Simona Amânar

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Simona Amânar
Full nameSimona Amânar
Nickname(s)Simi
Country representedFlag of Romania.svg  Romania
Born (1979-10-07) October 7, 1979 (age 39)
Constanța, Romania
Height158 cm (5 ft 2 in)
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
LevelSenior International
GymDeva National Training Center
Head coach(es) Octavian Bellu
Assistant coach(es) Mariana Bitang
Eponymous skills Amanar (vault)
Retired2000

Simona Amânar (Romanian pronunciation:  [siˈmona amɨˈnar] ; born October 7, 1979) is a Romanian former artistic gymnast. She is a seven-time Olympic and ten-time World Championship medalist. Amânar helped Romania win four consecutive world team titles (1994–1999), as well as the 2000 Olympic team title. She is also the 2000 Olympic all-around champion. She has a vault named after her, one of the most difficult in women's gymnastics, and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2007. [1]

Romania Sovereign state in Europe

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.

Artistic gymnastics is a discipline of gymnastics in which athletes perform short routines on different apparatuses, with less time for vaulting. The sport is governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), which designs the code of points and regulates all aspects of international elite competition. Within individual countries, gymnastics is regulated by national federations, such as Gymnastics Canada, British Gymnastics, and USA Gymnastics. Artistic gymnastics is a popular spectator sport at many competitions, including the Summer Olympic Games.

The Artistic Gymnastics World Championships are the world championships for artistic gymnastics governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG). The first edition of the championship was held in 1903, exclusively for male gymnasts. Since the tenth edition of the tournament, in 1934, women's events are held together with men's events. As of 2017, over sixty different editions of the championships have been staged, and over forty different countries have earned medals in both men's and women's artistic gymnastics events. The most successful nation, both in gold medal results and total number of medals, is Soviet Union. China is the second most successful country in total medals earned, and Japan is the third most successful nation at the championships. Russia, Romania, and the United States are also usually among the most dominant nations, especially in women's artistic gymnastics events. Currently, the championship is held annually on non-Olympic years.

Contents

Career

1994–1995

In 1994, her first year on the senior national team, Amânar contributed to Romania's team titles at the World and European Championships.

The 1994 World Artistic Gymnastics Team Championships were held in Dortmund, Germany from 15–20 November 1994.

The European Women's Gymnastics Championships are an artistic gymnastics championships for female gymnasts from European countries organised by the European Union of Gymnastics. They are held annually, though rotate between two different formats.

Amânar began to excel as an individual performer at the 1995 European Cup, placing second in the all-around behind Svetlana Khorkina of Russia and winning gold on both vault and floor exercise. At the 1995 World Championships, she helped Romania secure its second consecutive world team title and became co-champion on vault (with all-around winner Lilia Podkopayeva of Ukraine). Amânar's powerful floor routine and vaults put her in the lead after two rotations in the all-around, but she dropped to fourth after an average uneven bars routine and a shaky balance beam routine.

Svetlana Khorkina Russian artistic gymnast

Svetlana Vasilyevna Khorkina is a retired Russian artistic gymnast. She competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the 2004 Summer Olympics. During her career, Khorkina won seven Olympic medals and twenty World Championship medals. She medaled in every event and was the first gymnast to win three all-around titles at the World Championships. Svetlana Khorkina is one of the most successful female gymnasts of all time.

Vault (gymnastics) gymnastics apparatus; skill

The vault is an artistic gymnastics apparatus on which gymnasts perform, as well as the skill performed using that apparatus. Vaulting is also the action of performing a vault. Both male and female gymnasts perform the vault. The English abbreviation for the event in gymnastics scoring is VT

Floor (gymnastics) event in gymnastics performed on a specially prepared exercise surface

In gymnastics, the floor refers to a specially prepared exercise surface, which is considered an apparatus. It is used by both male and female gymnasts. The event in gymnastics performed on floor is called floor exercise. The English abbreviation for the event in gymnastics scoring is FX.

1996

Amânar won a silver medal on vault at the 1996 World Championships, behind teammate Gina Gogean and ahead of Cuba's Annia Portuondo-Hatch.

The Artistic Gymnastics World Championships were held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1996.

