[07.08/ updated 20,00 GMT]
Silvia Stroescu at Olympics!
Munteanu& Floarea stays, Silvia Stroescu goes to Athens
The team for Athens left the Romanian special Olympic camp with
a bus, Stroescu was seen in the team. In two hours, the plane for
Athens have left Bucharest with a happy Stroescu in the Olympic
This morning, coach Bitang have had a very strong, long conversation
with Munteanu (looking near a nervous breakdown, very disappointed
) and her parents, poor and ordinary citizens facing a very bad
situation for her girl: after so many hours of training, the dream
for Olympics has gone...
Also second coach of Olympic team, Mr.Forminte, was left home to
continue training in Bucharest with the other two girls left home.Until
the last moment, the coaches Bitang and Belu haven't decided the
place where they should continue training (Deva, Constanta or Athens),
but finally they left them train in Bucharest, considering they
have better conditions than in Athens.
At the depart of Olympic team from the Sport Hotel, scenes like
the ones from a soap opera could be seen: the girl who left crying
and being encouraged by the other team of crying girls-the one who
remain (Munteanu and Floarea Leonida). It was said by somebody which
have a broke heart seeing this scene, like everybody who have assisted,
that at least the other two girls could be taken to Athens anyway
to see the contest, as a reward for their hard work.
Mr.Belu and Mrs. Bitang have avoided "the tears (unpleasant)
moments" by departing earlier from hotel, they went at their
Bucharest apartment(s) to have last minutes bags checking's. At
the "tears moment" took part only Mr.Forminte (who was himself left
home, like at 2000 Olympics when his name was not recognized as
Olympic team coach of Simona Amanar, despite his good work), the
(old) lady which is the team doctor and some other sportsman which
prepares themselves to take other special buses for airport.
Coach Forminte, himself being visibly impressed
by girls solidarity, that "Well, at least maybe you start going
there crying and will return happy, with a lot of medals!".
The girls who were left were promised a two weeks trip at Black
Sea Coast by the coach Forminte, in a last moment solution to keep
their moral up (the Olympic team should have a psychologist anyway).
Is a very unique and very, very bad situation for the moral of the
Romanian Olympic team, never heard before such an important competition
By contrary, the U.S. Olympic Committee will provide
for each team member a
4-places (!) facility for the family members of each gymnast. For
Romania it was very easy to provide at least a fraction of this
support (one or two family member), since Greece is nearby Romania.
Of course, a lot of high Romanian officials (for Romanians people-it
seems to be even a "Oprisan"-name on the official, state-paid,
secret list with the delegation) will go to Athens, to "encourage"
the national teams, including important expenses (120.000 Euros,
around 150.000$) for a so-called "Romanian House"- a Ceausescu style
propaganda-supposed to be-place.
...In the meantime, even some key members of the most beloved sport
in Romania, gymnastics, are left in tears at home. Not to speak
about their parents, which never have had a chance to see their
children at a major, world-wide, competition-which bring Romania
a lot of (some time not deserved) publicity, for the hard work of
those heroic children (10 years of hard work before having a chance
to reach Olympics.
Nobody in Romania, including the press, don't have had the guts
to "disturb" Romanian Gymnastics Federation by asking why they can't
find or don't want to spend resources to bring at Athens the girls
left at home, maybe their parents? The expenses are not so important
for the Federation budget, one of the biggest in Romanian sport.
Also is said that tickets for gym events are far from being sold,
which meant the start up (mostly exxagerated) price of Euro 200
($250) for good seats will be, for sure, down at a more realistic
The Gymnastics Federation and Olympic Comitee have colected private
sponsorships from local and international companies, Romanian Televisions
advertising programs are full now with last minutes "supporters"
of Olympics and Gymnastcs, but nowbody cares about "details" like
taking girls families to Olympics, for moral support at least, if
not like a reward. But all these Romanian Officials are too busy
planning their own trips to Athens...
Today Mr.Tiriac, President of Romanian Olympic Committee,
(himself recently with a son facing criminal charges for drugs consuming
and traffic-a serious offense in Romania), was in Athens.
A special meeting of Olympic Committee have decided in favor of
a previous Mr.Tiriac decision (given according to Romanian Olympic
Committee Rules) to expel for life and not to admit in competition
at Athens few famous, world-records athletes. They have used in
past some banned substances but they have passed the suspension
terms-range requested (standard) by International Olympic Committee.
According to these world-wide rules, they could go to Athens and
Romanian Athletes Federation asked for such a permission. Mr Tiriac
went in person, with a private jet, to Athens to make his point
and win his case...against some of his own country medal-hopes for
Athletics. For a comparison, the U.S. Athletics Federation (according
to Discovery channel) does NOT provide any results of his own drug-tests
to International Federation.
Romanian newspapers have reported rumors that this "war" of Mr.
Tiriac is partly influenced by his own family drama (his son drugs-addiction
and involving in such affairs) and also by the fact that the former
President of Athletics Federation have competed against him for
Romanian Olympic Committee Presidency.Speaking at Romanian Television,
Mr. Tiriac have admitted that he have spend $15.000 for this Saturday
trip to Athens, to speak at the reunion. Maybe he can repeat this
gesture at Olympics final, to bring some family members of the Romanian
Gymnastics Team ?...
...Last evening, all the Romanian Olympic delegation was invited
at former Ceausescu's Palace, the 2nd largest building in the world
(after U.S. Pentagon), at the Official ceremony of presenting Olympic
delegation. Romanian President Iliescu and Prime Minister Nastase
were at ceremony along with Mr.Tiriac-President of Romanian Olympic
Committee. All of them-having speeches, signing on a giant poster
with the names of all members of Romanian delegation and making
pictures with the teams at each sport. Especially gymnastics is
considered to be on of President Iliescu favorite sports, he personally
being a supporter of coaches (Belu having a Presidential Order from
Iliescu, along with Gymnastics Federation President Vieru).
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Photo credits, top left:
Nadia Comaneci, the first 10 in gym history, Montreal 1976,©A.P.photo;
Romanian Team, Silver Medal at 2003 World Gymnastics Championships
Marius Urzica; Catalina Ponor, Star of 2004 Olympics