Belu & Bitang at Deva,
guests of the best* Romanian TV
A small room, inside girls mini-hotel, serve
as a classroom. The teacher come inside the girls building
to teach their classes.At
this moment, there were only seven girls, but in past years
were sometime more, even 15.
It is what was called before (up to 1940) in
Romania "Royal Classes", (or mixed) because girls
from different years learns in same room.
Belu said that girls are given all regular
school staff, less the sport classes. "Those who want
to learn, learn"-says Octavian
Belu."They have to learn in few
weeks as much as children learn in few months at a standard
Belu consider himself (or rather say,
he admit as being) a product of the communist, over-centralied
system which, at least in gymnastics, have proved to be the
most reliable. "For specific conditions in Romania, it
was a good decision to keep this system working.
It couldn't be done in other way. For example, we do not have
proper training conditions-at Olympic levels- at many clubs
around the country. The equipment is expensive and they change
it almost after each Olympics, so this can be a major investment
clubs can not afford".
"We have at Deva the most devoted children
from around the country, which can find here all the necessary
conditions for training and achieve the highest level"says
The program was filmed in a Sunday, just after
the girls have returned from summer holidays (Oana Ban was
still there and could be seen in the show). The reporter ask
how came the girls work on Sunday. B&B said girls just
make some stretching exercises to regain their mobility.
The reporter asked about Octavian
Belu's medals total."I didn't make
any total yet, such things are done after you retire. Maybe
then, I will write my memories and make the total." On
the screen, the TV station says that Belu have earned 39 Olympics
medals (16 of them were Gold medals).
Bitang, the Belu's secondary
coaches, helped him to gain 16 Olympics team at last 3 editions
"When everything works well, everybody
is close to you (she mean them-the coaches), but when we have
had some hard times...there were few to back us", says
"The rumors about China (the coaches
going there) were inventions, but they may become true any
moment, since China have started to bring many coaches there
(including Romanians, but for other sports). They want to
get as many medals at the 2008 Olympics. We do have had offers,
from other countries."-Mariana
"It ss difficult in gymnastics because
no matter you may be the best coach in the world, the girls
on the apparatus will decide if you will get congratulations
or be criticized. When the girl compete, you can't do more
to help her, everything is in her hands. Unfortunately, sometime
you can be a victim of "back stage games", like
in man's gymnastics competition at Athens"-says Belu.
What about their earnings? Only past two years
they have had received " Exceptional stipends",
from Romanian Olympic Comitee. Mariana
Bitang have admitted her cash
monthly bonus was $800 (and she also have had a regular $150
salary from her Club), but Belu didn't said much about. Press
have reported a $1000 figure for him.
Bitang has reminded the after
Sydney (Olympics 2000) moment, when the coaches get some very
ow cash prizes, like 1/2 (half) from what a single girl from
the team get. Belu said he didn't like when when a newspaper
have made the total for him and reported a $100,000 during
his career. There was no question from the reporter regarding
the 30% ("private") tax imposed by Octavian
Belu and Mariana
Bitang at Deva. Our sources have
confirmed that this tax (imposed only on prizes from paid-contests
and gym demonstrations, not on state-awarded prizes) is still
enforced at Deva.
"In Romania, the basic rules to achieve
top levels in sport are not understand properly" (as
in the West)-says Bitang."Each gymnast should know some
basic things, when she enter the team door. We are still accused
of some things which are basic to follow, when you are involved
into top performance"-Mariana
Regarding politics and Octavian
Belu being involved in it, he said "I
do consider that each one of us should do and stay where we
have skills and can do at our best, not anything else".
Octavian Belu was, past few months,
under a strong influence from the ruling "psd" Romanian
party, to get involved into politics.Predicting another (1996-alike)
disaster at ending November election, (losing them) the ruling
party already managed to involve the coach of national soccer
team (Iordanescu) to be a member of their party. This get
into a media scandal and a lot of negative coverage under
the soccer coach. Octavian
Belu seems trying to resist the pressures
and avoid ending his career with (another) scandal (this time,
one which brings no good after-Car or montly income).
the long-disputed "renta viagera" (the lifelong
pension which girls receive after they retire), Octavian
Belu said "this pension was initiated
by us" and Mariana
Bitang added the basic idea was
"to give a support to former champions which have medical
or other problems, to provide them a basic life-confort."
At this moment, the pension is seen as having a "bad
effect into gymnastics. If the girl knows she have a basic
(but relatively high for Romanian standards, the pension being
calculated as three or 3.5 times higher than the minimum official
income) provided for life, she choose to retire early and
not to work so hard any more.
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Romanian Gymnastics News Archive.