Romania : Chelaru vs. Racea vs. Bulimar

Even with Porgras out, the potential Romanian Olympic team is surprisingly deep. Well, deep is a dramatic overstatement. But they have more capable gymnasts to choose from than what I originally thought.

 I’ll call Larisa Iordache, Catalina Ponor, and Sandra Izbasa all locks.

The Romanian press tends to treat their gymnasts like American media treats our celebrities, but after all the hub-bub and hoopla, Izbasa’s latest injury seems to be more of a scare than something totally threatening to her placement on the team.

Her second diagnosis in Vienna seems to confirm the first. (If your Eastern European is sketchy, you’ll need to make use of Google translator).

The fact that Izbasa is training bars (the event that they obviously need most) makes things more interesting. She’s not going to score anywhere near a 15 (even a mid-14 is dubious), but she looks better than what I was expecting.


How ironic that she could end up being Romania’s third bars worker.

The last 2 spots are where things get complicated. We have Amelia Racea, Diana Chelaru, and Diana Bulimar. I’ve crossed Raluca Haidu off the list. If all 7 of these girls are healthy come-London, she’ll only be at second-alternate status.

Chelaru is my least favorite Romanian, but Belu & Bitang could give a shit less about my opinion. She’s accompanying Iordache to this weekends SCAM as her less stylish plus one. To send her to a “major” televised competition must mean that they have some faith in her to make future teams, and that she still fits into the grand scheme of things. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have sent Bulimar – who is virtually unknown to the fair-weather gymnastics fan?

Chelaru has experience (and B & B) on her side. I want to see how she performs tomorrow before drawing any too-hasty conclusions, but vault and floor are really the only two events I see her contributing. Even then, I doubt they’d use her vault or floor in team finals against Ponor, Izbasa, and Iordache. And I think Bulimar is better on floor than Chelaru.

Which brings me to Diana (Bulimar). Maybe it’s her gypsy tan that makes me adore her, but aside from vault, this girl has it.

The plan in Tokyo was to use her bars until she missed a transition, so we were reduced to Haidu’s skanky set in team finals.

She continued to have a rough go at it on beam where she missed a side aerial. But she has the potential (imo) to be one of Romania’s 3-up on beam. The leap @ :48 is super-tricky (and a favorite of the Americans to fudge up), and she gives very little away when it comes to landings. Every element is landed completely upright, with chest high. And what a fabulous dismount:


That would have went 15 + without the fall.

Really, Bulimar, Ponor, and Iordache are the only 3 Romanians I see posting a beam score above 15. Izbasa is steady, but doesn’t quite have what it takes to creep out of the 14’s. She’s a good, confident, lead-off on beam in prelims kinda gal.

Racea has been a European/World finalist on beam, but isn’t exactly the picture of consistency either. She usually ends up giving a few tenths away on something silly, like a leap.

If Izbasa is healthy, Racea won’t vault in team finals. Neither will Chelaru, unless one of the two shows up with a filthy Amanar. I know Chelaru has trained them, but I just don’t see it happening. Racea seems to always be the second-best bars worker (to Porgras, and now to Iordache), but her hit record isn’t the best, even for a Romanian on bars. She’d obviously be the one to sit out floor in prelims, regardless of who makes the team. So is she worth taking?

My earliest prediction for the squad is as follows:

With healthy Sandra…(Iordache, Ponor, Izbasa, Racea, Bulimar alt: Chelaru).


VT – (Bulimar), Racea, Izbasa, Ponor, Iordache

UB – (Ponor), Bulimar, Izbasa, Racea, Iordache

BB – (Racea/Izbasa), Racea/Izbasa, Bulimar, Ponor, Iordache

FX – (Racea), Bulimar, Iordache, Ponor, Izbasa


With Sandra out…(Iordache, Ponor, Racea, Bulimar, Chelaru alt: Haidu).


