Oana Ban : biography
Oana Mihaela Ban (born January 11, 1986 in Cluj-Napoca) Oana Ban is a retired Romanian artistic gymnast. She is an Olympic gold medalist with the team and a world silver medalist on beam and with the team. Her best events were the floor and the balance beam. Oana Ban
With her early January birth date, Ban missed the eligibility cutoff for the 2001 World Championships by 11 days. She was forced to wait until 2002 to make her international senior debut. At the 2002 World Championships in Debrecen, Ban won a silver medal on the balance beam, one of Romania’s only victories of the competition, and placed fourth on the floor finals. 2002 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships Later that year she placed second all around at the Chunichi Cup (behind teammate Oana Petrovschi) 2002 Chunichi Cup and won the Massilia Cup. 2002 Massilia Gym Cup In 2003, Ban had a similarly strong showing, contributing to the Romanian team’s silver medal at the 2003 World Championships and placing sixth in the all-around final. 2003 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships Women Team 2003 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships Women All Around That year she successfully competed in several international competitions, winning the all around silver medal at the Gander Memorial behind Cătălina Ponor 2003 Gander Memorial and the all around bronze medal at the 2003 Chunichi cup behind Andreea Munteanu and Svetlana Khorkina. 2003 Chunichi Cup She also won silver on beam at the 2003 Cottbus Cup 2003 Cottbus Cup and the 2003 DTB Cup 2003 DTP Cup and won the Swiss cup together with Marian Drăgulescu. 2003 Swiss Cup
Oana’s career highlight came at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where she, along with teammates Monica Roșu, Alexandra Eremia, Cătălina Ponor, Daniela Şofronie and Silvia Stroescu, won the gold medal in the team competition. Ban contributed heavily to the Romanian victory, competing on uneven bars, balance beam, and floor in the team finals. 2004 Athens Olympic Games Women Team Finals Individually, she qualified for both the all-around and the floor exercise final. She also placed fifth in the qualifications for the balance beam final but she could not compete due to the two per country rule. Unfortunately, an injury sustained on her last event in the team competition forced her to sit out both competitions and essentially ended her Olympic experience. For Ban, the situation was unfortunate: she had qualified to the all-around in an impressive third place; her qualifying floor score would have been good enough for second place. She was replaced in the floor final by Daniela Şofronie who won the silver medal. Daniela Şofronie
During her career, Ban specialized on floor exercise and beam. Her favorite event was floor; she was renowned for her difficult tumbling and fast-paced, playful, crowd-pleasing choreography. As many of her Romanian teammates, her weakness was the uneven bars. In spite of her powerful tumbling skills and strength, Ban was not an especially strong vaulter. Nonetheless, she was able to perform as an all-around gymnast for the Romanian team, and posted scores that frequently placed her in the top ten at major competitions. She qualified in third place for the Olympic all-around in Athens and would have been a medal contender had injury not prevented it.
Oana Ban started to train for gymnastics in her hometown at "Viitorul" Gymnastics Club with coaches Rodica Câmpean and Anton Ciupe. "Following in Vanda Hadarean’s Footsteps" English translation from Romanian Ban quickly rose to prominence as one of Romania’s top junior world-class gymnasts. She competed in her first Romanian national championships in 1998, winning the floor exercise event in the junior division. The following year, she was invited to join the Romanian national team, and began working with coaches Octavian Belu and Mariana Bitang at the elite training facility in Deva. Success in major international junior meets soon followed, including a first-place finish at the Top Gym tournament in Belgium in 1999 Top Gym 1999 and a bronze medal at the 2001 European Youth Olympic Days. 2001 European Youth Olympic Days
Ban retired from gymnastics after the Olympics; she is currently a coach in her hometown of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She participated in the 4th televised competition of Kunoichi in Japan. She made it past the First Stage of the competition, but failed on the Floating Bridge of Stage 2.