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Taranu Aims to be 'Essential' for Germany
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World championship medalist Thomas Taranu told IG this week he intends to fortify the German team at this summer's Olympic Games in London.

A team medalist at the 2004 European Junior Championships and 2010 World Championships, German gymnast Thomas Taranu told IG this week he intends to fortify the German team at this summer's Olympic Games in London.

"Especially on rings and vault, the German team needs excellent and strong athletes," said Taranu, a member of Germany's bronze medal-winning team at the 2010 Worlds in Rotterdam and its sixth-place team at the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo. "I try to prepare my exercises as well as possible. My goal is to become an essential part of the German team."

The 24-year-old Taranu said he is confident he can earn a spot on the five-man team for London, despite all-around depth provided by Philip Boy, the 2010 and 2011 world all-around silver medalist; Fabian Hambüchen, a two-time Olympian and the 2007 world all-around bronze medalist; and Marcel Nguyen, who placed eighth all-around at the 2011 Worlds. All four gymnasts were born from July through October 1987.

"I am planning to be convincing on my best apparatuses, rings and vault, and gain important points for the German team result," said Taranu, who is coached by Alexei Grigoriev at the KTV Straubenhardt club, which is the current German team champion. "With my other apparatuses, I will try to convince our head coach with a consistently good performance."

Also expected to challenge for spots on the team are Eugen Spiridonov, who placed 10th all-around at the 2005 Worlds in Melbourne and 17th all-around at the 2010 Worlds; and Sebastian Krimmer, whose clutch performance on pommel horse clinched the team bronze for Germany at the 2010 Worlds.

"Generally my exercises are complete, but in the next few months I will work hard on the quality of the execution," said Taranu, who won three apparatus medals at the 2011 German championships. "There are good chances for a higher score if the execution is accurate."

Despite Germany's sixth-place performance in the team finals at last year's worlds, Taranu said his team will be a medal contender in London.

"I believe China, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and Germany have the best chance to fight for the team medals," he said. "These teams are really strong, and I am sure that the teams with the fewest mistakes will win the medals, whereas China and Japan are the favorite teams for gold and silver."

Taranu also has family ties to Romania, which placed eighth at the 2011 Worlds after one of its gymnasts scored zero on vault.

"My mother is German and my father is Romanian," said Taranu, who was born in Niefern. "They met each other on vacation in Romania. But I grew up in Germany and don't even speak Romanian."

In addition to steadiness, Taranu said teamwork will be essential to German success in London.

"I believe the team mentality has to be really good in London," he told IG. "If we get along with one another and have a strong mentality, we can accomplish our goals. The team spirit has to be good."

International Gymnast magazine related features:
2011 World Championships special issue (December 2011)
"Fast Mender" – short Nguyen profile (June 2011)
Boy interview, 2011 European Championships coverage (May 2011)
"Clutch Horse Ride" – Krimmer profile (January 2011)
2010 World Championships special issue (December 2010)
Hambüchen cover story (November 2007)
2007 World Championships special issue (October 2007)
Hambüchen on cover, 2007 European Championships coverage (June 2007)
Hambüchen center poster (April 2007)
"German Giants" - Hambüchen/Waldemar Eichorn profile (May 2003)

To order back issues, click here.

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