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No gymnast ever created such a loud bang and cause so much ruckus in her early years than Lavinia Agache. Shortly before her 13th birthday Agache infamously competed in a high-profile competition while pretending to be Romanian superstar Ecaterina Szabo. Later in the year she competed at the 1981 World Championships while under a falsified age (allegedly). Both falsifications were quickly exposed and Agache found herself at the center of not one, but two scandals that had received national media attention right as she was starting her senior career.
Lavinia was quietly one of the strongest WAGs of the 1980s. She won more medals at the four major competitions of the Cold War era than Aurelia Dobre. Even if Olga Mostepanova and Natalia Yurchenko were allowed to count the medals they won at the Alternate Olympics, they still wouldn’t have as many medals as Agache. When counting only individual medals, Agache still has more Big Four medals than the most decorated Soviet of the 1981-1984 Olympic quad, 1981 AA Champion Olga Bicherova.
Agache’s medal streak did not extend to the 1984 Olympics. At the end of the first day of qualifying Agache was tied with Szabo for the lead in the AA standings. But on day #2 Lavinia suffered an adverse reaction to medication that was intended to combat the effects of jet lag. Her performance suffered immensely and Agache failed to qualify on a majority of the events in which she was favored to medal. Agache’s attempt at redemption would prove to be short lived. Lavinia suffered a career ending injury the following year at the 1985 University Games.
Agache’s story was the subject of Gymnastics Biographies #8 and can be found here.
World Championships & Olympic Competition:
Jr. European Championships: 3rd-AA, 4th-VT, 4th-FX, 6th-UB
All-American Classic: 3rd-AA*
Balkan Championships: 7th-AA, 3rd-VT
International Junior Championships: 1st-AA
World Championships: 4th-Team, 7th-AA, 5th-VT, 7th-UB
Antibes International: 5th-AA, 2nd-VT, 2nd-BB
Balkan Championships: 3rd-AA, 1st-VT, 2nd-UB, 1st-FX
International Championships of Romania: 3rd-AA, 1st-BB, 2nd-FX
Romanian Championships: 1st-AA, 3rd-VT, 1st-UB, 1st-BB, 1st-FX
World Cup: 3rd-AA, 5th-VT, 5th-UB, 5th-BB, 2nd-FX
Catania Cup: 1st-AA
European Championships: 2nd-AA, 3rd-VT, 2nd-UB, 1st-BB, 8th FX
ROM-FRG Dual Meet: 1st-Team, 2nd-AA
ROM-GBR Dual Meet: 1st-Team, 1st-AA
International Championships of Romania: 2nd-AA, 1st-VT, 2nd-UB, 1st-BB, 1st-FX
Romanian Championships: 1st-AA
World Championships: 2nd-Team, 6th-AA, 2nd-VT, 2nd-UB, 3rd-BB, 4th-FX
Balkan Championships: 1st-Team, 5th-AA, 1st-BB
Golden Sands International: 3rd-AA, 1st-UB
International Championships of Romania: 1st-AA, 1st-UB
Romanian Championships: 2nd-AA
Olympic Games: 1st Team, 3rd-VT, 8th-UB
Hungarian International: 1st-AA, 3rd-VT, 1st-UB, 3rd-FX
University Games: Participant (Injured during warmups)
Articles Featuring Larissa Latynina:
Lavinia Agache: The Art of Keeping Cool
Gymnastics Bios #8: Lavinia Agache
Results are taken from Score for Score, The Gymternet, GymnasticGreats, My Meet Scores, Gymn-Forum, the official websites of various national gymnastics federations, newspaper clippings, classic gymnastics magazines, and in some cases, were provided by the gymnasts themselves. An explanation for the meaning of these symbols can be found here.