as new possible significant upgrades.

The footage shows Iordache training on the uneven bars, the balance beam and floor. On bars, she is training a Maloney + Hindorff (D + E + 0.2 connection bonus), and a super difficult double-double dismount (Fabrichnova), worth an F.

On balance beam, Iordache is planning on taking back her hardest combination, a round-off + full-twisting layout, worth a G. She is also working on a new mount, a round-off into layout-step-out (E).

Finally, on floor she is training a rarely done three-and-a-half twist (F), a very difficult pass only a few gymnasts competed in the past, among which China’s Shang Chunsong (2015–6) and Mao Yi (2016), U.S. McKayla Maroney (2011–2) and Russia’s Aliya Mustafina (2011).

Larisa Iordache lastly competed at the European Championships in Cluj-Napoca last April, where she won a bronze medal on balance beam. She plans to get back to competition at the 2017 University Games in Taipei next August.

By Talitha Ilacqua

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

After a successful performance in Cluj Europeans, Romanaian Catalina Ponor spent sometime relaxing in her home in Constanta. In that period, Catalina gave an interview for Radio Constanta in which she spoke about her future plans and the upcoming elections for F.R.G. presidency.

Catalina revealed that six months ago she opened a fitness club in her home town where people can workout and do gymnastics. In the future, she wants to open a Gymnastics Academy in Constanta for men and women.

When asked about F.R.G. (Romanian Gymnastics Federation) elections, Ponor stated that it is time to make changes in the Romanian gymnastics, saying that former Romanian gymnast and sports announcer Andreea Raducan could be the next leader in F.R.G., the role which fits her very well. In her opinion, Romanian officials should not cast aside Bellu's and Bitang's experience in gymnastics as it can be very useful for athletes.

In the end of the interview, Catalina stated that she only thinks of gymnastics and that she doesn’t have any marriage plans for now.

"For the time being, I don’t have time for marriage. A husband outside gymnastics, it will be hard for him to understand our lives. When I am done with gymnastics I will have time for myself, my personal life and for a future family" said Ponor.

Translated by Alex Mladinescu.

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

As the 2017 European Championships came to an end last week, we are looking back at it through the statements made by home-crowd favourites and European beam medallists Larisa Iordache and Catalina Ponor after their winning performances.

Larisa Iordache, who won bronze on beam in Cluj, told TVR that finishing on the podium made her happy but that she still cannot forgive herself for the mistake she made on beam during the final. Iordache competed a flawless routine on beam, but overrotated her triple-twisting dismount and had to take several big steps back.

“The beam final started well for me, as I was feeling very well, and the crowd helped us very much. After completing my routine, however, while I was waiting for my score, I kept reminding myself that it was my own fault that I was missing out on an important medal.
I am happy that I made the podium at these Europeans, considering all that happened in the past two months, and that I cound train only for one month. I am glad I ended up here, but I am also sorry that I lost because of my mistake. This is something that I cannot forgive myself for. I am disappointed with my performance, I could have performed a far better landing and then I would have won a more prestigious medal.”

Iordache has only one wish now, to stay healthy in order to properly train. She aims to compete at the 2017 Montreal World Championships in October, and hopes she will be 100 percent ready for it.

“I hope I will stay healthy. I will be thinking about the upcoming competitions now, and then I will take a short break. I really hope, from the bottom of my heart, that in Montreal I will be in a shape that I am comfortable with.”

On the other hand, Catalina Ponor continues to make history for Romania, as in Cluj she added her fifth continental gold medal on beam to her impressive career record. She told TVR that she was extremely happy about her victory, as she had been fighting for that  medal for a long time. This, she added, represents a new beginning for her, and her next goal is to compete in Montreal.

“I am so happy about winning this medal. My positive thoughts and emotions helped me raise once again the Romanian flag to the first place of the podium. It was a very emotional moment for me, because I have been fighting for this medal for a very long time.

For me this is a new beginning, because everybody knows that I am not going to retire. My first goal was to be here in Cluj, and my second one is to compete at the World Championships in Canada. Everybody looks forward to that competition.

Our moments of joy were brief and they are already gone. One minute, maybe two, the time we stood on the podium, when everybody was cheering for us, appreciating us and applauding us. Now we are heading back to the gym to resume our daily training and routines, as all athletes do. After a few days of recovery, we will head back to the gym.”
Right after the end of the European Championships, Catalina showed her gratitude to her fans through an Instragram post, saying that she hoped that Cluj was a good training for her for the real test to come, the World Championships.

