Can you climb to the top of the podium in one year? Romania sure thinks that you can. And you can bet, that just like every other Olympics, Romania will come out and kill it with consistency in 2012- hitting every beam routine, nailing every landing and doing it all with beauty and grace. I have said it before and I will say it again- you can never, ever count Romania out in an Olympic year. Or as Stoi! so eloquently said “Octavian Belu can never be ruled out in an Olympic year, never. There is only one certainty in gymnastics: he is cannier than you.”
Back in May, I wrote a post talking about how far the Romanians had come since bringing back their coach Belu in 2010. I thought that it looked very, very likely that they would challenge for silver. Now, just two months later, it seems possible that they can challenge for gold.
This weekend at a Romanian friendly meet, four gymnasts debuted their new floor routines. Ahh, a feast for the gymnastics aficionado that has seen every routing countless times. Four new routines at once! Three of these routines brought in scores over 15.
But what was really impressive was their killer beam rotation.
Catalina Ponor 15.7
Larisa Iordache 15.95
All total, they scored a team total of 180.2. This is almost EIGHT POINTS higher than they scored last year at worlds. A World Championships where they did not even win a single medal. In the world of gymnastics that is counted in tenths, increasing by eight points in one year is nothing short of phenomenal. What’s more, is that this beats the team winning score put up by the USA by eight tenths.
And the team gold isn’t all they are hoping for. Last year at Worlds, their highest event finals placing was 5th on beam. This year, they could seriously challenge for an event finals medal on vault (Sandra Isbaza has scored the 4th highest score of those who will be competing), beam (Catalina Ponor and Larisa Iordache are currently first and second) and floor (Ponor and Iordache are currently fourth and fifth). In addition, Iordache is has the fourth highest all around score posted of those that will be competing.
This year, the USA will be adding another amanar to their arsenal, as well as two upgraded bars scores, an upgraded beam score and two upgraded floor scores from last year’s Worlds. Difficulty wise, they will still come in as the favorites. However, Iordache is rumored to be adding in her amanar by the Olympics as well. Romania is definitely putting on the pressure.
Without a doubt, if the USA or Russia makes a mistake, Romania will be right there. They will be consistent, error free, and waiting to pounce. If you give them an inch, they will take a mile. Romania has broadcast loud and clear. Don’t count us out.