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Maria's Absence from the 2000 Europeans

Maria Olaru's absence from this year's European Championships caused quite a few controversies. The Romanian officials explained their decision to pull her out of the team competition by pointing out her ankle injury, adding she might also have a back injury that would require further tests. Before leaving for Constanta with the rest of the National team,

Maria had an MRI done (that didn't show any sign of injury). Maria wanted to give her own version of the story, and clarify a few things about her relationships with her teammates and coaches.

CS: Maria, let's set things straight. How do you things the rumors about a conflict between you, Simona Amanar and Mariana Bitang originated?

MO: To tell you the truth, I don't have the slightest idea because they were extremely nice and considerate. They called me all the time I was in the hospital, they came over to visit me and brought be something to eat. Simona was my closest friend, like never before. Coach Bitang called me 5-6 times every day, even early in the morning to see how I was doing and to encourage me. She even brought me painted eggs and "cozonac" (it's a type of cake) for Easter. I was upset it was said there was a conflict, because that is completely untrue and I don't know how/where this rumor got started.

CS: You practiced Wednesday and Thursday before the team competition and you didn't seem injured.

Mo: That's what the press said, but I wasn't doing full routines. Beam was the easiest event, floor was harder and I never did a full routine, I kept making mistakes on vault , and I didn't even train bars.

CS: What do you your of the team's performance? Octavian Belu said it was the same as the national soccer team without Hagi (team captain)

MO: We did well in the event finals. I think Furnon won the floor final because she was at home, but a Romanian should have won. Maybe I could have helped the team, and I wanted to do so with all my heart.

CS: Why couldn't you?

MO: I have a back problem and I couldn't recover after my ankle infection that kept me at the hospital for 8 days. Maybe my back started bothering me because I stayed in bed for so long. I would like to make a request, though. We'd like to be left alone, and not have to worry about the press making up scandals about our team. Right now, we have to focus on the Olympics so that everything can work out for us.

CS: Do you think that will be the case?

MO: As long as we're injury free and we'll work harder, I hope so. That all the bad things we've gone through will pay off in the long run.