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 main coach Dan Grecu
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Catalina Ponor
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  Oana Ban   
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  Andreea Munteanu
 Main coach: Octavian Belu
 
coach Mariana Bitang
 coach Nicolae Forminte
 
coach Lucian Sandu


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   Maria Dragulescu
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  Dan Potra
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  Daniel Popescu

 Main coach: Dan Grecu



 Romanian Gymnastics Bios
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Romanian gymnastics Stars:

  
Cristina Bontas Tantaru- EXCLUSIVE interview

with photos by Andreea Luca / Canada
and from Cristina's personal collection


Career

Q: Is it harder to work as coach than it was to be a gymnast?
Cristina Bontas-Tantaru: I have to admit that it is harder to be coach than a gymnast, but you have a greater satisfaction when you go to a competition and you know the gymnasts represent the Club and your work.


Q: Do you have plans for your club gymnasts to reach the Olympics?
Cristina Bontas : We have some 8 and 9 years old children which are very talented and which are on the right way to the top performance.But the way is soo long that we have to enjoy our present work and their results year after year.

Q: Are you still in touch with former team members?
Cristina Bontas : I try to be in touch with most of my former colleagues; I know where are most of them and we do send emails to each other. My best friend now is Celestina Popa which is in Vancouver, Canada; despite being at five hours fly distance, we are very good friends.Vanda Hadarean is also in Canada; she is the Canada's fitness National Champion.


About Romania and Romanian gymnastics


Q: Do you follow the news from Romania?
Cristina Bontas : We do check the Romanian TV news over the Net daily, and we keep ourselves informed about latest news from Romania.

Q: What do you think is missing in Romanian gymnastics, or what should be improved?

Cristina Bontas : I think Romanian gymnastics needs to rewards better the coaches for their work; I mean, starting with local club coaches, up to the National team; for the moment, from what I've heard, only the coaches from the national team are rewarded and this is why each coach try to find a better life abroad.
[romanian-gymnastics.com: at this moment, only the head coach from National team gets a lousy $500 "bonus", the other coaches gets nothing extra than $200 salaries. The Romanian Olympic Committee has rewarded the former head coaches(B&B) with $6.000 each and $500-$800 the other coaches who worked with them. Now they want same results by paying nothing]

Q: Does people (still) ask you about Romania?

Cristina Bontas It's normal that anybody who came in the gym hall and know about you, a Romanian, being present there, to ask you about Nadia Comaneci.

Q: If you will be asked, would you come to attend (as special guest and to hand over the medals) at Romanian International Championships or Nationals?
Cristina Bontas : I would be much honored to come at Ploiesti or at any Romanian contest. I'm proud for what I have achieved for the Romanian gymnastics and the memory will last a lifetime.

Q: What advice would you give to Romanian coaches, now that you have the coaching (in West) experience?
Cristina Bontas  : The Canadian system is so different from the Romanian one ...I can't give much advises to the club managers in Romania. Here, in Canada, children do gymnastics mostly for fun and we select a small part of them for performance training.We have many levels and this way we keep children happy and the opportunities for us to make also a good business is greater [than in Romania]. 

Q: Your opinion about the Romanian gymnastics ?
Cristina Bontas : I think what the Romanian gymnastics needs now is to have coaches which can be properly rewarded for their work. I'm referring to those coaches which train girls from their first steps ("Small gymnast" category in Romania) up to the national Team. For the moment, only those from the national team are properly rewarded [having decent salaries] so this is why everybody is trying to make a better life abroad.

 The family
Photo: Godfathers- Cristina and husband Gabi with daughter Elissa (Oct 2005)









Q: How did you met your husband?
Cristina Bontas :
I've met my husband at the Sport University in Bacau; he was a former judo player in Onesti.
Photo left: husband Gabi Tataru, daughter Elissa (7 years old), son Eric (4 years old) and Cristina.







Q: Is it good or hard (or both) to work together as gym coaches?

Cristina Bontas :
We make a perfect couple in the day to day life and in gym hall, too. Working together is easier to share our working ideas, experience.
Q: What Romanian soccer team does your husband support?
Cristina Bontas :
He is a Dinamo soccer team fan.
Q: Does your girl like gymnastics?

Cristina Bontas : Elissa just made seven years last week and she is doing gymnastics at the smallest category. I'm not teaching her, but she loves gymnastics a lot. She looks exactly as me when I have started gymnastics at seven years old.







Advises from a Romanian Gymnastics Star
Q:
Do you have an advice for parents who may think about sending their children to gymnastics?
Cristina Bontas :
The gymnastics system is so different here in Canada than the Romanian one (I left). When I was a child in Romania, all girls use to want "to become like Nadia". This was my goal, too, and this is why my parents send me to gymnastics (and after I broke two beds with my jumps...:-).
Since I am myself a parent now I can realize myself how much means to have an athletic child. Gymnastics is such a complete sport (coordination, flexibility, force and many more) that you can't regret doing it, even if you don't reach the top levels.

Q: Your advice for the girls which may think about going to gymnastics?
Cristina Bontas :
I can only advice them to think what I've been thinking back then: Dream and hope to become "Nadia-alike" ; if you work hard, this dream may come true; if it didn't, you can still enjoy many beautiful moments!

Q: What advises would you give to the girls from National Team?
Cristina Bontas :
I wish them as much understanding between each other as possible, and to trust the coaches. I know that many things have changes both at National Team and the technical team, but if the girls truly want to keep the Romanian gymnastics at the high level as it was until now, they must be realistic and admit that only with some sacrifices and their hard work they can reach that level.

Q: We want to encourage the Romanian gymnasts from the new generation to use the expertise of the girls from the "Golden Age" of Romanian gymnastics. Each time we make such an interview, we use a question from a team member.
Sandra Izbasa, the actual team leader, have asked you: "When you compete at biggest events, how did you make to keep yourself away from emotions? Especially at the Balance Beam, to avoid "shaking"?
Cristina Bontas : I have had myself a lot of emotions when I use to compete; I was and I'm still a very emotional person. At some contests I use to take a small piece of thread and slowly chewing it during the exercise. Also at all contests I use to speak to...myself about what I have to do; I am pretty sure this is common in gymnastics because they (coaches) teaches us to do this.

romanian-gymnastics.com: Thank you for answering our questions, all the best to your family and Good Luck in your coaching career!


Romanian gymnastics fan and Cristina's Best Fan, Andreea Luca, posing with Cristina and her daughter Elissa during a Christmas party - 2005.





 Cristina Bontas ...The Godmother and one of her biggest fan, Andreea Luca.

More photos with Cristina, in our Romanian gymnastics Photo Gallery






Cristina family album





Romanian Gymnastics News Archive.

  
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