VT – (Bulimar), Racea, Chelaru, Ponor, Iordache

UB – (Ponor), Chelaru, Bulimar, Racea, Iordache

BB – (Chelaru), Racea, Bulimar, Ponor, Iordache

FX – (Racea), Chelaru, Bulimar, Iordache, Ponor

Stoi! Readers – Care to wage in with your provisional teams?



9 responses to “Romania : Chelaru vs. Racea vs. Bulimar

  • Exgymgurl

    So now with racea out, chelaru not competing bars in Ghent….is haidu still off your list?

  • Dana

    What Bellu and Bitang always wanted? I would say difficulty, accuracy, height, fluency, stuck landings – at least.

    I don’t think Racea, Haidu and Andrei will make it, from many reasons.

    Hoping they’ll be healthy,


    VT – Izbasa, Ponor, Iordache, Chelaru

    UB – Bulimar, Izbasa, Iordache, Chelaru

    BB – Izbasa, Bulimar, Ponor, Iordache

    FX – Iordache, Ponor, Izbasa, Bulimar/Chelaru


    VT – Izbasa, Ponor, Iordache

    UB – Bulimar, Izbasa, Iordache

    BB – Bulimar, Ponor, Iordache

    FX – Iordache, Ponor, Izbasa

    A – Chelaru.

  • Stoi!

    I’m really pleased with the well informed comments and number of hits this post has had. Didn’t know we had a significant readership amongst Romanian fans. We’ll have to try and do a bit more on the team in the future.

    • Roxana

      Sure do:D And I’ll keep you posted with Andrei’s results. She seems to be a hard-working, talented girl. Maybe she will be the Cinderella, fingers crossed.
      PS: There was a sweet moment between Andrei and Bellu at Nats 2011, when Ponor was on beam, at her first oficial competition. If you focus only on Bellu, he seems to not find his peace

  • LaVoix

    I agree with about 90% of what you said. One thing I will mention again is Andrei, for now we must keep an eye look out for her – in the future we can determine what happens, however I have a feeling she is the Dana Sofronie of 2003/2004 (alternate at worlds and a major player at the Olympics).

    Personally, I don’t want Racea on the team unless she increases consistency, execution and difficulty. She’s been having the same routines for too long and none of them look any different. It is a shame because she was such a talented junior.

    My only comment on Chelaru is that she will only go to London if she has an Amanar. I’m still finding it weird that the coaches chose her to go to SCAM…as you said I think the coaches have some faith in her.

    I REALLY want Bullimar on that team because she definitely has ‘it’. She’s Romanian’s third best beam worker – however I need to see upgrades from her first before I can honestly say ‘yes, I want her in London’

    This field is deep!

  • Roxana

    These competitions made me think. If we know anything about Bellu and Bitang, is that they don’t do anything without being serious about it:D This is a Romanian link, but the most important thing is the table anyway. 3 events here, 3 events in China…she could be our 4th qualifying girl on BB and floor and team finalist for UB. Doha is the same weekend as Jesolo, btw.

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  • Roxana

    Everybody seem to forget about Dana Andrei…oh well, she isn’t so famous so that’s why. Anyway, she is going to be super tested in the World Cup editions (China and Doha I think so who knows). Another option could be Gabi Dragoi, who was a beam finalist in 2008. She is a gymnast a la Porgras beam + ub. I just hope all the girls stay healthy and work as hard as they can!

    Dana Andrei forget the form break, there are rumours she looks better and better!

    • Stoi!

      Thanks Roxana – I’m aware of Andrei – she’s quite lovely.

      I’m still not sure I’d put her ahead of Bulimar, Chelaru, or Racea though. But if she looks good at her upcoming meets, who knows. They certainly need someone on bars who isn’t a total slacker.

      I haven’t heard a peep out of Dragoi. I almost forgot about her completely, actually.

      A lot of it will depend on who is healthy. It’s a pretty fat chance that all of these girls are going to be healthy all at the same time.


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