Former Romanian gymnast Daniela Druncea won a bronze medal at the Olympics on Saturday as a member of Romania's rowing team in Rio de Janeiro. Pictured: Druncea, at right, shows off her Olympic bronze medal with her teammates.
Druncea at the 2006 World Championships
Former Romanian gymnast Daniela Druncea won a bronze medal at the Olympics on Saturday as a member of Romania's rowing team in Rio de Janeiro.
Druncea, 25, was a member of Romania's world championships team that won the bronze at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, and she also competed at the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus. She was an alternate to Romania's 2008 Olympic team, which also won bronze in Beijing.
Druncea retired from gymnastics in 2009 and took up rowing, becoming a coxswain. The coxswain, also known as the helmsman, is responsible for controlling the boat's steering, speed, timing and fluidity and motivating the rowers. The ideal coxswain is also slight in stature, so as not to add too much additional weight to the boat. Druncea stands at 1.5 m (4' 11') and weighs 50 kg (110 lbs).
Druncea was part of Romania's rowing team that won gold at the 2013 and 2014 European championships.
On Saturday, Druncea helped Romania win the bronze medal in the women's coxed eight finals behind the United States and Great Britain in Rio de Janeiro. The team made a late surge to take bronze ahead of New Zealand and Canada. Romania finished fourth in the same event in 2012.
Druncea, who trained at Steaua Bucharest during her gymnastics career, said switching from gymnastics to rowing was not easy.
"Our program of gymnastics training camps and restrictions is known," she said in 2013. "Some of them resemble those of rowing. The training camp is just, that take place all throughout the year, only a few times and we go home. It was a hard transition. I knew some things about the performance. It's a different sport, and some days were harder. I understood that I must quickly learn everything I needed and everything that involves rowing. After that, all was well. I have a very good relationship with the girls, communicate, they help me a lot and I learned a lot from them. My teammates have great experience."
Druncea is not the first Romanian gymnast to switch to rowing. 2000 Olympic gold medalist Claudia Presăcan had a brief career as a coxswain, competing at the 2001 University Games.