Meet Marian Dragulescu
He’s 37 years old, married and a father of two, but the most famous Romanian gymnast in history still hopes to add some gold medals to his record. Although Dragulescu holds an impressive collection of awards and titles, he achieved even greater fame in 1999 when, for the first time, he performed the element that would bear his name: a handspring double tuck with half twist on the vault, or “The Dragulescu”. It’s still recognized as one of the most difficult in the world today.
1. Tell us about how you started out in gymnastics.
The truth is that gymnastics chose me. I was in first grade when coach Avaryarei Dumitru came to my school and invited me and a few other boys to the gym. I first went to the gym with my grandmother. As soon as I got in, it was love at first sight. It was like a huge playground for kids.
2. In your opinion, what are your best qualities as an athlete? What should you work on?
I like myself the way I am, I wouldn’t change anything. My best qualities are that I am a hard worker, a very creative person, I adapt easily and I have good strategies and good vision. But, most importantly, I believe in myself.
3. You won the silver medal on vault at the last World Championships in Glasgow, in 2015. What are your best memories of the competition?
I have a lot of good memories. That medal came six years after my last world medal and qualified me directly for the Olympic Games in Rio. I had the opportunity to see a lot of my gymnastics friends. The organization and the audience were great as well. That competition also confirmed that I was still one of the best gymnasts in the world.
4. In your senior career, you have won the World Championship title four times on vault and floor. What is the greatest achievement of your career as a gymnast? What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of three competitions. First, the 2017 European Championships in Cluj, where I won gold on floor and silver on vault ahead of my fellow Romanians. Second, the 2004 European Championships in Ljubljana, where I won gold in the all-around, with my team, on floor and on vault. Last but not least, the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where I won silver on floor and bronze on vault and with my team.
5. What are your goals for the 2017 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Montréal?
Since I sprained my left ankle at the Paris World Cup last week, my goal is to be able to participate and maybe qualify for one final.
6. Have you ever been to Montréal? What are you most excited to see?
It will be my first trip to Canada, and I am very excited to compete in the stadium that represents the first perfect 10 won by Romania’s Nadia Comaneci. I am also looking forward to see a lot of my Romanian friends who are coaching in Canada.
7. A little more about you…
|Song||Wild thoughts – Rihanna|
|TV Show||Romanian Voice|
|Favourite place on earth||Las Vegas|
|An athlete you admire||Usain Bolt|
|A movie you can watch over and over again||Jerry Maguire|