Roxana Popa
Photo by Silvia Vatteroni
Since turning senior in 2013, Romanian born Spanish gymnast Roxana Popa has established herself as one of the most popular gymnasts in this quad.

At the end of last year, it was discovered that she has torn her ACL and since then she has been out of competition.

In our second interview with Roxana, she talks ACL recovery, Amanar and competing for Romania.

Gigi: You have torn your ACL last year, how is your recovery going?

Roxana: It is going good, slow just like any serious injury. It has been five months since having the surgery and I hope to start training soon. I am currently just engaging in rehabilitation and conditioning.

Gigi: When are you expected to compete? Are we going to see you at Worlds?

Roxana: All I can say is I hope I can be ready for Worlds.

Gigi: A  lot of gymnastics fans, feel that you have been treated unfairly by the judges and that you often get underscored during competitions, what do you think, do you feel underscored?

Roxana: I just do my thing and I dont care if they underscore me. Actually, I thank them because it motivates me to work harder and get the scores I really deserve

Gigi: You are originally from Romania which is one the most four powerful countries in gymnastics but you compete for Spain, a country that is not strong in the sport. The judges tend to underscore gymnasts who are not from the big four, do you think if you were competing for Romania and had the same exact performances, you would have received better results?

Roxana: If we allowed ourselves to think about what could have been, we are always going to be miserable.

Roxana Popa
Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

Gigi: Have you ever thought of competing for Romania instead of Spain?

Roxana: I have never stopped thinking about that. However, I will keep doing gymnastics because that is most important thing.

Gigi: You have the uneven bars as your strongest event and the balance beam as your weakest event, which has been exactly the contrary with the Romanian gymnasts in the past years, do you think if you were brought up and trained in Romania, balance beam would have been your strongest event while the uneven bars would have been your weakest event?

Roxana: I dont think so. I get very nervous when I compete on balance beam, so training in Romania won't change a thing. Maybe I could have been slightly better, not a lot better or having it as my strongest event.

Gigi: You have trained the Amanar before tearing your ACL, are you going to continue training it after your full recovery? 

Roxana: I will, I have torn the ACL of my right knee and it is recovering well hence I won't be having any problem landing the vault. 

Roxana Popa
Photo by Silvia Vatteroni
Gigi: what about the double twisting double back?

Roxana: That one skill, I will never take out of my routine.

Gigi: How do you keep your spirit up during your recovery?

Roxana: That was the hardest thing ever. The first two weeks after surgery, I went to the gym because I was impatient and felt so bad with myself and cried a lot. 

I did not want to hear any news about anything or anyone. I wanted to know NOTHING about the European championships in Montpellier. My mom once came to me and tried to tell me something and I was like ' No No ! I dont wanna know ! " (Laughs).

Little by little, I began to overcome the sadness. However, remembering the whole thing will always hurt me. 

Interview by Gigi Khazback Farid

See also our previous interview with Roxana Popa and her road ton recovery in gallery


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