Welcome to Sandra Izbașa Online, dedicated to the talented Romanian Artistic Gymnast Sandra. Sandra is the Gold Medalist in the Floor Exercise Final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and a Bronze medalist with her team! She is also the All Around Champion of the 2008 Arthur Gander Memorial and the 2008 Nadia Comaneci Invitational. 2011 brought Sandra the European title on vault and floor! Check around this website to learn more about Sandra!
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Sandra Izbașa, the harmony between performance and image
“Gymnastics is not a beauty contest, but if you are pretty as well, the better.”, says Sandra Izbaşa. Currently, one of the most beautiful gymnasts in the world, the Olympic floor champion remembers how her passion for this apparatus started.
Sandra Izbaşa is one of the only gymnasts which catches the judges' eyes through talent as well as through beauty.
Sandra Izbaşa, Olympic champion: ”It matters everywhere, not only on floor. But if there are gymnasts who are less beautiful, but talented, it doesn't matter if that extra gram of beauty exists or not. Gymnastics is not like a beauty contest. If you are, the better. God let me stay this way. The first time when I entered a gym I changed my clothes, and the coach told me: you will look good as a gymnast and you will be a tall girl. I looked at her and said: how does she know everything?.
Reigning Olympic champion on floor, Sandra Izbaşa explains her passion for this apparatus.
“I liked it very much when I was small, my dad would play classical music, and it drew me a lot. I would pose and I liked being pricked and to show the world who I was. Then I started to develop this ability towards the floor exercise more than on the other apparatus, because there was a lot of artistry and I was very passionate about it.”
Double gold medalist at the recent Europeans, Sandra Izbaşa isn't satisfied with just that. Our gymnast, again, wants glory at the next Olympic Games.
Sandra Izbaşa, Olympics champion: ”I have passed this phase. When I was younger, I was happy about winning any medal, now it was a well earned medal, I worked for it, but I don't have to look at this success, when I could have much more success. The European championships were just one stage towards it. A stage for which we will prepare much harder will be the world championships because they are the qualifying round for the Olympics, and the Olympic Games are supreme, if I can say that.”
Izbaşa has learned to be happy about any medal, not through parties, but through more work.
“It's a normal thing, I'm already used to it, not to win medals, but with success. I am satisfied through silence. And through limits and training, I am happy to improve. I have already started to improve slightly on floor and vault.”
Gymnastics is under the spotlight once again, as a new world cup is due to take place on May 13 and 14, a competition which will take place in Moscow, at the well know sports Olympic Complex. Moscow is for the sixth time host for this world cup (its debut being in 2006), this year as well being host of an event final only competition, category CIII, after Paris in March.
The competition - qualifications, May 13, finals on Sunday, May 14 - is set to be very strong one, if taken into consideration the participant list which is made of 87 participants from 35 countries, containing the gymnasts of the moment.
The women's competition promises to have valuable routines according to the majority of athletes present on the starting list, names that no longer need a special presentation: Oksana Chusovitina, Tatiana Nabieva, Ekaterina Kurbatova, Elisabeth Seitz, Lauren Mitchell, Luisa Galiulina, Anna Dementyeva, Jessica Lopez, our three girls – Sandra Izbașa, Ana Porgras, Diana Chelaru – completing the list of the gymnasts present in Moscow.
The photo gallery has been updated with new images from the 2011 European Championships! Credit goes to Aurelia Vasile. Thank you, Aurelia, for providing a license for us to use the images on our website.
Sandra Izbașa, gold medalist: "I like challenges and I told myself that this is a challenge. If it goes well it means it's going well, if not...I keep trying. Any type of injury like the one I had stops a gymnast from training physically and mentally, but whoever has a strong mentality and, of course, people around who can motivate you to continue...why not? I saw how the girls were competing and how I wasn't there, I gave myself a lot of ambition to be at their level. Before competitions I don't do anything special. I listen to music and I concentrate. That's all. The last time I counted my medals was when I was injured and I had over 150 medals, but valuable medals (Europeans, Worlds and Olympics) I had 13. Now, I have 15. I don't see myself in competition when I would be over 30 because I like living life, not only gymnastics. I am not a big fan of nightlife ... I'm not passionate about this 'sport'. There is no need to recover lost time, because there is no such thing. If I don't want to do something, then I don't do it. So I have no regrets. I only put on make-up in competitions, it's a hobby for me. I said I would take some make-up artist lessons."
