A Tribute to Alexandra Huci
Description: blonde hair, blue eyes
Weight: 55 lbs (25 kg)
Hometown: Ion Creanga
Home Club: CSS Roman
Family: Parents Vasile and Maria, two brothers and one sister
Began Gymnastics: Age 6
Favorite Gymnast: Nadia
Coach: Lili Cozma
2000 Alpen Adria Cup: 1st A-A(student level)
2001 Romanian Nationals: 1st A-A(Category 3)
The weekend of August 12(2001), Vasile and Maria Huci visited their daughters at the Deva school. Their older daughter, fourteen year old Ana-Maria was in the 8th grade. Their youngest daughter, twelve year old Alexandra was flourishing at the school, a national champion in her age group, and noted as one to watch for the 2008 Olympics. Mariana Bitang looked for her to be on the national team as soon as she was old enough. Their family was a poor one, and the parents had enrolled their daughters at a gym in their hometown of Roman in hope it could offer them a future. Upon their weekend visit, The Hucis found both daughters to be healthy and doing fine. Unfortunately, this would be their last opportunity to speak with their youngest daughter. Unbeknownst to Alexandra's family and coaches, she was born with a malformation in her brain.
On Wednesday, August 15(2001), Alexandra was not feeling well. In the morning she told her roommates, Roxana Becheanu and Andreea Tinu that she was having headaches, and asked them not to speak loud around her. During the training session that day, Alexandra was practicing fairly simple skills because she had a stress fracture in her hand that was not completely healed. She asked permission to go to the restroom and told her coach she was not feeling well. Her coach took her to the school nurse. The nurse administered some medication, which made the gymnast drowsy. She immediately called an ambulance.
Alexandra was rushed to the hospital, where she slipped into a coma. Doctors believed she had a brain aneurysm and transferred her to a larger hospital in Timisoara, the only institution in the country equipped with a CAT scan machine. She was operated on and had a drain inserted to relieve pressure in her head, but doctors were unable to remove all the blood from her brain. ROC president Ion Tiriac offered to pay for her to be transported to another country for more advanced care, but her condition was not stable enough for her to be moved.
Immediately when they heard of their daughter's condition, Vasile and Maria Huci travelled to Timisoara. They called the hospital from each town they passed through to check on their daughter's condition. In the meantime, her coach stayed by her bedside, while Ana-Maria spent the day in the church praying.
Doctors examined Alexandra regularly, and evaluated her condition as a fourth degree coma. In a coma with this degree, the patient is not expected to awaken. They said at that point, only a miracle could save her life. But coaches, teammates, family, friends, and people all over the world did not give up hope that Alexandra might awaken. Her room was filled with flowers and religious icons, and she had family and coaches beside her bed. Simona Amanar visited the hospital with a teammate of Alexandra's, and RGF officials, as well as other coaches came to see how she was doing.
Sadly, over the weekend, doctors pronounced Alexandra to be brain dead, though her family refused to accept the fact they would lose her.
On Monday, August 20, Alexandra passed away at 11:15 am. After her death, an autopsy was performed to confirm the cause of her death. She was then taken home and buried on August 25. Her parents would have liked for her to be buried earlier, but Ana-Maria was in the midst of taking her 8th grade examinations. The entire Romanian gymnastics community offered much support for the family through their time of sorrow. Maria Olaru gave the Hucis the use of her apartment in Timisoara while they were there, and offered much support for the family. She was touched by Maria Huci's speaking to her unconscious daughter: 'Wake up! Maria is here. Didn't you want to be like her?' Alexandra's teammates and coaches visited her at the hospital, and Simona Amanar stayed by her side for the last two days of her life. Simona even told the family she would like to help pay for Ana-Maria's education at Deva. Simona, Maria, and Claudia Presacan all attended the funeral and paid their condolences to the family. Many people, including friends, teachers, and acquaintances of Alexandra and her family turned out for the funeral. Alexandra had become a sort of celebrity in her country, almost as if she were the next Nadia. Though the world never got to see Alexandra's talent for gymnastics, people all over the world were touched by her story and will always remember her. And though the Romanian team lost a valuable member, they now have a guardian angel watching over them.