Romania at the Olympic games

romania at the olympic games Romanian gymnastics, then and now

Romania was one of the countries where gymnastics has had a long-standing history. In the United Principalities capital city, in 1867, a couple of Saxon merchants hailing from Sibiu and Brasov initiated the Bukarester Turnverein Society, the Gymnastics Association of Bucharest. The Romanian Central Arms, Gymnastics and Target Shooting Society was founded in 1876 by Professors Gheorghe Moceanu and Constantin Constantiniu. The latter body played a key role in the promotion of physical education and sports. Periodically, the Society organized contests at local and national level. In the school curricula, gymnastics was included as a discipline also beginning the 19th century. Gymnastics was a compulsory subject in quite a few educational institutions countrywide. At competitional level, Romanian gymnastics had its representatives for the first time at the 1936 edition of the Olympic games in Berlin. Ever since, Romanian gymnasts have been a regular presence at the Olympics, save for the 1948 edition of the games, held in London.

As an absolute first, Romanian gymnasts walked home with medals in 1956, at the Olympic games in Melbourne. Back then Elena Leustean won the bronze medal in the floor event; also bronze went to the Romanian women's team, in the nations competition. Romanian gymnastics' blazing trail actually began two decades later, with Nadia Comaneci. For the first time ever in the history of artistic gymnastics, on July 18, 1976, at the Olympic games in Montreal, Nadia Comaneci got a 10, with an uneven parallel bars exercise. Back in the day her performance was impressive thanks to its minuteness and force; the exercise is still a model for today's gymnasts. At that time it was the best exercise ever to have been performed, reason enough for the referees to admit its perfection. It was one of the memorable moments in the history of artistic gymnastics. After the Montreal edition of the Olympics, gymnastics enjoyed the widest audience for each of the following editions of the Olympic games. According to the collective mindset, Nadia is still the greatest gymnast of all time. Nadia Comaneci was the role model for hundreds of thousands of little girls all over the world, who took up gymnastics at a professional level.

45 years on, Romanian gymnastics has been experiencing a large-scale crisis. We recall that ahead of the 2016 edition of the Olympic Games in Rio, no Romanian gymnastics team qualified for the women's or the men's version of the games. Romanian gymnastics' dismal run is the same ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Only three Romanian gymnasts will compete in Japan. Marian Dragulescu will prove his mettle in the men's vault event. Joining him will be Larisa Iordache and Maria Holbura, in the women's all-around event. One of the veterans in the Olympics, 40 year-old Dragulescu is most likely to walk away with a medal. Dragulescu's record is outstanding. In the Athens Olympics in 2004, Marian Dragulescu won one silver and two bronze medals. In the World Championships, Dragulescu won eight gold and two silver medals. Dragulescu won eighteen medals in European Championships, of which ten were gold, six silver and two bronze medals. The only medal that is missing is an Olympic gold medal. Marian Dragulescu was designated the best athlete of the year in 2005 and 2009. In the vault event, an exercise bears Dragulescu's name.

(Translated by Eugen Nasta)
Publicat: 2021-07-21 13:45:00
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