For the lovers of sport, the year 2020 was quite uneventful, competition-wise. Some of the events were cancelled while others were rescheduled, as the sanitary crisis had a strong bearing on the competition schedule. Notwithstanding, many of the Romanian athletes' results were way above par, especially in the European championships. Whether we speak about rowing, shooting sports or gymnastics, Romania's anthem could be heard again, and more than once. The year's most remarkable feat was provided by women's gymnastics as Larisa Iordache is still fresh from the recently-held European championships hosted by the Turkish city of Mersin. Larisa walked home with two gold medals she won in the beam and floor and two silver medals, one in the vault event and one in the nations' competition. Reason enough for Radio Romania International to designate Larisa the Athlete of the year in 2020.
Larisa Iordache secured her comeback in top-flight competition after the three-year break she needed because of a series of surgical operations Larisa underwent in the wake of an Achillean tendon rupture. Against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, as she was signed up by the Dinamo Sports Club and since she was an officer with the Internal Affairs Ministry, this past spring Larisa Iordache was employed by the Ministry in her official capacity, joining other athletes as part of the authorities' enforcement operations regarding the executive orders issued for this past spring's lockdown. Larisa Iordache then resumed training, strictly observing the timetable coaches set for her, so that Larisa could meet her set target in 2020, participation in the European championships hosted by the city of Mersin, Turkey.
In the European championships, Larisa was the star of the competition. After the qualifiers, she secured her participation in all four apparatus pieces finals. Larisa Iordache also contributed to the silver medal Romania won in the nations' competition. In the apparatus pieces finals, Larisa first won the silver medal in the vault event. In the beam event, Larisa was way above her challengers. However, in the floor event, the gold medal went to Larisa Iordache as the result of the judges' assessment being contested. Before Larisa proved her mettle in the competition, Turkey's Göksu Üçtaş was the top performer, with 13,100 points. Larisa's execution was more difficult and her performance was better, yet the Romanian came in 2nd, with 50 thousandths points less than Üçtaş. Double-check revealed that the difficulty score algorithm for Larisa's execution was flawed from the beginning, so the Romanian got 13, 450 points and stepped onto the first step of the podium.
Larisa Iordache was born on 19 June, 1996 in Bucharest. She took up high-level performance gymnastics with the Cetate Deva National Sports College. Then Larisa was officially included in Romania's Olympic pool of regulars. She made her debut in the top-level seniors' contest in 2012 when she won three medals in the European Championships, gold in the floor event and in the nations' competition and silver in the beam event. In the London Olympics Larisa Iordache won silver in the nations' competition. In 2013, at the European Championships in Moscow, Larisa won gold in the beam event, while in the all-around event she won silver in beam and floor. Also in 2013, in the World Championships held in Anvers, Larisa Iordache walked away with bronze in the floor event. In 2014 she won gold in the European Championships in Sofia, in the beam event and in the nations' competition. Larisa also won silver in the beam event and bronze in the vault event. Larisa Iordache's blazing trail includes the silver medal she won in in Nanning, in the all-around and beam events, also in 2014, while in 2015, in the World Championships in Glasgow, Larisa walked away with the bronze medal she won in the all-around event. 2016 was not that fruitful for Larisa Iordache because she sustained an injury. She secured her comeback in 2017, when she won bronze in the beam event as part of the European Championships held in Romania's Cluj. Larisa Iordache won gold in the all-around and floor events in the World University Games held in Taipei.
Larisa Iordache's set target for the next period is getting through to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Larisa can book her ticket for Japan at the European individual championships scheduled for April 2021 and hosted by the city of Basel in Switzerland.
(Translation by Eugen Nasta)