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Ana Maria Bican

So close to glory...


Ana Maria Bican was born on the 30th of March in 1980 in Zarnesti, Romania. Her parents, Grigore and Stefana, also have two sons, Ion and Catalin. Ana Maria took up gymnastics at age six and trained at CSS Zarnesti, until her talent was discovered. She then transferred to Onesti and trained as part of the junior national team. There she was coached by Livia and Toma Ponoran. Ana Maria first competed internationally in 1992 at the a junior meet in Vatican City, which happens to be her favorite place she's ever been. She finished an encouraging fourth all around in the meet. Later that year she was a part of Romania's first place team at the Junior European Championships.

In 1993, Ana was selected to train for the national team in Deva. Once part of the team, she was coached by Octavian Belu and Leana Sima. Over the next three years, Ana Maria showed such talent that in 1996 she was selected as one of the seven best gymnasts of her country. She was going to the Olympics! Or so it seemed…

Ana went to the States and trained with her team, which had already lost vaulable team members Andreea Cacovean and Claudia Presacan to injuries prior to their departure. The pressure was on them, as they were the favorites to win the gold. The day before competition started, Ana Maria tore her knee while vaulting and had to have emergency surgery right away. Ana never got her chance to compete. Without Ana Maria, the Romanians had only six members, and won the bronze medal. With their awful luck, it was amazing that the Romanian team won a medal at all; to the Romanian gymnasts, however, a bronze medal was defeat. Unfortunately, Ana's knee injury forced her to retire from the sport, at only sixteen years old. These days she has moved to the US and is coaching at a gymnastics club in Michigan.

Had she not been injured…had she been able to compete in Atlanta…had the Romanians had an alternate…who knows what might have been…

Now years later, few people remember this talented and kind young lady. And if they do, they unfortunatly remember her for what didn't happen for her, and not what did.
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