The Romanian girls have returned home with four medals from the European championships. They are proud, but as of today the are back in the gym.
Followed by a protective air by Octavian Bellu, Sandra Izbaşa, Diana Chelaru, Amelia Racea and Ana Porgras made their appearance in the ceremonial room at "Henri Coandă" international airport, the place where all the champions are welcomed. With four medals, out of which two are European titles, the Romanian gymnasts have left behind the great experience lived in Berlin and are now thinking of the next competitions, the world championships in autumn and the Olympic Games in 2012.
Double European champion, on floor and vault, Sandra Izbaşa has not yet forgotten about the injury she sustained over one and half years ago. Optimistic, the gymnast owes everything to the coaches for her exceptional comeback. "I never lost hope. There were quite a few people who encouraged me. I am happy to pay back for their help. I was on the brink of retirement. Mr. Bellu and Mrs. Bitang showed me that I still have something to say in gymnastics and this made me go on.", the floor Olympic champion said.
Izbaşa was very happy about her performance in the two event finals, and now she wants to improve her routines. "I put big emphasis on the vault preparation as much as I did on floor. I felt like my place was on the podium and that's how it was", Sandra declared for GSP.
Fragments from Prosport:
Olympic floor champion on floor mentioned that she likes what she does and that she doesn't regret that her entire childhood was highlighted by training." Now we will return to more hard work and the same things. I've been used to it for the past eight years. There's no way to make up for lost time, because I like what I'm doing. This nightclubbing sport doesn't interest me. ", Izbaşa said, who also mentioned that last time she counted her medals, she had over 150, of which 15 at Olympic Games, world and European championships.
After the end of her career, Sandra Izbaşa will do some make-up courses. "I did my make-up by myself for the competition, and after I retire, I will learn some make-up artist lessons.", Izbaşa finished.
Izbaşa has forgotten about her superstition about odd years! "The year is the way I want it to be!"
Sandra Izbaşa returned yesterday from the European Championships with two gold medals, on floor and vault. Two results which have returned the Olympic champion back on the podium after three years
Mature, sure of herself, but extremely realistic about her future, Sandra talked about the motivation the two medals have given her and about the change she went through when Mariana Bitang and Octavian Bellu returned to the Olympic gymnastics team.
Sandra, how do you feel about being a double European champion? It feels good. It was a hard competition, but I was glad I controlled my emotions. It's fantastic to be back on the podium after two years in which I got nothing, an extraordinary motivation to move forward.
Was the pain you went through ever since your injury worth it for the medals? Yes, it was. I don't regret continuing, I knew that I could do better. But, whether if it was for these results or not, I never regretted returning back to the gym and tried to start from scratch. I think I would have regretted if everything was different and if I would have been happy with what I had before my injury.
Where you expecting the gold medal on vault? It's a first for me. To be honest, yes, I was, because I worked so hard on vault. When the coaches proposed it to me, I took it as a challenge and I said 'why not?' If it worked, it would've been good, if not, that was that. I had nothing to lose.
Mr. Bellu was saying that if you got your uneven bars routine back, you would have changes for the all-around competition... It's still a long time until then. I don't know, I don't really see myself back on uneven bars again, it would be a double challenge for me. I probably will need a lot of time to physically get used to this idea, and then, who knows...
With a mask, without a mask
Did you change your mind about the superstition about odd years? Yes, obviously (laughs). I always said that even years were the best for me, whereas odd years brought me bad luck. But now, I am over that. My mum also helped me a lot, who told me that everything is up to me. Now I know that a year is the way I propose it to be.
What have you learned ever since you started training with Mr. Bellu and Mrs. Bitang? A lot of things. I have matured in my thinking, I feel like a different person, I see things differently, I establish my priorities much better, it's like everything has changed, even in competition. At one point, I was seriously thinking of retiring, but they helped me get back on the right track.
It seemed as if you were wearing a mask while performing... Not at all. And this is one of the changes. I am very concentrated on what I do, I pay a lot of attention, I know that small details make all the difference. I am the same, the same person, the way I see a competition has changed.
