Gina Gogean (born September 9, 1978) is a retired gymnast from Romania who competed internationally in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. During her career she won an impressive number of 30 medals at Olympic Games, world championships or continental championships. Her best events were the floor exercise (three-time world champion), the vault (two-time world champion) and the balance beam (1997 world champion). She was also an excellent all around gymnast winning several medals on this event, the European title in 1994, a silver Olympic medal (1996) and a silver medal at the 1993 World championships. She helped Romanian team win three consecutive world titles (1994, 1995 and 1997) and two Olympic team medals, a silver and a bronze (1992 and 1996). Gogean was a staple amongst the Romanian team in the 1990s, performing consistent, nerveless routines on all events and becoming one of leaders of her team. She was oft criticized, along with many of teammates, for her stoicism and safe, efficient style of gymnastics that lacked artistry and originality.
Early Life and Career
Gogean was born Câmpuri, Vrancea County, Romania. During her career, she competed under a passport that listed her birth year as 1977. However, in 2002 the Romanian newspaper ProSport obtained hospital records indicating that she had actually been born in 1978. Gogean and her mother have denied this, and her official birth year is still listed as 1977 or "unknown" in many sources. Gogean initially trained at CSS Focşani, near her home village, under the tutelage of Sergiu and Tatiana Popa. She made her international debut at the prestigious Japan Junior International meet in 1989, where she placed fourth in the all-around and took the gold medal on floor exercise.
By 1990, Gogean was representing Romania at major meets such as the Goodwill Games. She began to make a name for herself at the 1992 European Championships where she finished 2nd all-around and vault. She also won the floor exercise. Crowds and analysts were impressed with the young athlete's exceptional difficulty. She was equally impressive at 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. The youngest member of the experienced Romanian team, Gina put up some of the highest scores for her team throughout the compulsories and optionals. She won a team silver, finished 6th in the all-around, and was 5th on vault. Though her teammate and close friend Lavinia Miloşovici was one of the stars of the Olympics, Gina nonetheless had established herself as a gymnast to watch for in the future.
In a sport where athletes are constantly fighting the battle of time as well as their maturing bodies, Gina continued to be one of the top gymnasts in the world each year after the Olympics. She was criticized for her lack of artistry in her gymnastics (particularly her post-1992 routines), and her stoic demeanor. Nevertheless, each year her gymnastics continually showed improvement from the year prior and her results reflected that. She finished a close 2nd in the all-around behind rival Shannon Miller at the 1993 World Championships. Though she did not medal in the all-around the following year, she became the World Champion on vault, and won a bronze on floor. She also became the European All-Around Champion that year, and played a critical role in helping the Romanian team win the 1994 Team World Championship—the country's first since 1987. Gina will always be remembered for the horrendous fall she suffered in the qualifying rounds of this competition. While attempting a back handspring-layout-back handspring combination on beam, her foot slipped off the side and the back of her head slammed into the beam before she crashed to the floor. Miraculously, she suffered no injury, and only took an extra moment to collect herself before jumping back up on the beam.
Though Gina struggled in major all-around competition through 1995 and 1996, her gymnastics continued to improve and she won more individual event World titles. At the 1995 World Championships, she helped the Romanians win their second team title, and went on to win the bronze on vault and the gold on floor. She added two more golds to her haul at the 1996 World Championships on vault and floor. Going into the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Romanians were the favorites to win team gold. However, the Romanian team had several injuries, was under manned during the team portion and had a very lackluster performance in both compulsories and optionals. The end result was a disappointing 3rd. Gina, however, had a strong performance during the all-around and won the silver medal behind Lilia Podkopayeva of Ukraine. She also won two more bronze medals on the vault and beam. Her bronze medal on the balance beam was very controversial due to Russia's Dina Kotchetkova performing more difficulty but finishing lower than Gogean. This would repeat itself again a year later at the World Championships, when Khorkina and China's Kui Yuanyuan out performed Gogean on the Balance Beam, but Gina still ended up winning the Gold over both of their more difficult beam routines.
Her performances in the 1996 Olympics were particularly impressive, as Gina underwent an emergency appendectomy only 5 weeks before the competition. By a bizarre and miraculous stroke of luck, she had been traveling on a train to Bucharest at the time; which was the only city where hospitals could perform the kind of non-invasive surgery that Gina needed to return to training quickly. Had she received traditional surgery, she would not have been able to recommence light training for at least 6 weeks and would have missed the Olympics.
