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Marian Dragulescu: Rules Must Be Respected
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Romanian star Marian Dragulescu told IG he accepts the responsibility for failing to follow the anti-doping requirements that led to his warning from the International Gymnastics Federation.

"Rules are rules and must be respected," he said at the recent quadrangular meet in Greece.

Eight-time world champion Marian Dragulescu (Romania)

On Aug. 25, the FIG publicly scolded the Romanian Gymnastics Federation and Dragulescu because he was not reregistered as active in 2009 when he returned from his post-Beijing retirement. The federation also reprimanded Dragulescu, who won golds on floor exercise and vault at the 2009 Worlds in London, for not keeping updated records of his locations in 2010. Active gymnasts must track their whereabouts online to assist anti-doping agencies in conducting random out-of-competition testing.

"It was my mistake. I had misunderstood," said Dragulescu, a three-time Olympian. "A guy from the Romanian Anti-Doping Agency had told to me how to fill out the whereabout forms, but obviously I didn't get it. I thought I had understood how to do it, but I didn't. Now, I have learned how to do it right!"

Dragulescu had retired following the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and began coaching. He decided to return to training full-time in the spring of 2009.

"At the moment I'm a full-time gymnast, no coaching for me," he said. "It's very difficult to do both at the same time. Only Michael Jordan could do everything at the same time!"

After missing April's European Championships with an injury, the 29-year-old Dragulescu returned to competition in July at the Japan Cup in Tokyo. He competed three events Aug. 28 in Thessaloniki, where the Greek men hosted teams from Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania. He said he plans to compete the same events — floor exercise, vault and high bar — at the world championships next month in Rotterdam.

"I'm not 100 percent fit yet," he said. "However, I'm working on a more demanding routine on floor. Last year I won in London with a 6.6 difficulty score, but I need to raise my start value because now they all do 6.8-6.9. I hope to have my 6.8 routine ready for the world championships, as well. On vault, I will repeat my 7.0 and 7.2 vaults from last year. There is no need to change them."

Since 2001, Dragulescu has won four world titles on floor exercise and four on vault. He won both events at the same world championships in 2001, 2006 and 2009, but says he will be satisfied with just one win in Rotterdam.

"My aim in Rotterdam, individually, will be to win a gold medal," he said. "I will be happy with one gold. If I get to win two, I will be twice as happy! If I had to choose, I would probably choose vault. Floor exercise is more difficult to win, there is such pressure. On the other hand, on vault you just run, kick the springboard and wait!"

Dragulescu was the first gymnast to perform a handspring double front vault with a half twist, which he debuted in 2000. His top rival for the vault title in Rotterdam could be North Korean sensation Ri Se Gwang, who this year has been competing a piked Dragulescu and a Tsukahara double back with a full twist. Both of Ri's vaults are valued at 7.2 difficulty.

Dragulescu was impressed after seeing Ri's new vaults on YouTube.

"He is a crazy man!" he said.

Dragulescu, who turns 30 in December, is searching still for his first Olympic gold medal after disappointments in 2004 and 2008. In Athens, he tied Canada's Kyle Shewfelt for first place on floor exercise, but a tie-break left him with the silver. In the vault final, he nailed his Dragulescu for 9.9, but fell badly on his second attempt, managing to walk away with the bronze and a back injury. In Beijing, he again fell on his second vault in the final, finishing fourth.

"My main motivation is my wish to win an Olympic gold medal," he said. "I will try to make it happen in London. I believe that you have to be 100 percent prepared and also have a little bit of luck, in order to win in the Olympic Games."

Dragulescu is scheduled to compete next at the Romanian Gymnastics Championships, Sept. 17-19 in Resita.

Contributing: Stelios Karaoglanidis in Thessaloniki

External Link: Romanian Gymnastics Federation

Comments (1)add comment

Stacy said:

Love Dragulescu. I'm glad he's continuing to 2012.
September 08, 2010
Votes: +1

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