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[24.09] Oana Ban retired from gymnastics

  Oana Ban, former member of Athens 2004 Romanian Gymnastics Olympics Team, has retired from gymnastics.

At the end of her floor exercise during team competition in Athens , she has accused strong pains from an older problem at her right leg. She didn't compete any more in all around and apparatus final contest at Olympics.

Back in Deva for training, Oana Ban has decided, after few days of training, that she can no longer continue with gymnastics.

Many Romanian Olympic champions have decided past few weeks to retire, partly because of their long careers ( Elisabeta Lipa, 4 times Olympic champion at kayak), partly because of their slim chances to be again (an successful) in the Beijing team.

One thing for sure, the "renta viagera" problem (the monthly revenue Romanian Olympic champions get, during the rest of their life, for their results), the subject which has pissed off many times Mrs. Bitang (she has publicly expressed her disagreement with this system, even after Athens, she says that girls are no longer motivated if they get so much money, so early), makes some girls retire early. Why? Because they can get those money only after they retire, not before (a stupid way of Romanian Olympic Committee, headed by many old people in their '60's and with the closed minds of '20's , of making savings, destroying motivation and chances for having long careers; if they just pay on spot the montly revenues, a lot of champions would continue their careers, hoping to get more results).

You must have in mind that most romanian gymnasts have poor families in their backgrounds to support, and the monthly pensions they can get, up to $ 1000, is a life-dream for any Romanian family. The monthly medium income is $150, with most prices being higher than in U.S., like car gas-3 times higher in Romania, food almost same prices, phone-2...4 times more expensive, only the rent being lower.

No big surprise for gymnastics insiders that, having to choose between taking high risks with her health (and, if will get seriously injured, being at Federation mercy...which mean almost being left alone, like in Marinescu case, Oana Petrovschi case or Andreea Chelaru...or any other similar case in the past), Oana Ban took the decision to preserve her chances to take care on her health, rather than pushing too much on her leg and risking being abandonee lately, if anything goes (really) wrong. It happens before, it happens almost all the time (unfortunately).

The "medical assistance"at Deva is formed by a retired doctor, the only one who did agree to came back (is the same doctor as Nadia have "used") and a medical assistant which know almost nothing about modern medical techniques, using latest technology to prevent bad situations ( modern technology is still hard to find anyway, in poor equipped Romanian hospitals).The RMN-magnetic resonance, the only way a case like Marinescu could be prevented, (the press scandal have bring this procedure into girls attention, otherwise many other Marinescu-like would be) was introduced only two years ago at Deva, and only when gymnasts like Mona Rosu have insisted to have it, they get it (checking the status of health using RMN to discover any hiding bone problems), otherwise local "doctor" does not recommend it to girls as a standard procedure.

Oana Ban have had received more medical assistance in Athens with the aid of...German Olympic team, their doctor having back in Olympic campus all equipment needed, including a mobile equipment for radiology (and a lot of knowledge). First days in Athens, the medical office was not even opened all the day, it was only few hours and closed too early, before gymnasts came back from training.

The medical assistance was not the strongest point of Romanian Gymnastics team anyway, since Nadia times, when they have asked girls to compete with more-than-minor problems, and...back to our days when they let them handle themselves the situation after they are no use (any more) for the Federation.

Ion Tiriac, President of Romanian Olympic Committee, have expressed repeatedly, past few months, before and after Athens competition, his wishes that "maybe there is the time that old people from Federations to retire and let the place clear for younger and open-minded people". He was referring to (and probably mostly) to Romanian Gymnastics Federation also, where President Vieru is the oldest federation president in Romania.
Mr. Tiriac statements were very unusual for Romania, which is still in the hands of former communists and their teammates who kept the country behind all former communists Eastern Europe countries, Romanian being the poorest and hopeless country in the region.

The "old guard" in gymnastics and their old methods (including no respect for girls problems, including their health), must come to an end.A good start would be putting at once both Oana Petrovschi and Andreea Chelaru under good, deserved, medical treatment, on the Federation expense. If they don't have enough budget, you can start, Mr. Tiriac and Mr.Balanculesu (head of National Conthrol Authority) by cheking some romanian press reports about some Federation employees wealth's (expensive cars, villas, high standard appearances ), very hard to get from their State-waged employees, but easy to understand from girls exploiting for years. That 30% cash tax, mafias-like, imposed on all girls revenues from abroad contests prizes, and for which Belu was blamed recently because he collected it, I bet it was directed mostly to others, but nobody have had the guts to dig more on subject.

Good luck, Oana! in your new life, and thanks from the botoom of our hearts for what you have done for the Gold Team!

I wish you could be in the Beijing team also, but I prefer to see you happy and healthy, maybe as a supporter in Beijing, rather than in a wheel chair, no help from Romanian Gymnastics Federation or Romanian Olympic Comitee to solve the medical problems (difficult operation which may help her walk again), like Andreea Chelaru now.When you arrive with medals, everybody surround you (especially political leaders, but romanian, State-controlled 99% media also), but when you have troubles, they run away, as far as they can.
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