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Alexandra Marinescu

Roza Galiyeva of the Atlanta Games

Alexandra after winning the 1994 Jr European All Around Title in Stockholm, Sweden Alexandra Marinescu was born on March 19, 1981 to Alexandru and Anca Marinescu in the capital city of Bucharest. She had no siblings growing up, just her dog Pichy. When she was four years old her parents signed her up for swimming lessons, but her instructor thought she was better suited to gymnastics.

Alexandra trained at a club called Triumph Bucharest with her best friend, Aurelia Gheba, and her coach, Benone Pereteanu. She proved to be a very talented gymnast, but unlike many promising young gymnasts in Romania, she stayed at the club in her hometown instead of moving to Deva to train as part of the team.

Alexandra did not make the move to Deva until early 1996, and her coach accompanied her. But by that time, the world had already seen the young gymnast and what promise she had. She made quite a statement by taking first in the All Around at the 1994 Junior European Championship, at only thirteen years old. Alexandra successfully defended that title at the 1996 Jr. Euros, as well. So when 1996 came, Alexandra was thought by many to be a favorite for the All Around gold in Atlanta. However, things didn't work out for her.

She was a vital member of the third place Romanian team at the 1996 Olympic Games and was one of Romania's three all around qualifiers. However her teammate Simona Amanar was put in instead of her. Amanar had been the fourth highest Romanian, due to a fall on the balance beam on the compulsory exercise, however, she had the highest optional all around score. Octavian Belu, the national team coach felt that Simona worked harder, so he put her in the All Around instead of Marinescu. Alexandra also had some bad habits, the result of training in Bucharest so long which added to the substitution. In the end, Simona tied with Lavinia Milosovici for the all around bronze. Alexandra also qualified to the Balance Beam final, her best chance to win a medal, but she was third behind Gina Gogean and Lavinia Milosovici. Only two athletes could go. Octavian Belu thought Marinescu had a better chance then Milosovici, so he took the latter out and put in the former. Unfortunately, Alexandra fell twice and finished in 8th place. Things just didn't go as planned for Alexandra Marinescu

The situation from Atlanta seemed to repeat itself at the 1997 World Championships in Laussane, Switzerland. Alexandra finished in the top three from her country, and again when the All Around Competition came, it was Amanar who was there instead. The subject of rivalry between the girls often came up, although both insisted it was nonexistant. In fact, it was revealed that Alexandra stepped aside in favor of Simona, who thanked her teammate for giving her the chance to compete.

Sadly, a back condition called Scoliosis forced Alexandra to retire shortly after the 1997 Worlds, at only sixteen years old. So she moved in with her grandmother who lived in Deva to finish high school. In 1998, Alexandra signed a five-year modeling contract.