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World Sports Award 2000

"I felt like a Queen"

Two-time Olympic champion Simona Amānar returned home late    Wednesday night after attending the World Sport Awards in London on Tuesday with coach Octavian Belu. The Romanian gymnast was one of the 15 winners, taking home a bronze statue of a stylized athlete.

Even though Simona wore a simple two-piece business suit at the airport, she looked just as radiant as she did at the awards ceremony. "The dress is in my bag. It's superb; I've been dreaming about a design like this for years. It was done in Deva and it took quite a lot of work," explained Simona, wearing the same hair style as yesterday. "I had my hair done by the hair dressers who were brought in especially for this event." The gymnast also said she was overwhelmed with emotion when she heard her name called [as the winner]. "At the Open section, where I was nominated, my main competitor was Russia's Yulia Barsukova from rhythmic gymnastics. I was a little afraid of her." The Constanta native said she was impressed with track star Marion Jones, whom she described as "a strong personality, but at the same time very down-to-earth and sociable." Besides the trophy she received, Simona's best memories from London include getting her picture taken with Marion Jones and Roger More, the host of the show. "I'll never forget being congratulated by Princess Rania of Jordan, who is stunningly beautiful. What can I say, everything seemed like a dream. I felt like a queen."

Coach Octavian Belu added that "I cant think of a better way for Simona to end her career." The Olympic Champion added her last competitive appearance will be in the "Stars of Romanian Gymnastics" gala set to take place in Cluj, Timisoara and Oradea in February.


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