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Simona Amanar was born on October 7, 1979, and hails from Constanta, Romania.

 

Her family includes her father Vasile, who works in manufacturing, her mother Sofia, a housewife and her younger brother Andrei.

 

Amanar's favorite apparatus is the vault and her least favorite is the balance beam.

 

She was coached by Nicolae Forminte at Farul Constanta and by Octavian Belu in Deva.

 

Gymnasts she most admires are Nadia Comaneci and the great Vitaly Scherbo.

 

Amanar cited her preferred country to be Italy.

 

She favors action films and adores Jean-Claude Van Damme.

 

Amanar is known affectionately as "Zadacila" a Romanian word that has similar meaning to "absent-minded," a good-natured moniker referring to Simona's reputation for forgetting things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

more about Amanar...

Simona Amanar, or Simi to her team mates,  started gymnastics when she was six years old. Her parents saw gymnastics on TV and took her to the gym, where she fell in love with the sport almost immediately and made the decision to carry on.

 

Hence her gymnastics career began in Club Farul in her hometown of Constanta with coach Nicolae Forminte. Coach Forminte was rather impressed with the young Amanar, and recalls that she had a lot of speed and power, combined with the ability to endure the rigorous training required of a top gymnast. Eventually, she was selected to train at the National training centre at Deva under the great Romanian coach Octavian Belu, and became a National squad member.

 

Amanar has always been a consistent performer since her debut in 1994, contributing much to the Romanian gymnastics team. An impressive vaulter, she has won many vault titles in numerous international competitions, including the 1996 Olympics. Being incredibly shy, she is most comfortable blending in the background. She's more than happy to let outspoken teammates like Lavinia Milosovici and Alexandra Marinescu take center stage, while she quietly hones her craft.

 

In 1995, Amanar began to command attention. She was second AA at the European Cup, second AA at the Romanian Nationals, after Lavinia Milosovici, and placed 4th at the World championships. she took the vault title at the World championships, and also contributed to the team gold.

 

1996 was a fruitful year for the tenacious gymnast. At the European championships, she was place 4th, after Lilia Podkopayeva, Svetlana Boguinskaya and compatriot Lavinia Milosovici. She then went on to claim the vault and uneven bars title, and placed 6th for the floor exercise.  At the International Romanian championships, Amanar was the AA winner, beating countrywomen Milosovici and Gina Gogean. At the San Juan World Cup, she got the silver medal for vault, after Gogean, and was the most successful Romanian gymnast at the 1996 Olympic games, where she won 4 medals. Amanar initially did not qualify for the all-around due to an unexpected fall on the balance beam at the qualifying round. However, Octavian Belu decided to replace her instead of original qualifier Alexandra Marinescu since Amanar's score was the team's highest at the optional phase of the competition. At that competition, Amanar was the most impressive on floor, performing to the Nutrocker. Her floor music had to be turned up due to the racket the American audience was creating, but she remained unfazed, and delivered the best score of the day, a 9.887. Not disappointing Belu for letting her have a chance, Amanar took the bronze medal at the All-around, sharing with team mate Lavinia Milosovici, and claimed the vault title at the event final, ahead of China's Mo Huilan and team mate Gina Gogean. She also won the silver medal for the floor exercise event final, just behind the All-Around champion Podkopayeva, and the team bronze medal. Due to the success that she enjoyed in the year, Amanar was named the best Romanian athlete 1996. Previous winners of this award include Nadia Comaneci, Lavinia Milosovici, and Gina Gogean.

 

n 1997, under the leadership of Gogean, the Romanian team retained their team gold medal at the World championships at Lausanne. Amanar has now became a veteran of the team. 

IAt this World championships, similar to the Olympics, Amanar did not qualify for the all-around, and once again Belu replaced her instead of Marinescu. Performing under pressure, she did not disappoint again, placing second at the all-around, after Russia's Svetlana Khorkina, and bagged the vault title again. She was also the 1st AA at the Romanian Nationals, and won gold on vault, silver on beam, and bronze on the uneven bars.  Amanar placed 1st all-around in variuos meets in the year, like the DTB cup, Arthur Gander Memorial, Grand Prix of Rome, ROM-GER dual meet and the ITA-ROM-UKR meet.

