Marian Dragulescu: The biggest achievement as a coach would be to continue your work through your pupils.

8 World and 9 European titles, 3 Olympic medals – a silver and 2 bronze – retirements and comebacks, doubling gold medals at the same meet, injuries, sacrifices but also a rebel character. Marian officially retired last month but is staying with gymnastics as a coach at Steaua Club.

Here´s Marian Drăgulescu´s recent interview for the Romanian sports newspaper Prosport.

Photo: Prosport

What would you like Santa to bring you?

Simple things. I would like to be healthy, to be surrounded by my family and friends and to have a good time together. I don´t like presents, material things. I love holiday trips, but these are presents we give ourselves. We went to Prague for my birthday and we are going to Bulgaria for New Year´s Eve.

How do you find coaching?

It´s nice, I like what I do. I like the gym I train in as it has everything it needs. My congratulations go out to George Boroi who managed to put this together despite the lack of medals. I work with 5 to 14 year olds. There are 3 coaches, with Alin Jivan being one of them. I am the oldest at 32.

Do you still train once in a while?

I stopped two weeks ago, after the Mexico gala. I felt like having a break but I cannot stop. I´m the active type, I like to exercise. I´ve been in sport all my life and I am aware that if I stop completely I will gain weight. I would like to keep fit.

You´ve announced retirements and comebacks before. Is this the final retirement?

What I want right now is to be a coach, I don´t know what will happen in the future. I was really interested in going to the Olympic Games but now that they are gone and Rio seems too far away, I feel like doing something else.

You were training a new vault. What will happen with it?

When I went into the gym after London, I created 2 very difficult and unique floor passes. On vault I don´t know; the more you work, the more ideas come to mind. I am pretty creative when it comes to gymnastics.

What would you ask of Santa, as a coach?

(laughs) I would ask him to help me find a talented child and turn him into another Marian Drăgulescu. You have to be lucky enough to find a child you can work with and polish certain things.

What would you have to offer him?

Everything I´ve learned in gymnastics, all I´ve created and will create.

Even this second vault of yours?

I think the biggest achievement as a coach would be to continue your work and ideas through your pupils.

How many World titles would you give up in order to have 1 Olympic title?

(laughs) Probably 7 of them. I would have liked to have 1 of each. I honestly don´t know. All my medals are dear to me, I´ve worked hard to earn them. I would have liked to have an Olympic title as well, but it wasn´t meant to be. It´s ok though, the world doesn´t end here.

How was 2012 for you?

The first semester was disappointing for me because of the injuries, recoveries, trainings, trying to catch up as soon as possible, getting my hopes up but missing London. But the second half brought positive things, going into coaching at Steaua, the Mexico galas, taking part in “Dancing with the stars”.

Who would you like to sing with?

With Connect- R. But my voice is bad. (laughs). I would eventually dance to his singing.

How about dancing?

Hmmm…With Inna.

You danced on Gangnam Style in Mexico. How long did you train for it?

5 minutes. It´s not difficult if you follow the rhythm.

And to impersonate Michael Jackson?

This was harder. I watched his video and trained for a couple of days during half an hour. Ok, Michael is something else, I liked him.

Going back to winter sports. Would you change you car for a sledge?

No, no way, even if I had to walk. I like cars.

Do you remember your last snowball fight?

Not really. It must have been in highschool, I don´t remember exactly. We did this when we were kids, but this is on my list for this year. So is building a snowman.

Do you contribute to the Christmas table?

I´m not very good at cooking. I mean I won´t starve to death but I can only make simple dishes. I help my wife, we cook together, I offer some advice but that´s it. Maybe I should participate in a cooking competition, like I did with dancing. Maybe then I would learn…

How do you remember Christmas as a child?

I was really nervous. I had to say a poem to get a present and I was always afraid of missing a word or a line. Santa scared me, he looked so old…I had mixed feelings about it but everything cooled down when I got my present.

Original interview by Mirela Basescu for ProSport here.