Lavinia Milosovici (ROM)

Milo performs at the 1993 Chunichi Cup
Photo used with the expressed permission
of Sato Takeo of the OEFC Gymnastics Gallery

For a thorough listing of Milo's competitive results, please visit Gymn Forum's Lavinia Milosovici bio.

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 the 1990s.

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 articles.

. This page was created on April 17, 2000 and last updated March 2004.

 

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