At the 1998 European championships, Amanar placed 2nd in the all-around, after Khorkina, won the silver on vault, and bronze on the beam and the floor exercise. Together with Gogean, they led the Romanian team to a first place finish, marking Gogean's last competition. Back home, at the Romanian Nationals, Amanar won the all-around, and gold on vault, uneven bars and the floor exercise.

 

In 1999, Amanar found her self being propelled to being the team leader after Gogean's retirement. She led the Romanian team to gold at the International Team Championships. At the world championships, she led her team mates to gold, retaining their World team title. She was right on track for the All-Around gold, but an unfortunate fall off the uneven bars forced her down to a 14th place finish. However, she made up for that mistake with silver on the vault and the floor exercise. At the Romanian International, Amanar took the gold medal in the all-around, vault, balance beam and the floor exercise. At the Romanian Nationals, mistake caused her to place 11th in the All-Around, but she did manage to get a silver on vault and gold on floor.

 

Amanar did not get a good start in the year 2000. At the European championships, she did again, lead the Romanian team to gold. However, she made the same mistake as the one in the Tianjin Worlds in the All-Around final, causing her to slide down to 14th AA. This has caused some resentment by the Romanian Gymnastics Federation president Nicolae Vieru. She was said to have problems in concentration due to previous mishaps. Despite all that head coach Octavian Belu professes that Amanar has an abundance of talent and revealed that the only reason he stayed with the team is the belief of Amanar's chances at the Olympics. At the Sydney Olympics, Amanar was the only Olympian from the Romanian gymnastics team, and the only All-Around medalist from Atlanta to be competing at Sydney. She led a relatively young group of team mates, with several of them being first time seniors. Nonetheless, performing with consistency, the Romanians won the much coveted team gold, the first in a non-boycotted Olympics for Romania. Much of the credit was attributed to Amanar, who leads the team whenever they go to their next event, or intervenes discreetly when the gymnasts make a mistake in the line-up. Qualifying for the all-around final, she was not among the hot favorites to win. Team mates Andreea Raducan and Maria Olaru were much favored for winning the All-Around title. Amanar's career, up till now, has yet to produce an individual All-Around title. The Olympics would probably be her last chance. Unfortunately, team mate  Raducan beat her to the All-Around medal, by 0.251 points, with Olaru placing 3rd, making it a 1-2-3 finish for Romania. However, Raducan tested positve for banned substance in her body, and her All-Around title was stripped off, propelling Amanar to All-Around gold medalist. She initially refused to accept the tainted gold medal, declaring that the right ownership of the gold medal belongs to Raducan, but soften her stance when Raducan's father told her and Olaru that no matter what, he is glad that the gold medal will still belong to Romania.  At the event finals, Amanar botched her vault, causing her to place 6th, and due to the trouble with the Internaional Olympic Commitee about Raducan's case, Amanar lacks concentration at the floor exercise, stepping out of bounds at the very end, but still managed to claim the bronze medal. 

 

After the Olympics, Amanar announced that she will retire immediately, and will become a gymnastics coach, and wishes to train an Olympic champion with her own hands.

She did manage to compete at the Chunichi Cup, placing 1st All-Around and winning the gold on vault. She then competed in her very last competition at the World Cup final, winning silver on the vault and beam, and a bronze medal on the floor exercise.

 

Back home in Romania, a celebration was made for the return of the gold medal to Raducan. Amanar ended her career in style. For all her achievements in gymnastics, Amanar was awarded the World Sports Award 2000 held in London in the athletics category.

 

In the year 2001, Amanar has kept herself busy. Aside from being nominated as president for Constanta's commission to promote "tolerance and fair play in sports", she now teaches gymnastics classes at an elementary school in Timisoara. She teaches a total of 9 classes in the afternoon (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday) and still attends college in the morning. She hopes to eventually start a separate class for aspiring gymnasts, no doubt, keeping her promise of training an Olympian with her own hands.