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Rio Olympics: Three Romanians in three finals

Cătălina Ponor and Marian Drăgulescu at the Romanian Nationals in Cluj

Cătălina Ponor and Marian Drăgulescu at the Romanian Nationals in Cluj

Cătălina Ponor, Marian Drăgulescu and Andrei Muntean made it to one Olympic final each during this weekend‘s qualification events. Despite the huge amount of pressure, caused mainly by the Romanian teams not being present at these Games (this was, probably, the most talked about fact during the opening ceremony when Cătălina led the Romanian delegation into the Maracana stadium as flag bearer), the three focused on their preferred events where they also showed their best gymnastics.

Cătălina, 29, gave competing in the All-around a thought and actually tried to put in a last minute effort on Uneven Bars but gave up the idea entirely in qualification, where she only competed on the two events on which she had a chance to make the finals, floor and beam. Her performances were confident and steady, showing no emotion and going for safer routines, as is the custom with the Romanian team in important competitions. She goes into the beam final from the 5th place (14.9, with a 6.2 difficulty score). The competition was tougher on floor, with many more gymnasts posting more difficult routines. Cătălina placed 14th here with a 14.200 (5.9 difficulty score), missing out on her second final in Rio. She will be looking for her sixth Olympic medal at her third Games after having won three golds, a silver and a bronze in her past two tries.

Cătălina Ponor

Cătălina Ponor

Marian Drăgulescu, 35, was bothered by a severe flu during the past weeks and could not train properly. His endurance was affected and this was most obvious during his botched floor routine. His best apparatus came again to the rescue and he performed two good vaults for another chance to fight for his fourth Olympic medal. With one more week until the apparatus finals both Cătălina and Marian will look to improve on these performances. It remains to be seen whether the first will go for that Tsukahara dismount she practiced during podium training and whether the second will offer us a new version of the vault which bears his name, as he has promised before.

Andrei Muntean produced a nice suprise for the Romanian camp when he made it to the Parallel Bars final (also his favorite apparatus) with a very clean and solid routine. It’s a great achievement for the 23 year old who competed on all events here (he placed 36th in the All-around, not making it to this final).

Andrei Muntean

Andrei Muntean

The supreme competition continues in Rio but Romania will need to wait until the 15th of August until it can feel the emotions of a Romanian gymnast taking the stage again.

This post is also available in: Romanian