Maria Isabel Lloret was born in
Villajoyosa (Alicante), Spain, in 1971. She came into rhythmic much later than
other world-class gymnasts after being inspired by a performance of Bulgarian
champion Anelia Ralenkova in 1984. After studying briefly under Elena Garcia
at club Atletico Montemar, "Maisa" was handpicked for the Spanish
National Team by head coach Emilia Boneva.
The picture of artistic
refinement, Lloret introduced herself to the rhythmic scene at the 1986
European Championships, where she placed 22nd. But her dark, dramatic physical
and athletic beauty didn't go unnoticed for long. At the 1987 World
Championships she jumped to 9th place, well ahead of teammate -- and reigning
Spanish National Champion -- Maria Martin. Lloret also qualified to three
At the 1988 European Championships
Lloret again placed 9th and moved up to 5th with clubs. Although she was
defeated by Martin once more for the national title, Lloret made history when
she became the first gymnast to score a 10.000 (with clubs) at the Spanish
National Championships. In addition to her clubs gold and all-around silver,
she added a gold with rope and a silver with ribbon. Her superior posture,
line, and musical interpretation easily won her a spot on her country's
In Seoul, Korea, the wonderfully
calm Lloret competed a top-notch, passionate set to come in 5th at the 1988
Olympics-- at that time, the highest ever all-around ranking for a Spanish
gymnast. Although she scored identical 9.850s on all events, her polished and
expressive rope displayed a prowess at using musical accents and stylish
dance. But the routine that captured the audience's fancy was her theatrical
Spanish hoop, in which she performed an arresting apparatus rebound off the
floor to bounce off the arm to a catch. This routine incited a booming ovation
that rivaled the reactions garnered by the medalists.
Lloret, who now works in the
marketing department of the Spanish Gymnastics Federation, is still a revered
sports figure in her country. She has even had a sports facility named in her
honor in her hometown of Villajoyosa.
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September 20, 2000