Marian Drăgulescu : biography
Marian Drăgulescu (born December 18, 1980 in Bucharest) is a Romanian artistic gymnast. During his senior gymnastics career he has won an impressive number of 26 medals at Olympic games, World or European Championships among which eight gold medals at World Championships. He excelled in vault and floor on which he was a multiple world champion and Olympic medallist. His name will remain the history of gymnastics not only because of his world titles on floor (2001, 2002, 2006, 2009) and vault (2001, 2005, 2006, 2009), but also because of the extremely spectacular and difficult vault named after him: handspring double front somersault with half turn. He was also an excellent all around gymnast: On the all around event he is a European champion (2004) and a bronze medallist (2000), and placed 8th at the 2004 Olympic Games.
Early life and career
As a young boy, Dragulescu only attended gymnastics lessons because they were an excuse to get out of karate. However as training became more intense he decided to switch to swimming because it was free. His father was not aware that his son was not at gymnastics. But Marian soon went back to the gym as swimming was no longer free after three months. His debut as a junior at a major international competition was in 1998 European Championships in St. Petersburg. Here he won gold for pommel horse, silver on vault, bronze on floor and with the team and placed eight all around. 23rd European Artistic Gymnastics Championships
His first participation as a senior at a major event was at the 1999 World Championships, where he placed fourth on vault, eight on high bar 1999 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships Events Finals and 26th all around. 1999 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships Events Finals One year later he won an all-around bronze, a gold on floor and a silver with the team at the 2000 European championships in Bremen ahead of the Sydney Games. His debut at the Olympic Games in 2000 was rather modest, coming sixth on the floor and 13th in the all-around. He soon overcame the disappointment suffered in Sydney at the world championships at Ghent in Belgium the following year, where he was in top form, winning gold on the floor and on vault. In 2002 he added three more gold medals to his collection on two on vault and with the team and a bronze on floor at the 2002 Europeans and at the 2002 Worlds. For his achievements he was awarded the “Gymnast of the Year Award” (2002) by the International Press Association. Gymnastics Champions Honored, May 10, 2003 He received this award during the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim. Here he won silver on vault, placed fourth on floor in a final in which silver was not awarded, sixth all around and fourth with the team.
2004 and the Olympic Games
The 2004 European Championships in Ljubljana were an especially successful met for Drăgulescu. He helped his team to defend their title previously won in 2002. Romania Defends Title, April 16, 2004 Additionally, Marian won the all around title, and gold medals on floor and on vault. The only other gymnast to win four gold medals at a European Championships was Nadia Comăneci, who captured four gold medals at the 1975 European Championships. Marian Drăgulescu His success at the 2004 Europeans made him one of the favorites for medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. At the 2004 Olympic Games Drăgulescu helped his team to a bronze medal and was a forerunner in the all around event until a mistake on the high bar, after which he still thrilled the crowd with a difficult routine. He won silver in the men's floor only after a tiebreaker was needed with gold medalist Kyle Shewfelt. On the men's vault he performed the exceptionally difficult vault that bears his name (a handspring double front with half turn) and received a 9.9, the highest score awarded in World or Olympic competition since 1995. It seemed he needed only to land his second vault to take gold, but he fell. However Drăgulescu was still awarded the bronze, a controversial decision because the disparity between the judges scores was greater than is permitted and therefore some or all of them should have been altered. They were not, and Shewfelt was pushed into fourth place. The Canadian federation filed a protest, but the result stood. In 2005 the judges involved were suspended for one year.
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