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The Romanian Coach Who Turned UK Gymnastics Into A Powerhorse

Romanian gymnast at 2014 Worlds Photo by Silvia Vatteroni In the light of current events,  published a very interesting in...

Romanian gymnast at 2014 Worlds
Photo by Silvia Vatteroni
In the light of current events, published a very interesting interview with Adrian Stan, a Romanian coach who helped turn UK Gymnastics into a powerhorse. He sheds light on the current Romanian situation. 

Tumblr blogger Aly126 translated the interview and wrote a summary of it.

He left because he felt the lack of flexibility in the Romanian system, as if it rejected any attempt to change things. The other Romanian coaches mocked him at the time for taking such a job, the British team being a very weak then.

When he got to the UK, he was given a car and the maps to all the gymnastics clubs and was asked to figure out in six months why Britain wasn’t delivering good results. He was given another six months to implement a new system.

The British coaches were cautious at first, but then agreed with him. He implemented the Romanian method, consisting of a lot of work and hard training sessions. The girls were very keep to learn. He says the British girls are very naturally talented and didn’t even need to work that hard, but still they did it because they wanted to. 

Slowly he started teaching other coaches how to train the gymnasts and results appeared. The team was on the 22nd place when he took over, now they’re third best in the World. That, however, took twenty years to achieve. 

After he got things going and the program started showing results, he realized he couldn’t train everyone and that the team needed specialized coaches. That was when he decided it was time for him to stop training gymnasts personally. Instead, he started coaching young coaches. This is what he’s doing today still.

He used a computer program through which he designed and animated each gymnastics element. The program helped him make routines, training schemes, etc. The FIG payed him 100.000 pounds for designing all skills for both MAG and WAG. When he was done with animating skills, he made a data base with all info about the athlete’s body, this being useful for coaches when they work with physiotherapists, so they can understand what’s goin on and to have nothing surprise them.

He is very proud when watching the British coaches and gymnasts because he knows he helped them get to where they are today, but however, he regrets he could not have helped the Romanians.

He never even dreamed he could bring the British team above the Romanian team.

He says people laugh about it, but the ‘gymnastics culture’ is developing in Britain. He’s not sure this is the case in Romania because there people are just used to get results without asking themselves is this possible anymore? He says the sport is very cutthroat and a lot of teams were expecting to see Romania struggle so they can attack and that’s what they did. 

He tried helping the Romanian team as much as he could but there was a ‘conflict of interests’. It doesn’t matter how much money he’s offered, he can’t accept it. 

He didn’t have much hope for the Romanian team to qualify. He says that unless they have better gyms, bigger salaries and a different mentality, there’s no reason to have big expectations. 

He thinks that if Romania doesn’t qualify, this will be a huge disaster and once fallen, he can’t see how Romania can ever get back up again. Despite Bitang’s efforts, the universities do not produce good coaches, there are no funds. He insists that it is Bitang who is carrying the team at Izvorani.

The Romanian team missed out on a place in the women's Olympic team event after a disappointing display at Rio's final qualifier, the test event. The Rio Olympics will be the first games not to feature the Romanian gymnastics team since 1968.

By Gigi Farid

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