Dana Andrei @ The Medal Factory: “I want to make the team with all my heart.”

Translated by: Romanian Gymnastics Fans

Andreea Raducan: Diana, you´ve just come back from the American Cup but you are down with the flu now. Are you happy with your performance there?

Diana Chelaru: I´m not very happy, I didn´t do my routines the way I would have wanted to. I hesitated while I was hoping to do better. But these things happen, I will work harder to try to do better next time.

Andreea Raducan: Is there any particular apparatus where you feel you still have work to do?

Diana Chelaru: Bars and beam were problematic. I still need to work here and get more confidence. The coaches will tell me what I need to change and where I would need to put more work.

Andreea Raducan: What do you think needs to change in your attitude to get the confidence you were talking about?

Diana Chelaru: I don´t know, maybe be more relaxed. I get a bit tight in competition and this doesn´t happen in training. I get nervous and this is why things didn´t go so well. I always have nerves on these two events.

Andreea Raducan: Even though it didn´t go as planned, you did get to see the other rivals. Do you think you could win over them?

Diana Chelaru: They are strong gymnasts, but we are strong as well. The skills are not new, we have already seen them in competition. With a lot of work and consistency everything will probably be ok.

Andreea Raducan: Diana, we haven´t seen each other in a while. How is training going?

Diana Bulimar: Yes, we haven´t seen each other for a long time. It´s going good, I hope to have improved after Tokyo and that everything will be much better.

Andreea Raducan: Any health issue? Were you able to follow the normal training schedule?

Diana Bulimar: No, I followed a normal program. Everything was ok.

Andreea Raducan: I shouldn´t even ask about vacations because there weren´t any, right?

Diana Bulimar: Yes, that´s right.

Andreea Raducan: What competitions will you be going to before the European Championships?

Diana Bulimar: I will be doing bars and floor in Cottbus.

Andreea Raducan: At what apparatus do you think you have a chance to medal?

Diana Bulimar: I would hope in the team competition, it is there where we are stronger. I also hope to medal on floor.

Andreea Raducan: Floor is your favorite?

Diana Bulimar: Right now, yes. I´m not saying I don´t like the others but this is where I feel more comfortable.

Andreea Raducan: Ama, how is training going?

Amelia Racea: I am slowly getting myself together after a break – I had back problems. I am having a bit of a hard time now but I´ll be fine.

Andreea Raducan: How long was the break?

Amelia Racea: One month.

Andreea Raducan: It´s pretty long for us, right?

Amelia Racea: Yes, especially since I usually recover slowly, it´s more difficult.

Andreea Raducan: You´ve grown a lot in a short time, was it difficult to adapt the routines and the technique?

Amelia Racea: Yes, it was difficult, I am pretty slow so yes, it was difficult.

Andreea Raducan: Do you still have health issues or you are now recovered?

Amelia Racea: No, I am healthy now.

Andreea Raducan: You would like to compete now, do you know what is your next competition?

Amelia Racea: I think I will be in Cottbus.

Andreea Raducan: Pitic, how is training going?

Raluca Haidu: From my point of view, it´s going well. We are trying harder to improve.

Andreea Raducan: I understand you are on schedule. Do you already have the routines you are going to perform in competition?

Raluca Haidu: More or less. We still have to add skills on every event but we are getting there.

Andreea Raducan: I´m sure you want to get to the Olympics. Are you curious to know what is the atmosphere there? Have the girls – Sandra, Catalina and Gabi – already told you about it?

Diana Bulimar: Yes, they´ve told me about it but I´d like to see and feel it for myself.

Andreea Raducan: Is there a rivalry amongst you? We are having fewer gymnasts now but I still think there is a sort of competition between you to make the team….

Diana Bulimar: I can´t say there is rivalry but each one of us is fighting for a spot in the team.

Andreea Raducan: So there is rivalry?

Diana Bulimar: Yes (laughs), but it doesn´t have to be visible.

Andreea Raducan: It´s fair play…

Diana Bulimar: Yes, exactly.

Andreea Raducan: Good luck Diana!

Diana Bulimar: Thank you.

Andreea Raducan: When you have a relaxing moment, do you ever think about how would your best day at the Olympics look like?

Diana Chelaru: How it would look like?

Andreea Raducan: For example, on what apparatus you would start, where would the apparatus be placed, I don´t know…

Diana Chelaru: No, I don´t have a problem with that.

Andreea Raducan: It doesn´t matter on what apparatus you start?

Diana Chelaru: No, it´s not a problem. I´ve started on each one in different competitions and it doesn´t bother me. If I were to choose, it could be floor. I don´t think about where they are placed and I don´t think I would change anything.

Andreea Raducan: How about a gold medal in the team competition?

Diana Chelaru: Everyone wants a medal at the Olympics, especially if we are talking about gold. But for such result you need to put in a lot of work.

Andreea Raducan: Where do you think you can medal in the individual finals?

