Lavinia Milosovici (ROM)
Milo performs at the 1993 Chunichi Cup
Photo used with the expressed permission
Takeo of the OEFC
Lavinia Milosovici is nothing short of a national hero in
Romania. Her lengthy career included two Olympiads and seven World
Championships. She led her team to consecutive gold medals (1994-1995),
gathering individual honours along with the way. Although a major all-around
victory alluded her throughout her career, she won Olympic or World gold medals
on each of the four apparatus.
Born on October 21, 1976, Milo began gymnastics in her hometown of Lugoj.
In 1983, Milo's father enrolled her in gymnastics in a desperate attempt to minimize her
jumping off their living room fireplace. Milo's talent was recognized very
quickly, and at her coach's suggestion she moved to Deva. Milo was actually quite a sickly
child though, and during many times it looked like she may not last at Deva. For
example, at age 10 she was stricken by scarlet fever, the illness almost forcing
Milo out of gymnastics for good. But, as one of NBC's commentators so
"lovingly" described in the Barcelona Olympic coverage, Octavian Belu
nursed his promising student back to health himself!
Milo's first major international
meet was the 1990 American Cup. With the Romanian Revolution still a recent
event, and Romania's gymnasts training at their home clubs with Deva temporarily
closed, Romania's presence at this competition was a bit of a surprise. Although
not as prepared as she might have been if her training had not been interrupted,
Milosovici performed respectably, placing 5th AA.
Milo's first of many World Championship appearances occurred
in 1991. In Indianapolis the Romanians and Americans were fighting "tooth
and nail" for the silver medal. Young Milo did not have the performance of
her life, falling from the UB during the Romania's final rotation. The Romanian
team vowed to redeem themselves in Barcelona at the 1992 Olympics, and Milo
played a key role in this plan. Although Cristina Bontas
was rocognized as the team leader, Milo outshone Bontas in Barcelona. She placed
third AA (many will argue that she rightfully deserved the gold over both Tatiana
Gutsu and Shannon Miller), tied for gold on vault (with Hungary's Henrietta
Onodi), and not only won floor, but scored a perfect 10.0 to boot! This 10.0
marks the last time that a perfect score was awarded in true F.I.G. competitions
(perfect 10s have been awarded since then, but only in competitions using
special bonus rules, e.g., 0.2 bonus for stuck landings).
Still young after Barcelona - and
hungry for a major AA title - Milosovici pressed on. Although she never did win
that AA title, she came close many times (1993 Worlds - 8th, 1993 European Cup -
3rd, 1994 Euros - 6th, 1994 Worlds - 2, 1995 Worlds - 3rd, 1996 Euros - 3rd...).
Ironically, at the 1994 World Team Championships - an event where no AA title
was awarded - Milo was the highest placing gymnast overall.
In her seconds Olympics, the 1996
Atlanta games, Milo fought a badly sprained ankle to lead her
team to their third place finish. Individually she placed tied for the bronze
medal in the AA, in doing so she became the first gymnast to win AA medals in
two Olympics since Nadia Comaneci. Milo retired after her successful performance
in Atlanta. Although a major AA victory had alluded her
throughout her career, she will long be remembered as one of THE top gymnasts of
Instead of moving West for a more
lucrative opportunity as many of her past teammates did, Lavinia opted to stay
in Romania (well, she did perform in the Gold Tour). Gym
Stars has done a great job of keeping fans of informed about Milo's
post-gymnastics happenings. She began promoting a number of products, including Lady
Speed Stick deodorant. The competitive edge still in her body, she began
to take up race car driving in Romania. She competed in her first rally on May
1999, placing 6th.
Gymnastics still very much in her
body, she began university in Timisoara, choosing to study sport (with the hopes
of becoming an international gymnastics judge) and English. All the while, Milo
continued with coaching. Originally coaching younger gymnasts at the grassroots
level in her hometown of Lugoj, Milo was eventually lured back to Deva where she
worked with the Romanian Junior National Team alongside former teammate Gina
Gogean. Milo returned home to Lugoj each weekend to visit friends and
family. Unfortunately, reports of the Romanian Gymnastics
Federation failing to pay both Milo and Gogean soon surfaced. Both eventually
left their positions at Deva. Milo expressed her frustration to Prosport,
"I'm just sitting here, regretting the day when I decided not to go
to the US, thinking I could still do something here, in my own country."
On October 23rd, 1999, Milo married
her childhood friend, Cosmin Vinatu. According to Prosport,
Cosmin is a sergeant major in the police force. The two were childhood friends,
but lost touch when Milo moved to Deva. Then, in 1998, Milo was out with her
brother and a group of his friends and they ran into Cosmin at a bar. Needless
to say, Milo and Cosmin's friendship was renewed. Their wedding took place at
the Termal restaurant in Timisoara, with over 350 guests. Milo
told Prosport that the couple expected to live in Timisoara after
the wedding, though she does own a house in her hometown of Lugoj.
Most recently, in February 2002, Evenimentul Zilei
reported that Milo will join four former teammates (Gina Gogean, 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.
On March 20, 2004, Milo and husband Cosmin were surprised with the early arrival
of their first child - daughter Denise Florentina. Born 2 months early, and by
Ceasarean section, the baby weighed in at only 1.1 kg and with an Apgar score of
1. Expecting a boy, the couple had chosen the name Denis. When their young
daughter emerged, they modifed the name, to Denise. The middle name Florentina,
was chosen because of the upcoming holiday Floriilor (holiday of the flowers).
The Godmother is former teammate, Simona Amanar.
Many thanks to Ioana Jadic and Nicole Citroen for providing translations of Romanian news
. This page was created on April 17, 2000 and last updated March 2004.