A Romanian Olympics
The Romanians walked into the Georgia Dome for the second night of competition. Their team was currently in third position, and was expected to win the gold. They were the current World Champions,
but this time it wasnít going to be so easy. While U.S.A., Russia, and Ukraine would be competing with
seven members, Romania would only have six. Ana Maria Bikan, a key player on the Romanian team,
injured her knee in a practice session, an injury that would force her into an early retirement. She was
rushed into the hospital for an emergency knee surgery.
So through the night, as the U.S. crowd cheered their team to a gold medal victory, the first time for the U.S. in history, the Romanians fought to hold on
to third. Sure, the Romanians only won the bronze, but this would not be the end of the Romanians.
Lavinia Milosovici, Gina Gogean, and Alexandra Marinescu qualified into the All-Around, but Marinescu was substituted
by Simona Amanar because Octavian Belu, the Romanian head coach, thought that Amanar was a better worker. So as
Miller and Dawes were at the top of the standings, the Romanians silently worked their way up. By the third and
fourth rotations, disastrous spills were everywhere. Miller, Dawes, Kochetkova, and Huilan, who were in top position just
minutes before, were now out of medal contention.
But the Romanians stayed solid. Lilia Podkopayeva won gold, but all three Romanians medaled. Gogean won silver, and Amanar and Milosovici tied for bronze. But Iíll say it once again, this was not
the end of the Romanians.
In event finals, the Romanians shined. In the Vault, Simona Amanar won gold and Gina Gogean won
bronze. In Uneven Bars, a weak event for the Romanians, Amanar finished in a tie for fifth, and Milosovici placed eight. In
Balance Beam, Marinescu, who was expected to win a medal, fell twice, and into eight place. But surprisingly, Gogean
took advantage of otherís mistakes, and won the bronze. In Floor, Gina Gogean, the current World Champion, stepped out
of bounds, and out of medal contention. She finished 7th. But Simona Amanar displayed a wonderful performance, and
won a silver, bringing her medal total to four, tying with Gogean for the most medals won in Womenís Gymnastics during the
1996 Olympic Games.