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your encouragements, congratulations and all the people that stood beside me all the way through this European Championships. I cannot describe how wonderful it feels to demonstrate that everything I do, I do it with pleasure, dedication and with full commitment.

I finally succeeded in winning the medal I have been wanting for so long, despite health problems, intrigues and maybe incertitude.

I had faith in me, I kept moving forward and I have finally succeeded, with what I had and when I could. I hope this will turn out to be good training for the World Championships in Canada.

Written by Alex Mladinescu

Photo via Facebook
Romania's Catalina Ponor is working so hard for the European championships which will be held in her country next month.

In a video interview, the 29 year old gymnast said that she is focusing on balance beam and floor exercise, her strongest events. However, she is still unsure whether she is going to debut her second vault at the upcoming competition. 

"If I am not going to be able to do it [second vault] in Cluj, I will try for Worlds" said Ponor.

We are yet to know what second vault is Ponor going to compete but judging from her Instagram training videos, it is most likely going to be a Tsukhara style vault.

The Romanian gymnast has never competed two vaults before. Competing two vaults will allow her to qualify to the event's final. 

At last European championships, Ponor won two bronze medals, on balance beam and floor exercise.

The competition will be held between 19th and 23rd of April.

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni
The International Gymnastics Federation informed us through their Twitter account, that Romania's Larisa Iordache has withdrawn from Stuttgart World Cup, which is set to be held between 18th and 20th of March.

Coach Cristian Moldovean told AgerPress that Iordache is suffering from heel pain hence needs to take a 14 days break.

“She is suffering from heel pain and doctors recommended a two weeks break. Last week we took a break after she felt pain." 

"Yesterday, on floor she felt more intense pain so we decided to visit a doctor and he recommended two weeks of break." 

"She also did an MRI. She’ll go back for a check-up after the break. She doesn’t need a surgery or anything of that sort, she should recover in two weeks”

Furthermore, coach Moldovan said that they took the decision to withdraw from Stuttgart because it wasn’t necessary to rush her recovery since there’s plenty of time until the Europeans.

“It’s better to take a break now, because there is plenty of time until the Europeans and that’s why we decided to withdraw from Stuttgart competition, since we do not wish to rush her recovery."

"Larisa training is in schedule, exactly as planned. There is another competition which is Saint-Etienne, held between 25th and 26th of March. She will definitely participate there. In Stuttgart there is an all around competition and we don’t want a risk a severe injury”.

Written by Alex Mladinescu

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni
Forminte talks about the team’s current situation with Larisa and Catalina coming to Deva for evaluations and his thoughts on the CoP, Larisa shares her hopes for Euros, and Nadia talks about Euros and how Larisa and Catalina are the best bets for medals. 

The translations are under the cut.

Nicolae Forminte

According to the head coach, both Larisa and Catalina will be coming to Deva every now and then so he can evaluate and guide them, and so he can discuss with their coaches about what needs to be done in training. While he says this is an atypical situation, he acknowledges that Romanian gymnastics itself is going through an atypical situation, so they need to find new ways to get good results. He sees Larisa’s visit to Deva as a good thing, she’s a very talented gymnast, so he hopes she overcame last year’s bad luck and starting with Euros, she can start training / competing at the highest level. 

Asked about how did the girls in Deva receive Larisa’s recent visit, he said that the girls are friends and team mates no matter where they train, so whenever Larisa comes to Deva, or the girls go to Bucharest, they’re well received because they’re a team and they support each other.

The interviewer says he overheard Forminte talk to a colleague about the CoP and asks whether this is the big problem for Romanian coaches and gymnasts. Forminte says that they were able to master the old code and make the most of it, but this code is not for amateurs. It needs to be understood and everything, starting with children selection and until gymnasts make the national team, needs to follow some well thought out steps. The CoP is the same for everyone, it depends on each nation and federation how they work with it. They were caught off guard, and they still can’t organize all sports structures to cater to this CoP’s requirements and that’s a problem.

