Ciprian Hord – Dreaming of Nadia
“Women’s artistic gymnastics is no. 1 in an alltime classification of Romanian sports achievements, Nadia Comaneci being the first gymnast in the world who scored a perfect 10 at The Olympic Games, in Montreal 1976. Since 1976, Romania was one of the leading nations in women’s artistic gymnastics, winning 28 gold, 18 silver and 21 bronze olympic medals.
Behind all statistics and medals there are thousands of hard training hours, tears, broken bones and broken hearts, hopes and dreams. Women’s artistic gymnastics is not a sport for women as the name suggests, but rather a sport for children, a gymnast of 21-22 years old being a rarity in the world of gymnastics. As difficulty in gymnastics increased, smaller, lighter girls generally excelled in the more challenging acrobatic elements required by the redesigned Code of Points. The girls begin gymnastics at the age of 5-6 years, at 16 they are already considered seniors and begin to retire in their 20’s.
Romania still has a centralized system of training in gymnastics, inherited from the former communist regime, The Olympic Gymnastics Center being located in a small town from Transylvania, Deva. Here, the gymnasts and their trainers live together and have a very spartan way of life. Despite all the hardships, parents still send their daughters to gymnastics and hope their girl will be one day an Olympic champion. In a country like Romania, where the standard of living is a very low one, gymnastics proves to be a desirable future for young girls. Certainly the girls don’t have in mind the money they could earn, but they all dream of becoming a second Nadia.”