The Fun Side of Romanian Gymnastics

While trying to track down pictures for an upcoming article, Karen Louise Hollis tipped me off to a batch of Romanian pictures that were too cool not to share. For those who don’t know, Karen is one of the best content producers there is in the gymnastics community and has written nine books on gymnastics. Her work features in-depth analysis on Eastern Bloc gymnastics which is the exact kind of content readers of this blog typically look for.

The pictures themselves come from a display tour in Germany where the Romanian team wore costumes and performed a skit.

The reason I decided to post these photos is because of how much effort all the gymnasts are putting into the skit. Ecaterina Szabo is dancing around and fist bumping the air while Emilia Eberle is waving her tail.

I would also like to point out that there are two “dead” Romanian gymnasts in this picture while Szabo, Eberle, and Turner continue to dance. Eberle looks like she is having the time of her life. The blurriness of the picture makes it difficult to see, but Eberle is cracking a big smile.

While this skit was being designed, it was probably asked how to incorporate Ecaterina Szabo into the routine. Given that she was the smallest gymnast and the baby of the bunch, naturally the choice was to let her ride Eberle around on the floor.

The inclusion of Szabo in these pictures provides an insight as to just how young she was when she started training alongside national team members.

Here is the lineup of the gymnasts involved. From left to right: Ecaternina Szabo, Cristina Grigoras, Marilena Vladarau, Melita Ruhn, Emilia Eberle, Rodica Dunca and Dumitrita Turner.

Emilia Eberle’s face is priceless. She knows she is the most ridiculously dressed gymnast of the lot. I can’t tell if she feels embarrassed, or is embracing it and is barely able to contain her laughter.

There was another version of this routine which features a bull. I don’t know who is playing the role of the bull, but on the left is Marilena Vladarau while on the right Rodica Dunca is next to Nadia Comaneci.

These pictures are a refreshing relief from an era known being such a grind on the gymnasts participating in it. It was an era of gymnastics where 13 year olds were thrust into high level athletics and with it came high amounts of work, stress, and pressure. They had to learn about maturity self-composure, and having obligations at an age far younger than what was normal.

But it was nice to see that every once in awhile, it was remembered just how young these athletes were and they were given the opportunity to behave like 13 year olds.


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