Yesterday we posted a very short update from ProSport saying that the Romanian girls had returned from their training camp in the mountains. It was a two-line report without any details about the training camp, which kind of baffled us, as we were expecting stories and photos of the girls in the snow.
Turns out we were looking in the wrong direction. While ProSport more or less ignored the girls' training camp, other papers were devoting ample attention to it.
Cerasela Pătraşcu and Diana Chelaru (photo: Libertatea)
This article was posted by Libertatea ("Freedom") on December 27.
Attack in the snow!
Thanks to the snow, which has fallen in abundance over the last few days at the mountain resort of Poiana Braşov, the scenery looks like a fairy-tale. In this dreamscape, at less than five minutes' distance from Hotel Olimpic, a group of little girls is doing its best to plow its way through the 30-centimeter [one-foot] layer of snow in the middle of the path, each morning and each afternoon.
They are the members of the national gymnastics team, who are on a restorative training camp. Well wrapped up, with hats drawn over their foreheads and leg warmers like footballers', coach Nicolae Forminte's pupils have red cheeks because of the cold, but they are in excellent spirits. But even here, far away from the "laboratory" in Deva, the girls maintain a strict discipline. Standing in a perfect line, like they do at the beginning of each workout in the gym, the girls respond in unison to their coaches' greeting, "Bună ziua" (Hello).
Sandra Izbaşa, leader of the platoon
After that, with a smile on their lips, they listen to the short and precise instructions given by coach Lili Cosma: "You'll run six laps. You'll go up to the pillar of the cable car and come down close to the hotel." The girls quickly move off, after a light warmup where Cerasela Pătraşcu is the center of attention. Sandra Izbaşa, the Beijing Olympic champion, encourages the recent additions to the team: "Come on, girls! We still have a long way to go. Let's keep the momentum going!" Sandra goes at the head of the platoon of running girls.
Here the article ends, rather abruptly in our opinion.
Cerasela Pătraşcu (left) and Ana Porgras (photo: Libertatea)
Meanwhile, local newspaper Braşovul Tau ("Your Braşov") posted this article on December 28.
Romania's Female Gymnasts Spent Christmas in Poiana
The most prolific Romanian national team ever, which is to say the national women's gymnastics team, actually trained during the holidays. Nicolae Forminte's golden girls celebrated Christmas together at a training camp in Poiana Braşov.
"I think this is the first Christmas we've spent together at a training camp," Olympic gold medalist Sandra Izbaşa said. "It was really nice. We were together and felt like a family. Mr. Forminte and the Romanian Gymnastics Federation gave us presents and we thank them very much for those."
Sandra Izbaşa and Nicolae Forminte (photo: Libertatea)
"The girls sang Christmas carols for us and we spent a very nice evening together. We gave the girls presents and we felt like one great family. And on St. Nicholas [December 6] the girls surprised us with tiny gift parcels they had prepared for us, which we found in front of our rooms in Deva," said Nicolae Forminte.
A great year
For Romanian women's gymnastics, 2008 was a great year. "It was a good year. It was the year that ended the Olympic cycle, the year for which we had worked four years, and the year in which we demonstrated that our country's new national team can still command a place among the top nations in international women's gymnastics," said the coach of the national team, Nicolae Forminte.
For the leader of the current crop of gymnasts, Sandra Izbaşa, 2008 was a very good year too. "It was a fabulous year in which I made my greatest dream come true and had other valuable experiences. The medal I won at the Beijing Olympics after so much work was just extraordinary. It was the crowning glory of a perfect season," Sandra said.
Sandra Izbaşa (photo: Libertatea)
Santa was generous
Because they achieved such very good results, Santa Claus was generous toward the girls on the national team. But both for them and for the national team coaches, the results obtained at the Olympics were the most valuable present.
"I think Santa came very early for me, when we won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. That was the most beautiful present," said Forminte, while Sandra Izbaşa considered her gold medal in Beijing to be both a birthday present and a Christmas present. "You could say it was both a birthday present and a gift from Santa Claus, because I've had such a successful year."
And that concludes our Poiana Braşov coverage for this year!