On whether he thinks they’ll have a good showing at Euros, he says it only takes one quad to tear down what was built in ten. They hope they can stop the fall and slowly start to climb up. This time they need to be patient and smart. They need to be smart with making the most out of what they have, and the people they can work with. This CoP is not for everyone, the time when any child that came into the Olympic Center in Deva could became a champion have passed, in this CoP the only ones that will become champions are the ones that have the necessary qualities, are willing to work, are healthy and have a bit of luck.

Larisa Iordache

She’s hoping she can be healthy for Euros, because then she’ll have consistent training and she’s sure she can reach her best shape for this competition. Her plan is to train consistently, and then there are the competitions before Euros (she’s already been confirmed for Stuttgart). 

It was nice to train again with the girls in Deva and she hopes they, too, can reach their goals and make progress every day, since that’s what’s the most important for a gymnast.

Asked if she sees Euros as a test on her way to Words, she says that’s true, but she’s taking everything step by step, and hopes she can have a good showing at Euros, as this can be a starting point for her and she can then go to Worlds feeling more confident. 

She says she’s optimistic and that’s what’s helping her every day in the gym.

Nadia Comaneci

‘I never challenge the Federation’s decisions, and I know Larisa and Catalina will be part of the team. I don’t know who are the other two girls that will be on the team, probably they’ll be chosen based on the shape they’re in. Our biggest chances are Larisa Iordache in the AA, beam and floor, and Ponor on beam if she hits the routine she’s training. Anything else will be a bonus. Of course, I will be at the European Championships, I’m the competition’s ambassador.’

(On Catalina’s plan to keep going at 29 years old) ‘It’s rare to see such a big competition in Romania, so if Ponor wants to, that’s great. I also stayed in training because the 1981 University Games were held in Bucharest. I wanted to end my career at home, because my parents never had the chance to see me compete.’

Written by Aly126

Sources (x) (x)

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni
Looks like Romania's Catalian Ponor is following in the footsteps of her compatriots Sandra Izbasa and Larisa Iordache.

The 29 year old gymnast has announced that she is training a second vault for the first time in her career in order to qualify to vault finals. Sandra Izbasa competed two vaults in her early career and did not earn success thus stopped and settled for one vault. Few years later, she retrained two vaults and earned two European titles and an Olympic one. Larisa Iordache competed two vaults at European championships and earned two medals.

Ponor, who has competed Yurchenko vaults, uploaded a video of herself training a Tsukahara style vault on Instagram few weeks ago. Gymnasts must compete two vaults from two different vault families, if they desire to compete in the event's final.

"I will focus on beam and floor, and I will try to perform a second vault. I have never done that, I have never had a second vault" said Ponor. "I could not qualify to vault finals, because I only had one vault".

The Romanian gymnast trained bars before the Rio Olympics in the aim of competing as an all arounder. She said that she was forced to quit the event due to injury.

"I didn’t manage to perform bars in Rio, like I planned. I’ve trained without grips and it was very hard for me to compete with girls who were using them."

"Right before the competition my palms were “broken” because of the magnesium and I was forced to quit. My hands were burning and the pain was so unbearable that I had to quit".

The five time Olympic medalist is training hard in the capital of her country in preparation of the upcoming European championships which will be held in her home country.

Written by Gigi Farid.

Special thanks to our Alex Maldinescu for translating the quotes.

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni
Although the Romanian team didn't make it to the Olympics, they did not let the year pass them by without them leaving their mark.

One of their gymnasts called Dora Vulcan submitted a brand new skill on floor exercise at the Test Event; a split jump to ring position with 1/2 turn. The skill has been given a C rating.

The top eight teams at the last World championships earned ticket to Rio Olympic Games. The Romanians finished in thirteenth place at the competition hence were relegated to the test event. There, they had a disastrous performance which made them fail to qualify to the Olympics.

Countries which failed to qualify a full team to Rio at the test event, can send only one gymnast to the Olympics. Veteran Catalina Ponor was the sole gymnast representing Romania in Rio. Sadly, she did not bring home any medals.

Two more skills were submitted and successfully performed this year: 

Uneven bars: hecht jump (legs together) with hand repulsion and 1/1 turn (360°) over LB to hang on HB by Armenian Houry Gebeshian.

Balance beam: diagonal approach to beam – Leap with leg change and ½ turn (180°) to free cross split sit by Trinidad and Tobago's Marisa Dick.

Written by Gigi Farid