Gina Gogean gymnast

Gina Elena Gogean is a retired artistic gymnast from Romania who competed internationally in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. During her career she won an impressive number of 30 medals at Olympic Games, world championships or continental championships. Her best events were the floor exercise, the vault and the balance beam. She was also an excellent all around gymnast winning several medals on this event, the European title in 1994, a silver Olympic medal (1996) and a silver medal at the 1993 World Championships. She helped the Romanian team win three consecutive world titles and two Olympic team medals, a silver and a bronze. Gogean was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2013. Criticized for her lack of artistry and expression, Gogean nonetheless had nearly unmatched consistency, longevity and efficiency that made her a backbone of the Romanian team in the 1990s.

Annia Portuondo Hatch is a Cuban-American artistic gymnast who competed for the United States at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

At the 1996 Summer Olympics, Amânar was one of the front-runners for several individual medals, but her Olympics started inauspiciously when she fell off the beam during the compulsories. Though she later posted the highest all-around score in the optionals (39.387, her lowest score being a 9.800 on the balance beam), her combined compulsory and optionals scores put her fourth among her teammates, and she did not qualify for the final. [2] However, in a scenario similar to the Unified Team's substitution of Tatiana Gutsu for Rozalia Galiyeva at the 1992 Olympics, [3] Amânar replaced her teammate Alexandra Marinescu in the all-around final. [2] The Romanian head coach, Octavian Bellu, said that Amânar deserved to compete because she had worked harder and was a better athlete than Marinescu. Amânar ended up sharing the bronze medal with teammate Lavinia Miloşovici, behind Gogean. [2]

1996 Summer Olympics Games of the XXVI Olympiad, in Atlanta

The 1996 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad, commonly known as Atlanta 1996, and also referred to as the Centennial Olympic Games, were an international multi-sport event that was held from July 19 to August 4, 1996, in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. These Games, which were the fourth Summer Olympics to be hosted by the United States, marked the centenary of the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens—the inaugural edition of the modern Olympic Games. They were also the first since 1924 to be held in a different year from a Winter Olympics, under a new IOC practice implemented in 1994 to hold the Summer and Winter Games in alternating, even-numbered years.

Unified Team at the Olympics sports team

The Unified Team was the name used for the sports team of the former Soviet Union (except the Baltic states) at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The IOC country code was EUN, after the French name, Équipe unifiée. The Unified Team was sometimes informally called the CIS Team, although Georgia did not join the CIS until 1993.

Tatiana Gutsu is a former artistic gymnast from the Soviet Union and the winner of the all-around title at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Renowned as a trickster, she performed some of the most difficult routines in the sport.

In both the 1996 Olympic all-around and the 1995 World Championships all-around, Amânar failed to score over 9.800 on the floor exercise despite well-executed and difficult tumbling. In the Olympics, she scored a 9.887 in the team optionals (the highest score of the entire Olympics on any event, for men or women), but only a 9.737 in the all-around. She did not start from a 10.0 in the all-around—despite having the most tumbling bonus points of anyone at the Games—because her tour jeté half-turn (Strug), a C element, was not completed. Thus, she did not have enough simple A, B, and C skills, and much of her D- and E-rated tumbling had to count as easier elements to fulfill those requirements. Amânar did not perform a double turn in the team optionals or the all-around because it was not necessary as long as she completed her Strug. However, when she failed to complete the Strug, four of her six tenths in D and E elements had to count toward requirements, which left her with only .2 counting toward her bonus. Without the error, Amânar would have finished ahead of Gogean and Miloşovici.

Kerri Allyson Strug Fischer is an American retired gymnast from Tucson, Arizona. She was a member of the Magnificent Seven, the victorious all-around women's gymnastics team that represented the United States at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and is best remembered for performing the vault despite having injured her ankle and for subsequently being carried to the podium by her coach, Béla Károlyi.

In the event finals, Amânar completed her Strug and added a double turn to fulfill the more stringent Competition III requirements. She earned a 9.850 and the silver medal, behind Podkopayeva and just ahead of Dominique Dawes of the United States. She won the vault final the day before, largely because of her 9.875 score for her double-twisting Yurchenko vault. [4] She left the 1996 Olympics with four medals, including Romania's team bronze. [5]

1997–1999

Romania won its third straight team title at the 1997 World Championships. Amânar again replaced a higher-scoring Marinescu in the all-around competition and won the silver medal behind Russia's Khorkina, followed by a gold medal on vault.

