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Romania's Forgotten Stars

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Gabriela Agachi | Alexandra Marinescu | Olimpia Popa | Elena Oprea | Nicoleta Onel | Ana Maria Bican | Alexandra Dobrescu | Emanuella Ungureanu | Ramona Socarici | Daniela Trandafir | Angela Ghimpu
Ana Maria Bican

So close to glory...

Perhaps the most heartbreaking is the story of Ana Maria Bican, because of all these gymnasts, she came so close to her dream, and then suddenly, it was gone. She first trained at CSS Zarnesti, then at the junior training center in Onesti, and finally with the national team in Deva. Ana Maria's international debut came in 1992 at the City of Pope Junior International, where she came in fourth.
The highlight of her junior career came at the 1994 Jr. Euros where she placed first on vault, and third in the all around. Consistent results over the next two years earned her a spot on the 1996 Olympic team. Ana's dream was coming true, or so it seemed...
Ana Maria travelled to Atlanta with her teammates, but she never was able to compete. The day prior to the start of competition, she injured her knee while vaulting, and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
Her Romanian team had already lost one gymnast; sixteen-year old Claudia Presacan broke her hand the day before the team was scheduled to depart for the games, and now they had lost another. The Romanians competed with only six members, instead of seven, and won the bronze medal, after being the gold-medal favorites.
The result, however, for Ana Maria, was much worse. Her knee injury ended her gymnastics career and forced her to retire from her beloved sport at only sixteen years old.
Today things are going better for Ana Maria. She now coaches at a club in Michigan, USA. Although many people don't remember this wonderful gymnast, she will always hold a special place in the heart of true fans.

Birthdate: March 30, 1980
Hometown: Zarnesti
Family: Parents, Grigore and Stefana, and two brothers, Ion and Catalin
Favorite Gymnast: Oksana Fabrichnova
Hobbies: Playing electronic games
Favorite Event: vault
Favorite Class: math
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie