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Romania at the Olympic Games

Los Angeles 1984, the Games with the largest number of medals for Romania

Photo: pixabay.com
Photo: pixabay.com

, 16.05.2024, 13:45

 

Romania was in the Olympics elites for many years. Between 1976 and 1988, more to the point in the Olympic Games in Montreal and Seoul, the Romanian delegation was among the top ten teams in the world in terms of medals. The best games in terms of medals, though, were those in Los Angeles in 1984, in which Romania came in second by number of medals, namely 53, of which 20 gold, 16 silver, and 17 bronze, right behind the top team, the United States.

 

The 1984 Olympic Games were boycotted by several countries from the Communist bloc. The Soviet Union announced its decision to opt out of the games on May 8, 1984, followed by Bulgaria and East Germany on May 10, then by almost all satellite states. Romania was the only country in the Soviet sphere of influence to refuse the boycott. As a result, the Romanian athletes gained a lot of sympathy among the sports fans attending the Games.

 

Without a doubt, the number one athlete in the Romanian delegation in Los Angeles was the gymnast Ecaterina Szabo. She won four gold and one bronze medal. Since no Soviet athletes were present, she was considered already a favourite in the competition. She missed winning the top Olympic title, though, because she took a fall in the beam event. She got her groove back at the finals winning three gold medals in the vault, floor, and beam events. In the last event, she tied with another Romanian gymnast, Simona Pauca. At the same time, her contribution was decisive to Romania’s victory.

 

Another discipline where Romania shined was rowing. With 6 gold and 2 silver medals, the Romanian team dominated the competition. It was the edition in which Elisabeta Lipa, one of the world’s greatest rowers, won her first Olympic gold medal, next to Marioara Popescu. Lipa went on to win four more gold medals in future editions.

 

Romanian athletics also had its best results ever in Los Angeles. Thanks to the three gold medals won by Maricica Puica in the 3,000 m race, by Doina Melinte in the 800 m race, and by Anisoara Cusmir in the long jump event, Romania came in fourth in the world.

 

We should also note that Los Angeles 1984 is the last edition attended by Ivan Patzaichin, the greatest Romanian canoeist in history. Next to Toma Simionov, he came in first in the 1000 m double canoe event. In his career, Patzaichin won 4 gold Olympic medals, in the 5 editions he took part in, between 1968 and 1984. (C. Cotoiu)

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