Diana Chelaru: On floor. I´ve done better here compared to the other apparatus and it´s the one I like most. This is why I probably do better here. It´s clear that I want more, to do more skills…

Andreea Raducan: What do you think about the Olympics? How do you think the atmosphere will be?

Raluca Haidu: I think it´s nice but there are a lot of nerves.

Andreea Raducan: Have you already asked the girls?

Raluca Haidu: Yes, I have. They told me it´s like Worlds….

Andreea Raducan: What is your best apparatus? Where do you think you could bring in a good score?

Raluca Haidu: Vault and bars.

Andreea Raducan: They are your favorite?

Raluca Haidu: Yes.

Andreea Raducan: If you were to choose, on which do you think you could medal?

Raluca Haidu: On bars. I don´t have a second vault.

Andreea Raducan: How big is the rivalry between you when we are talking about making the Olympic team?

Raluca Haidu: The desire is strong, we all want to get there. But we´ll need to see which one of us makes it there….

Andreea Raducan: Do you know what competitions you will be in before May?

Catalina Ponor: For now, only the Cottbus World Cup. We won´t have the final routines there but it´s an important checkpoint for me.

Andreea Raducan: Do you still want to add any skill or do you think you already have the finalized routines on beam, vault and floor?

Catalina Ponor: I am slowly getting the consistency and losing the nerves I had. I hope to improve, this Olympics is very important to me as I don´t know if I will continue after that. I really want to see the team up there…

Andreea Raducan: You´ve managed to take the pressure off the girls while making them aware about the importance of the up-coming competitions…

Mariana Bitang: I think it´s important for the viewers to understand that we took over the majority of these girls pretty late, at an age when it´s very difficult to change behaviors and characters. It´s probable that we can make a difference for Larisa, because she came in at the same age you did. At her age you can mold the rules, the desire for results. Training this group of gymnasts is a bit different because they are really unwilling to change, they don´t want to change the way they are and the way they train at this point. This is why we don´t see huge improvements from year to year, like we used to see before. But we hope 2 or 3 will do well both at the Europeans and at the Olympics.

Dragos Barzu: Gymnastics is a tradition in Buzau, it represents Buzau in national and international events. There are really good teachers and coaches here. They have learned everything here and they have left for other countries. This school is famous also because we hold many competitions here, for the support we get from the local authorities. Gymnastics is a difficult but beautiful sport. Those who do gymnastics have the possibility to understand art and beauty.

Andreea Raducan: Gabi, I was looking at your photos in the gym and you were such a young kid.

Gabriela Dragoi: Yes, I was 16 at Beijing.

Andreea Raducan: How was Beijing for you? Going to the Olympics is important for any athlete and you already did that. You also won a bronze medal with the team. Would you like to repeat that experience?

Gabriela Dragoi: Yes, I´d like to do that but if we won more than a bronze medal it would be great.

Andreea Raducan: Do you feel the pressure, is training getting harder now?

Gabriela Dragoi: There is pressure because we want to push harder, but not inside the team. We support each other.

Andreea Raducan: You are a team…

Gabriela Dragoi: Yes.

Andreea Raducan: What is your favorite apparatus?

Gabriela Dragoi: Bars and beam.

Andreea Raducan: Have you talked to Catalina? Do you share your experience with the younger gymnasts who have not been to the Olympics yet?

Gabriela Dragoi: Yes, we tell them it´s just like any other competition. You get the same nerves and the same rivals. You just have to do your thing.

Camelia Robu: When we spotted little Gabi Dragoi we thought she was it. We could finally send a Buzau gymnast to the Olympics. She worked hard and we worked hard, Costica Clinciu and I. We started working with her when she was 7. It was difficult, she went to the Onesti Junior team first and then made it to Deva. I kept telling her that she would make it, that she could not give up until she got to the Olympics. She didn´t even dare to dream about this. She told me that if I hadn´t pushed her so much, she wouldn´t have actually wanted it that bad. It finally happened, she went to Beijing and came third with the team. She saved the team´s honor by making the beam final where she finished 5th. She won the Europeans with the team and was third on beam. She finished 4th with the team at Worlds but it was before going into surgery on her foot, she was not very well prepared then.

Andreea Raducan: Dana, Gabi Dragoi comes from Buzau, just like you. Did you ask her about her experience in Beijing?

Dana Andrei: When I joined the Deva team, this was the first thing I asked her. This helped me and I hope to get to London as well.

Andreea Raducan: Is this something you want, to make the team?

Dana Andrei: With all my heart.

Andreea Raducan: What are your strongest events?

Dana Andrei: I hope to help the team on bars and floor, vault…

Andreea Raducan: Have you had any health issue so far?

Dana Andrei: No, I trained normally.

Andreea Raducan: Do you feel any pressure?

Dana Andrei: Yes, it´s normal. The rivalry is stronger, each one of us is fighting to get to the Olympics, it´s the most important thing for us.

Andreea Raducan: It´s nicer to go to competition than to train, right?

Larisa Iordache: Yes, especially when you are well prepared.

Andreea Raducan: Good luck, we fully support you!

Larisa Iordache: Thank you.

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