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.