gymnast of the month June/July 1998
Though teammate Gina Gogean's retirement has, so far, taken the better part of a year, few would argue that Simona Amanar now leads the Romanian squad. Romanian head coach Octavian Belu has hinted that Amanar's boundless talent is the only thing keeping him in Deva. If Romania's hopes rest on her dainty shoulders, she has yet to disappoint.
Amanar recently led a Gogean-less squad to the European team title and finished a hair behind world champion Svetlana Khorkina in the all-around finals. Then at the World Cup in May, Amanar took home two of the four titles (vault and floor), with Gogean settling for silver on both.
The reigning world and European all-around silver medalist, she shared the Olympic overall bronze with Lavinia Milosovici.
Only 18, she already owns an astonishing 11 world and Olympic medals, six of them gold.
She began gymnastics after seeing a local competition. "It looked like so much fun," she said. "I went to the gym." In 1992, she moved to Deva to join the national team.
Her father, Vasile, is a welder and mother, Sofita, is a housewife. She has one brother, Adrian, who is 17. Amanar says she enjoys movies and detective stories. After gymnastics Amanar says that she would like to be coach in Romania.