Most expected Gina to retire after the Olympics, but continued to compete after the retirement of Lavinia Miloşovici. She admitted in an ABC interview during the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland that the new Code of Points made gymnastics too difficult for her, and that she intended to retire after the competition was over. Gina, in the unfamiliar role of being the leader of the team, led the Romanians to their 3rd straight World team title. A clear crowd favorite, she performed well in the all-around finals, but finished just off the podium in 4th. She rebounded by winning the world title on beam (though it was somewhat controversial), and her third straight title on floor. All-in-all, Gina finished her career by winning 20 World and Olympic medals, nine of them gold. Though she may not have been the most crowd appealing gymnast at times, she was one of the most successful in gymnastics history and she established an impressive legacy for Romanian gymnastics.
|1989||Japan Junior International||4||1st|
|1990||Seattle Goodwill Games||3rd|
|1992||Arthur Gander Memorial||4|
|Nantes European Championships||2nd||2nd||1st|
|Barcelona Olympic Games||2nd||6||5|
|1993||Birmingham World Championships||2nd||3rd||2nd|
|1994||Stockholm European Championships||1st||1st||3rd|
|Brisbane World Championships||2nd||1st||3rd|
|Dortmund World Team Championships||1st|
|1995||Sabae World Championships||1st||3rd||1st|
|1996||Birmingham European Championships||1st||2nd|
|San Juan World Championships||1st||1st|
|Atlanta Olympic Games||3rd||2nd||3rd||3rd|
|Massilia Gym Cup||1st|
|Lausanne World Championships||1st||4||1st||1st|
|1998||Sabae World Cup Final||2nd||3rd||2nd|
1993- "Scotland the Brave"
1994- "Trepak" by James Last
1995-1996- "Havneu Shalom Alechem"
1997- "Zorba the Greek"
|World Vault Champions|
|Vlasta Děkanová • Helena Rakoczy • Anna Petersen • Larisa Latynina • Věra Čáslavská • Erika Zuchold • Olga Korbut • Nellie Kim • Dumitriţa Turner • Maxi Gnauck • Boriana Stoyanova • Elena Shushunova • Olesya Dudnik • Lavinia Miloşovici • Henrietta Ónodi • Elena Piskun • Gina Gogean • Simona Amânar | Lilia Podkopayeva • Gina Gogean • Simona Amânar • Elena Zamolodchikova • Svetlana Khorkina • Elena Zamolodchikova • Oksana Chusovitina • Cheng Fei • Kayla Williams • Alicia Sacramone • McKayla Maroney • Hong Un-Jong • Maria Paseka • Simone Biles|
|World Balance Beam Champions|
|Vlasta Děkanová • Helena Rakoczy • Keiko Tanaka • Larisa Latynina • Eva Bosáková • Natalia Kuchinskaya • Erika Zuchold • Nellie Kim • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nadia Comăneci • Vera Cerna • Maxi Gnauck • Olga Mostepanova • Daniela Silivaş • Aurelia Dobre • Daniela Silivaş • Svetlana Boginskaya • Kim Zmeskal • Lavinia Miloşovici • Shannon Miller • Mo Huilan • Dina Kochetkova • Gina Gogean • Ling Jie • Andreea Răducan • Ashley Postell • Fan Ye • Nastia Liukin • Iryna Krasnianska • Nastia Liukin • Deng Linlin • Ana Porgras • Sui Lu • Aliya Mustafina • Simone Biles • Pauline Schaefer • Liu Tingting|
|World Floor Exercise Champions|
|Matylda Pálfyová • Helena Rakoczy • Tamara Manina • Eva Bosáková • Larisa Latynina • Natalia Kuchinskaya • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nellie Kim | Elena Mukhina • Emilia Eberle • Natalia Ilienko • Ecaterina Szabo • Oksana Omelianchik • Daniela Silivaş | Elena Shushunova • Daniela Silivaş | Svetlana Boginskaya • Cristina Bontaş • Kim Zmeskal • Shannon Miller • Dina Kochetkova • Gina Gogean • Gina Gogean | Kui Yuanyuan • Gina Gogean • Andreea Răducan • Elena Gómez • Daiane Dos Santos • Alicia Sacramone • Cheng Fei • Shawn Johnson • Beth Tweddle • Lauren Mitchell • Ksenia Afanasyeva • Simone Biles • Mai Murakami • Simone Biles|
|European All-Around Champions|
|Larisa Latynina • Natalia Kot • Larisa Latynina • Marjana Bilic • Věra Čáslavská • Karin Janz • Tamara Lazakovich | Ludmilla Tourischeva • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nadia Comăneci • Maxi Gnauck • Olga Bicherova • Elena Shushunova • Daniela Silivaş • Svetlana Boginskaya • Tatiana Gutsu • Gina Gogean • Lilia Podkopayeva • Svetlana Khorkina • Alina Kozich • Marine Debauve • Vanessa Ferrari • Ksenia Semenova • Anna Dementyeva • Aliya Mustafina • Giulia Steingruber • Ellie Downie|
|European Balance Beam Champions|
|Larisa Latynina • Věra Čáslavská • Polina Astakhova • Eva Rydell • Věra Čáslavská • Karin Janz • Tamara Lazakovich • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nadia Comăneci • Elena Mukhina • Natalia Shaposhnikova • Maxi Gnauck • Lavinia Agache • Oksana Omelianchik • Daniela Silivaş • Gabriela Potorac | Olesya Dudnik • Svetlana Boginskaya • Gina Gogean • Roza Galiyeva • Yevgeniya Kuznetsova • Svetlana Khorkina • Ludmila Ezhova • Cătălina Ponor • Yulia Lozhechko • Ksenia Semenova • Yana Demyanchuk • Amelia Racea • Anna Dementyeva • Cătălina Ponor • Larisa Iordache • Maria Kharenkova • Andreea Munteanu • Aliya Mustafina • Cătălina Ponor • Sanne Wevers|