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 maskDid 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.