In the 1999 World Championships, Amânar led the Romanian team to a fourth consecutive title (there was no Worlds competition in 1998). However, she fell off the bars during the all-around and placed well out of the medals. She also lost her vaulting title to Russia's Elena Zamolodchikova, who dominated that event in the following years due to a more difficult second vault: a double-twisting Tsukahara. Amânar won her only medal of the competition on the floor, taking home the silver behind teammate Andreea Răducan.

2000

At the 2000 Summer Olympics, the Romanians edged out the Russians to take the team title—their first since 1984 and their first ever in a non-boycotted Olympics. [6]

In the all-around, the vaulting horse was set too low by the Olympic organizers, and the favorite for the title, Svetlana Khorkina, fell on her signature vault. [7] Several other gymnasts fell or stumbled because of the same problem. Many went on to make mistakes on their next event, knowing their medal chances were gone, only to be informed later of the error and their chance to vault again. [7] [8] The three Romanian women either managed to perform well on the faulty vault or vaulted after the mistake had been corrected. They swept the medals, with Răducan winning the gold, Amânar the silver, and Maria Olaru the bronze. [9]

Răducan was subsequently found to have used a cold medicine containing a banned substance. Although her results in other events were allowed to stand, she was stripped of her all-around gold medal, which went to Amânar. [10] [11] Initially, Amânar refused to accept the medal, insisting that Răducan had rightfully earned the title. Olaru took the same stance when the silver was awarded to her. [12] However, they eventually reconsidered and decided to bring the medals home to Romania as symbolic victories of the country. [13] Amânar continued to insist, however, that Răducan was the true Olympic all-around champion. [14] Through her win in the all-around, Amânar became and remains the only gymnast in history to medal twice in the all-around and better her result in her second attempt.

In the event finals, Amânar had the opportunity to defend her Olympic vault title from four years earlier. However, she stumbled badly while debuting a new vault (a 212 twisting laid-out Yurchenko, which was then named after her), and did not win a medal. She went on to win bronze on floor exercise after losing points for a step out of bounds on her last tumbling pass.

Legacy

Amânar ranks highly (117th) on the list of most medal gymnasts in the world, with 10 World and 7 Olympic medals. [15] She played a large role in the four consecutive World team titles and Olympic title that established Romania as the top-ranked women's gymnastics team in the world.

The Amanar vault [16] involves a round-off entry onto the vaulting table followed by a laid-out salto with 212 twists. Amânar first competed this skill at the 2000 Olympics. It has a difficulty score of 6.5, 6.3 and 5.8 in the women's 2009–2012, 2013–2016 and 2017–2020 Code of Points.

Post-retirement

Amânar retired in 2000, shortly after the Olympic Games. She married Cosmin Tabără, a lawyer, on March 9, 2002, in Timişoara, and gave birth to a son, Alexandru Iosif, five months later. She is the vice president of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation.

Competitive history

YearEventAATeam VT UB BB FX
1993China Cup3rd
Romanian Nationals5th2nd3rd
1994American Cup9th
European Championships 1st
GBR-ROM Dual Meet3rd1st
International Mixed Pairs6th
Massilia Elite5th2nd
USA-ROM Dual Meet7th1st
Team World Championships 1st
1995European Cup2nd1st5th3rd1st
FRA-ROM Dual Meet2nd1st
French International3rd3rd5th
GBR-ROM Dual Meet3rd1st
Kosice Cup2nd2nd2nd
ROM-GER Dual Meet3rd1st
Romanian Nationals2nd
World Championships 4th1st1st6th
1996 European Championships 4th1st1st1st7th
French International3rd5th
Hungarian International1st
ITA-BLR-ROM-RUS Meet2nd
International Championships of Romania1st
World Championships 2nd
Olympic Games 3rd3rd1st5th2nd
1997
World Championships 2nd1st1st
Chunichi Cup2nd
Blume Memorial2nd
DTB Cup1st6th3rd
Arthur Gander Memorial1st
1998 European Championships 2nd1st2nd
Chunichi Cup6th
DTB Cup1st2nd1st2nd
Romanian International1st2nd1st1st
Swiss Cup3rd2nd2nd3rd
1999
World Championships 14th1st2nd2nd
Chunichi Cup2nd
Arthur Gander Memorial2nd
Romanian International1st1st2nd1st1st
International Mixed Pairs1st1st
2000 European Championships 8th3rd1st2nd5th
Olympic Games 1st1st6th3rd
Chunichi Cup1st
Cottbus World Cup2nd7th2nd
Romanian International2nd
National Championships1st

See also

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References

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