Simona Amânar

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Simona Amânar
Simona Amânar sep19.jpg
Amânar at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Personal information
Full name Simona Amânar
Nickname(s) Simi
Country represented  Romania
Born (1979-10-07) October 7, 1979 (age 37)
Constanța, Romania
Height 158 cm (5 ft 2 in)
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior International
Gym Deva National Training Center
Head coach(es) Octavian Bellu
Assistant coach(es) Mariana Bitang
Eponymous skills Amânar (vault)
Retired 2000

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]

Career[edit]

1994–1995[edit]

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

She 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.

1996[edit]

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

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 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]

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.

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[edit]

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[edit]

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]

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[edit]

Amânar ranks highly on the list[citation needed] of most medaled gymnasts, with 17 World and Olympic medals. 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 Amânar vault[15] 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[edit]

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[edit]

Year Event AA Team VT UB BB FX
1993 China Cup 3rd
Romanian Nationals 5th 2nd 3rd
1994 American Cup 9th
European Championships 1st
GBR-ROM Dual Meet 3rd 1st
International Mixed Pairs 6th
Massilia Elite 5th 2nd
USA-ROM Dual Meet 7th 1st
Team World Championships 1st
1995 European Cup 2nd 1st 5th 3rd 1st
FRA-ROM Dual Meet 2nd 1st
French International 3rd 3rd 5th
GBR-ROM Dual Meet 3rd 1st
Kosice Cup 2nd 2nd 2nd
ROM-GER Dual Meet 3rd 1st
Romanian Nationals 2nd
World Championships 4th 1st 1st 6th
1996 European Championships 4th 1st 1st 1st 7th
French International 3rd 5th
Hungarian International 1st
ITA-BLR-ROM-RUS Meet 2nd
International Championships of Romania 1st
World Championships 2nd
Olympic Games 3rd 3rd 1st 5th 2nd
1997
World Championships 2nd 1st 1st
Chunichi Cup 2nd
Blume Memorial 2nd
DTB Cup 1st 6th 3rd
Arthur Gander Memorial 1st
1998 European Championships 2nd 1st 2nd
Chunichi Cup 6th
DTB Cup 1st 2nd 1st 2nd
Romanian International 1st 2nd 1st 1st
Swiss Cup 3rd 2nd 2nd 3rd
1999
World Championships 14th 1st 2nd 2nd
Chunichi Cup 2nd
Arthur Gander Memorial 2nd
Romanian International 1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st
International Mixed Pairs 1st 1st
2000 European Championships 8th 3rd 1st 2nd 5th
Olympic Games 1st 1st 6th 3rd
Chunichi Cup 1st
Cottbus World Cup 2nd 7th 2nd
Romanian International 2nd
National Championships 1st

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Simona Amanar - The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame". www.ighof.com. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  2. ^ a b c Clarey, Christopher (1996-07-26). "U.S. Gymnasts Take Back Seat in All-Around". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  3. ^ Glauber, Bill (1992-07-31). "Zmeskal steps out, then down: World champion is tearful 10th as Gutsu, Miller reign". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  4. ^ Penner, Mike (1996-07-29). "After the Rest Bow Out, Chow Gets Silver Medal". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  5. ^ "Simona Amanar". olympic.org. 2016-06-20. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  6. ^ Roberts, Selena (2000-09-20). "Romania Conquers and Americans Are Left Divided". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  7. ^ a b Pells, Eddie (2000-09-21). "Gymnastics: Olympic Vault Set Too Low". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  8. ^ Isaacson, Melissa (2000-09-22). "`Unthinkable' Error Mars Gymnastics Competition". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  9. ^ Roberts, Selena (2000-09-22). "Romania Sweeps as Controversy Swirls". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  10. ^ Roberts, Selena (2000-09-26). "Gymnast Tests Positive and Loses Gold". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  11. ^ Pucin, Diane (2000-09-26). "Romanian Teenager Stripped of Gold". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  12. ^ "Romanian gymnastics team gives up two all-around medals". juneauempire.com. 2000-09-26. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  13. ^ Chaudhary, Vivek (2000-09-29). "Bitter pill as tiny gymnast loses gold". www.theguardian.com. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  14. ^ "Amanar retires as Raducan feted". BBC News. 2000-10-01. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  15. ^ FIG Women's Artistic Gymnastics Code of Points 2009–2012, page 163

External links[edit]