Shy off the mat but poised on the podium, Romania's Anamaria Tamarjan is hoping to help her nation defend its title at the upcoming Olympics in Beijing.
Anamaria and her twin, Adriana Tamarjan, were born in Constanta on May 8, 1991. Both gymnasts quickly rose up the junior ranks, but injuries sidelined Adriana's chances for 2008.
Anamaria is no stranger to injury either, having missed the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart after getting hurt in podium training dismounting uneven bars. She rebounded in the spring of 2008 to help Romania recapture the team title at the European Championships in Clermond-Ferrand, France, where she also won the bronze medal on floor exercise. Tamarjan also finished fourth on balance beam in the preliminaries, but did not advance to the final because of the two-per-country rule.
Though she is currently struggling with a groin injury, Tamarjan is determined to do her part to continue Romania's strong Olympic tradition in Beijing.
IG contributor Ayako Murao recently caught up with the soft-spoken Tamarjan to find out more about her.
IG: When and why did you start gymnastics?
AT: I started doing gymnastics when I was 4 years old. My parents sent me to the gym because I was such a lively child.
IG: Did you have any favorite gymnasts?
AT: Nadia Comaneci.
IG: What did you think when you first started gymnastics?
AT: It was nice to do gymnastics and I liked it. I still like this sport very much.
IG: When did you join the Junior National Team in Onesti?
AT: When I was 12 years old.
IG: And when did you move to the national training center in Deva?
AT: When I was 14 or 15 years old.
IG: You didn't participate in the 2006 Junior European Championships in Volos....
AT: No, because I injured my elbow.
IG: And you were injured again right before the competition started at the 2007 Worlds.
AT: Yes, I broke my knee.
IG: So, you missed some bigger international competitions because of the injuries. How did you keep your motivation at those times?
AT: I had to trust myself [that I could] compete well, to perform well in gymnastics.
IG: Which apparatus is your favorite?
AT: Balance beam and floor exercise.
IG: In Clermont-Ferrand, I heard many photographers remark that you're very photogenic on floor exercise. Have you had any special artistic training, such as ballet lessons?
AT: Thank you very much for your words. I don't take any special ballet lessons. I started gymnastics in Ploiesti and there I learned the artistic program under Mrs. Doina Olaru. In Onesti and Deva, Ms. Crina and Mr. Puia Valer have taught me the artistic programs.
IG: Do you want to try the all-around competition in the future?
AT: If I can stay healthy, I can train a lot. I'd like to challenge and try my best as much as my health holds out.
IG: OK, now apart from gymnastics, what do you enjoy during your free time?
AT: Using the PC and listening to music with my iPod.
IG: What is your favorite music?
AT: I like listening to all kinds of music.
IG: Which country do you want to visit in the future?
AT: China — Beijing. After that I'd like to visit any place where the big competitions will be held. Also I like my country a lot. It's my native country and I want to stay in Romania in the future.
IG: Could you give us a message for your fans?
AT: Thank you very much for your kind support! And... [smiles shyly]
Anamaria Tamarjan, 2008 European Championships Floor Finals
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