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[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 gymnastic team.

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 like Olympics.

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 level.

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

NOC        Total

 4  3  3  10

 2  6  1    9

 1  1  2    4

 1  0  2    3

 1  0  1    2

 1  0  1    2 
         Detailed medal count

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