Gina Gogean (ROM)
For a thorough listing of Gogean's competitive results, please see Gymn Forum's Gina Gogean bio
Originally from Campuri
(a small Romanian village next to Focsani),
Gina Gogean began gymnastics at CSS Focsani, coached by Sergiu and Tatiana Popa.
As one of Romania's most promising juniors in the late 1980s, she was chosen to
represent Romania at the prestigious International Japan Junior Invitational in
1989. Within months of this debut, gyms across Romanian were shaken in the
aftermath of the Romanian revolution. Deva was temporarily closed, and promising
juniors who'd been "promoted" to Deva were
sent back to Onesti, the traditional training ground of Romanian junior
That year, the Romanian
Gymnastics Federation opted to enter their most promising juniors in both junior
and senior competitions, arguing that it was too difficult for them to keep
track of the senior team. The wealth of experience paid off for Gogean - she was
named to Romanian's 1992 Olympic team and despite being the team's youngest -- in 2002, Prosport revealed that her age was falsified, making her age eligible to compete as a senior in
1992 -- she qualified to the AA competition.
Following the 1992
Barcelona Olympics, many of Gogean's teammates retired. Gogean
and Lavinia Milosovici quickly found themselves team veterans. Perhaps
because of this new status, or perhaps because of changing ideologies in
Romania, both began asking questions about prize money that was owed to them.
Both eventually went on strike until they were given the award money that was
owed to them.
At the 1994 World Team
Championships in Dortmund, Germany, Milosovici and Gogean led their team to the
first of Romania's so-far four successive World team victories. It was at these
1994 Championships that Gogean suffered one of the worst falls on beam that many
gymnastics fans have ever witnessed. Amazingly - and luckily - Gogean survived
the fall without any injury.
Although both Gogean
and Milosovici earned spots on Romania's 1996 Olympic team, that Gogean actually
appeared in Atlanta was somewhat of a miracle. Only a few months before the
Olympics, Gogean was on a train heading to Bucharest when she suddenly required
an appendectomy. As soon as the train reached Bucharest she was whisked to
surgery. Amazingly, only Bucharest housed the necessary medical equipment to
perform the non-invasive appendectomy that Gogean required to even have a hope
of regaining form to compete in Atlanta. Had she been traveling to any other
city in Romania, the operation that she would have received would have required
months of recuperation.
Once in Atlanta,
Gogean's performances earned her a silver medal in the all-around and bronze
medals in the team competition, vault, and balance beam. Following the 1996
Olympics, Milosovici retired and Gogean found herself in the uncomfortable and
daunting position of being the leader of the Romanian team. She told Gym
respect Milo because she always led our team well. I don't know if I can do it
like she did." Despite her concern, Gogean lead her team to its
third successive World team title at the 1997 Worlds in Lausanne,
Most people believed
Lausanne to be Gogean's final competition. Indeed, many believe that Gogean's
generous scores reflected to judges' beliefs that Lausanne was to be her swan
song. As such, it surprised everyone when Gogean reappeared in the 1998 World
Cup circuit. During this World Cup circuit, Gogean opted to compete only in
three events (omitting her least favourite event, uneven bars). She medalled on
all three of these events at the 1998 World Cup finals in Sabae, Japan - her
final competition. While critics have described Gogean's gymnastics
as "uninspired," her consistent performances earned her
13 World Championship medals and five Olympic medals.
retirement, Gogean began studying to become a coach. Gina was eventually led
back to Deva to coach Romania's most promising juniors alongside former teammate
Lavinia Milosovici. In these roles, both continued to make huge contributions to
Romanian gymnastics. In an abrupt turn of events however, both
Gogean and Milosovici left Deva in December 1999. Gogean explained to ProSport, "...a
job like this requires you to make some huge sacrifices, which I am not willing
to make - at my age." Although the exact sacrifices that Gogean is
referring to are unknown, Milo volunteered that the Romanian Gymnastics
Federation had paid neither she nor Gogean their meager salary of 700.000 lei
(about $50 US) for over four months. When asked what she would do, Gogean
said that she had one year left at the University of Timisoara.
In early 2000,
while on a break between her winter and spring exams, Gogean spent some coaching
a Scotland's Cumbernauld Gymnastics Club. Her three month contract ended in
June, at which point she returned to Romania to continue her studies. Shortly thereafter, she provided colour commentary for
Romanian Eurosport's gymnastics coverage of the 2000 Olympics.
In March 2001, Evenimentul Zilei
reported that Gogean had earned brevet judging diploma but that she would be sidelined for awhile, suffering adverse effects from the demands placed on her
body as an elite gymnast. " I have headaches and my back hurts. I
need an operation so I won't have major problems in the future,"
Gogean explained. "As a gymnast I fell on my head and back a lot and
my back was under a lot of strain, but every sport has it's own risks," she
added. One of the country's top neurologists performed the spinal surgery necessary to repair her deviated vertebrae and beginnings of a herniated
In July 2001, Gogean was named the honorary president of the newly formed Federation of Fitness. In this role, she helped organize a grand prix event held in Bucharest in November 2001. She is also
now a voting member of the Romanian Olympic Committee. Most recently, in February 2002, Evenimentul Zilei
reported that Gogean will join four former teammates (Lavinia Milosovici, Simona Amanar, Maria Olaru, and Claudia Presecan) in opening a gym in Bega, outside of Timisoara. For more, see Nicole
Citroen's Romanian Web site.
. This page was created on January 1,
2000 and last updated April 27, 2002.