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[Exclusive interview] Alexandra Piscupescu: Being a role model for young gymnasts motivates me to keep improving

Alexandra Piscupescu is the best Romanian Rhythmic gymnast of the past years, having dominated the National competitions and taken part in European and World Championships. She has recently competed in the Italian Championship for La Fenice, contributing greatly to their Serie A win (read more here). Romanian Gymnast caught up with Alexandra who is preparing for this year’s comepetitions and the new Olympic cycle and asked her a couple of questions.

Photo: Tom Theobald

You are the representative gymnast of the past years, you won every single medal at stake at National level last year. Do you think about being a role model for the younger generation of girls who are doing Rhythmic gymnastics and who watch you compete?

The thought that I am the role model for the girls who are in Rhythmic is actually one of the reasons that motivate me to keep improving.

How hard is it to be successful in Rhythmic gymnastics, a sport practically dominated by a single country?

Most people don’t realize how hard it is to actually achieve something in Rhythmic gymnastics. Whenever I say I finished in 17th place at Worlds, I get asked: “Why only 17th?”. It is true that Russia dominates because of the infrastructure, the number of gymnasts, the elite coaches they have and the good training conditions.

How would you like to see Romanian Rhythmic gymnastics evolve in the future? What is currently missing?

In my opionion, Romanian Rhythmic gymnastics is making great progress compared to previous years. Ten years ago we had 4 or 5 Senior gymnasts while now there are more than 20, which means that more and more girls keep doing gymnastics and do not quit before reaching Senior level. What I would like to see is more determination and a desire to improve. I think there is a lack of confidence in what we can do and in the tradition of Romanian Rhythmic gymnastics.

What did competing in and winning the Italian championship together with La Fenice mean to you?

It was one of my greatest achievements for 2012 and an unforgettable experience because I competed alongside one of my former colleagues and best friends, Andreea Ștefănescu, who now competes for the Italian team. We formed a team inside “La Fenice” and we were very happy to have won.

You were not able to fulfill your dream and compete in London. Are you considering Rio?

I am considering Rio, but I’d rather take it one step at a time for now and concentrate on the present moment. You never know what the future holds…

Following the difficult moment you experienced at the London test event, your supporters protested against that result. Even Irina Deleanu, President of the Romanian Rhythmic gymnastics Federation, got suspended for this. Did you feel everyone was behind you at the time and supported you?

I was actually surprised to see how many supporters I had and what Irina Deleanu did means a lot to me. I feel a bit guilty for her suspension but I trust that things will eventually turn around. God sees everything.

What does being part of the Olimpia family mean to you?

I am proud to be part of Olimpia Bucharest, this team brings together the best gymnasts in the country at any given age group. I have some extraordinary colleagues and I’m happy to work alongside them.

What would you like to achieve and haven’t achieved yet?

I would like to go to the Olympics and make the finals in international competitions.

What motivates you to continue? Is just the love for a sport enough?

What motivates me is the fact that I got to this level and that I’m a role model for many of the little girls who do gymnastics. People around me believe in me and help me move forward and, of course, the love I have for this sport makes hard work easier.

How is a day in the life of an elite Rhythmic gymnast?

When I’m not away, I do 5 hours of school and 5 of training. But when I go to training camps, I do an hour of ballet in the morning and 2 trainings of 2 to 3 hours each. In the evenings, you have recovery: massage, sauna and swimming.

You competed in almost every major tournament. Is there any particular routine close to your heart? One which you would show everyone?

A unique moment for me was the clubs routine at the London test event. I went in last and everyone was watching me: gymnasts, coaches, judges and the public. Despite of the fact that I did not qualify for the Olympics, I took home a feeling of happiness and satisfaction.

Is there one particular object that you like most?

Right now, I prefer the ball although I believe I have prepared a special ribbon routine. The new code of points allows us to use actual singing on one routine and I’ve used a song by Bogdan Mihai, the best Romanian tenor.

What can we expect from Alexandra Piscupescu this year?

I want to be among the world’s top 12 this year!

This post is also available in: Romanian