Gina Gogean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gina Gogean
— Gymnast —
Country represented  Romania
Born (1977-09-09) September 9, 1977 (age 37)
Câmpuri, Vrancea, Romania
Height 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m)
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Head coach(es) Octavian Bellu

Gina Gogean (born September 9, 1977) is a retired 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 (three-time world champion), the vault (two-time world champion) and the balance beam (1997 world champion). 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 (1994, 1995 and 1997) and two Olympic team medals, a silver and a bronze (1992 and 1996). Gogean was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2013. Criticized for her lack of artistry, expression and daring, Gogean nonetheless had nearly unmatched consistency, longevity and efficiency that made her a backbone of the Romanian team in the 1990s.

Early life and career[edit]

Gogean was born Câmpuri, Vrancea County, Romania. During her career, she competed under a passport that listed her birth year as 1977. However, in 2002 the Romanian newspaper ProSport obtained hospital records indicating that she had actually been born in 1978. Gogean and her mother have denied this, and her official birth year is still listed as 1977 or "unknown" in many sources. [1] Gogean initially trained at CSS Focşani, near her home village, under the tutelage of Sergiu and Tatiana Popa. She made her international debut at the Japan Junior International meet in 1989, where she placed fourth in the all-around and took the gold medal on floor exercise.

Senior career[edit]

By 1990, Gogean was representing Romania at major meets such as the Goodwill Games. She began to make a name for herself at the 1992 European Championships where she finished 2nd all-around and vault. She also won the floor exercise. Crowds and analysts were impressed with the young athlete's exceptional difficulty. She was equally impressive at 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. The youngest member of the experienced Romanian team, Gina put up some of the highest scores for her team throughout the compulsories and optionals. She won a team silver, finished 6th in the all-around, and was 5th on vault. Though her teammate and close friend Lavinia Miloşovici was one of the stars of the Olympics, Gina nonetheless had established herself as a gymnast to watch for in the future.

In a sport where athletes are constantly fighting the battle of time as well as their maturing bodies, Gina continued to be one of the top gymnasts in the world each year after the Olympics. She was criticized for her lack of artistry in her gymnastics (particularly her post-1992 routines), and her stoic demeanor. Nevertheless, each year her gymnastics continually showed improvement from the year prior and her results reflected that. She finished a close 2nd in the all-around behind rival Shannon Miller at the 1993 World Championships. Though she did not medal in the all-around the following year, she became the World Champion on vault, and won a bronze on floor. She also became the European All-Around champion that year, and played a critical role in helping the Romanian team win the 1994 Team World Championship—the country's first since 1987. Gina suffered a fall in the qualifying rounds of this competition while attempting a back handspring-layout-back handspring combination on beam. Her foot slipped off the side and the back of her head slammed into the beam before she crashed to the floor. Miraculously, she suffered no injury, and only took an extra moment to collect herself before jumping back up on the beam.

Though Gina struggled in major all-around competition through 1995 and 1996, her gymnastics continued to improve and she won more individual event World titles. At the 1995 World Championships, she helped the Romanians win their second team title, and went on to win the bronze on vault and the gold on floor. She added two more golds to her haul at the 1996 World Championships on vault and floor. Going into the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Romanians were the favorites to win team gold. However, the Romanian team had several injuries, was under manned during the team portion and had a very lackluster performance in both compulsories and optionals. The end result was a disappointing 3rd. Gina, however, had a strong performance during the all-around and won the silver medal behind Lilia Podkopayeva of Ukraine. She also won two more bronze medals on the vault and beam. Her bronze medal on the balance beam was very controversial due to Russia's Dina Kotchetkova performing more difficulty but finishing lower than Gogean. This would repeat itself again a year later at the World Championships, when some think China's Kui Yuanyuan out performed Gogean on the balance beam, but Gina still ended up winning the gold over her more difficult beam routine.

Her performances in the 1996 Olympics were particularly impressive, as Gina underwent an emergency appendectomy only 5 weeks before the competition. By a bizarre and miraculous stroke of luck, she had been traveling on a train to Bucharest at the time, which was the only city where hospitals could perform the kind of non-invasive surgery that Gina needed to return to training quickly. Traditional surgery would have involved at least a six week wait to resume light training; she would have missed the Olympics.

Most expected Gina to retire after the Olympics, but continued to compete after the retirement of Lavinia Miloşovici. She admitted in an ABC interview during the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland that the new Code of Points made gymnastics too difficult for her, and that she intended to retire after the competition was over. Gina, in the unfamiliar role of being the leader of the team, led the Romanians to their 3rd straight World team title. Gina finished just off the podium in fourth. She rebounded by winning the world title on beam and her third straight title on floor. Gina finished her career with twenty World and Olympic medals, nine of them gold.

Post retirement[edit]

On July 1, 2006 Gina Gogean married Cristian Gorza, a former classmate of hers, in a ceremony in Deva, Romania. Her former coaches, Octavian Belu and Mariana Bitang, served as the godparents. Teammates Andreea Răducan and Maria Olaru were among the guests. Gina is doing much work as a judge, for example at the Romanian Nationals. In recent years she has also been coaching at the Deva National Training Center.

Major medals[edit]

1998 World Cup: 2nd VT, 2nd FX, 3rd BB
1997 World Championships: 1st team, 1st BB, 1st FX, 3rd VT, 4th AA
1997 Romanian Nationals: 1st BB, 1st FX, 2nd VT, 7th AA *3 events only
1996 Olympic Games: 2nd AA, 3rd Team, 3rd VT, 3rd BB, 7th FX
1996 World Championships: 1st FX, 1st VT 1996 European Championships: 1st team, 2nd FX
1995 European Cup: 3rd UB, 5th AA
1995 World Championships: 1st team, 1st FX, 3rd VT, 14th AA
1994 Team World Championships: 1st Team
1994 World Championships: 1st VT, 3rd FX, 4th AA
1994 European Championships: 1st AA, 1st team, 1st BB, 3rd FX, 4th VT, 8th UB
1993 World Championships: 2nd AA, 2nd FX, 3rd BB, 4th VT
1992 Olympic Games: 2nd team, 5th VT, 6th AA
1992 World Championships: 7th VT, 9th BB, 11th FX
1992 European Championships: 1st FX, 2nd AA, 2nd VT, 8th BB, 8th UB
1992 Champions All: 1st AA
1990 Goodwill Games: 3rd FX, 9th AA
1989 Japan Junior International: 1st FX, 4th AA, 4th BB, 6th UB, 6th VT

See also[edit]

External links[edit]