You didn't smile very much on the podium... I am well aware that I have a lot of work set out. I am happy about these medals, but I can't get 'drunk' with cold water. I have many things to get straight, to fix others and I know that at the world championships it will be much harder than it was now.
Mustafina, one of your opponents, will miss the world championships because of an injury sustained at the Europeans... I heard, and it is real sad. I went and talked to her. I encouraged her and I told her that I wish her operation goes well, to recover quickly and to meet on the podium. She is a good child, I feel very sorry for her, I know how it feels to go through these moments.
What's next? Back to work! Actually, even more work, in order to perform perfectly at the world championships.
Sandra's gold Tango! Everything about the Romanian girl's comeback who conquered Europe!
Romanian gymnastics is dreaming nicely in the pre-Olympic year. Romania is coming back from the European championships with 6 medals, of which 3 are gold, thus making it one of the most successful ever. Without doubt, the superstar of the team was the Olympic gold medalist on floor, Sandra Izbaşa, who won two gold medals.
Max-Schmeling-Halle from Berlin is today a part of the recent history of Romanian gymnastics. It is the place Sandra won the bet with herself, she passed all the prejudice and rose, after 3 years of absence, on the podium. Not once, but two times, right on the first step of the hierarchy: on floor, her soul apparatus, and, for the first time, on vault. A double gold medal with a sour taste, which leaves behind a terrible injury, a lot of suffering and pain, thousands of hours training and special recuperation in order to enter the gymnastics game again. In Berlin, Sandra demonstrated, again, that she is an atypical champion for Romania.
One year of break
What does a gymnast do at the age of 19 when she suffers a terrible injury during training, breaking her Achilles tendon on her right foot, but also fracturing her left arm, and is one step from the brink of tragedy? When for several months she dreams about the moment of injury and has nightmares every time she enters the gym? When she is imposed from everywhere of skeptical views and doubts about her future in sport? When the recovery keeps her away for one year? When she has every reason to give up after a career crowned with gold? Four months after the injury that sent it directly to the 'knife', Sandra Izbasa gives an answer to all these questions: "I want to show that such an accident does not mean the end of career, that through hard work and ambition you can be as good as before, if not better. I know that many are skeptical about myself, but I'll do what I know best: I'll fight".
And she fought, although it was not easy. Sandra has taken virtually started from scratch. She put away the crutches and learned how to walk again in a leg that betrayed her, she rediscovered the confidence in her body and this time she dreamed continually: to be on the podium. Exactly one year after the operation last autumn, the first official competition came: the World Cup in Gent, where she came back with gold. However, confidence and optimism faded away fast, after just one month, where at the World championships, Sandra 'threw' the gold medal away after landing outside the area of the floor. Disappointment, lots of tears and back into the gym. Training and more work.
The smile came from "tango amore"
Four months of constant repetition, pay attention to details, the redesign and re-correct the movements. The first step towards London 2012, the first goal: European gold. With only three weeks before the race in Berlin, Sandra showed her floor to the world at World Cup in Paris. She was rewarded with gold, and the launch was made for the continental competition. A competition where Sandra debuted in force: the highest marks in the qualifications on floor and vault. A race that has shown the world a new Sandra, who has recovered her three strengths that propelled her to the Olympic podium in Beijing: safety, nerve and attitude in the competition.
Three ingredients which were mixed perfectly in the finals to fight for gold. On the floor, her soul apparatus, Sandra was imperial. She entered fifth in the competition, she executed her routine well, put emotion and feeling into it, smiled to the judges and fans and slid perfectly on the "Tango Amore" tunes. She quietly receive her score, 14 500, then waited, the three last routines. Emotions? Perhaps only Diana Chelaru, the only one which could have taken the gold. But this time the duel was won by a more mature and experienced Romanian gymnast. Sandra is putting in her medal record her third European floor title.
First on vault
The Olympic champion hit the vault, an apparatus which no longer fought for since 2006 from the World championships in Aarhus. With two very good vaults, the member of Steaua jumped right at the top of the hierarchy (14,700 and 14,650 - 14,675 average). A success that has brought Romania continental title on this apparatus after a break of seven years, but also hopes for a possible world championship medal. Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin is where Sandra has reestablished dominance on European floor and has announced future intentions on vault at the world championships. It's the place where the dream becomes a reality.