Maria Ludovica Olaru (born June 4, 1982 in Fălticeni) is a retired Olympic artistic gymnast from Romania. She is an Olympic, world, and European gold medalist with the team. Individually, she is the 1999 all around world champion and the 2000 Olympic all around silver medalist. Her best event was the vault on which she medaled at world and continental competitions. Olaru was one of the tallest gymnasts competing in the late 1990s, standing 5'3"/160 cm. After retirement she became an assistant professor at the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education of the West University of Timişoara.
Early Life and Career
Olaru began gymnastics at the age of six in her hometown of Fălticeni, but quickly transferred to the local gymnastics club in Deva. She moved up to the junior national team in 1993, but after six months, she returned to her home club. In 1995 she rejoined the junior team in Bucharest. Olaru graduated to the Deva national training facility in 1996, after winning gold on vault at the Junior European Championships. In the same year she also won the prestigious Top Gym Trophy in Charleroi, Belgium.
Senior CareerIn 1998 Olaru moved up to senior competition, taking first place with the Romanian team and second on vault at the European Championships. The following year, she contributed to the team gold medal at the 1999 World Championships in Tianjin, China and became the second Romanian gymnast in history, after Aurelia Dobre, to win the all-around title. In 2000 she was together with Simona Amânar, Loredana Boboc, Andreea Isărescu, Claudia Presacan and Andreea Răducan a member of the Romanian team at the 2000 Olympics. Here she shared in the team gold medal and won a bronze in the all-around (this was changed to a silver after the Andreea Raducan scandal). She also qualified for the balance beam event final and placed sixth.
Olaru retired after the 2000 Olympics, noting that the new Code of Points would not be suited to gymnasts of her height, and enrolled as a student at the West University of Timişoara. After graduation she continued her studies and she became an assistant professor at the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education of the West University of Timişoara.
|1996||Birmingham Junior European Championships||1st|
|Top Gym Trophy||1st|
|1997||Arthur Gander Memorial||3rd|
|Massilia Gym Cup||1st|
|International Team Championships||1st||1st|
|International Team Championships||2nd||3rd|
|Saint Petersburg European Championships||1st||2nd|
|1999||Tianjin World Championships||1st||1st|
|Massilia Gym Cup||1st|
|2000||Arthur Gander Memorial||2nd|
|Paris European Championships||3rd|
|Sydney Olympic Games||1st||2nd||6|
|Romanian National Championships||4|
1996 - "Perhaps"
1997 - "Inspiration"
1998-1999 - "Invisible Circus" by Vienna Symphony Orchestra
2000 - "Black Cat, White Cat" by Emir Kusturcia
|World All-Around Champions|
|Vlasta Děkanová • Helena Rakoczy • Galina Rudko • Larisa Latynina • Věra Čáslavská • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Elena Mukhina • Nellie Kim • Olga Bicherova • Natalia Yurchenko • Elena Shushunova | Oksana Omelianchik • Aurelia Dobre • Svetlana Boginskaya • Kim Zmeskal • Shannon Miller • Lilia Podkopayeva • Svetlana Khorkina • Maria Olaru • Svetlana Khorkina • Chellsie Memmel • Vanessa Ferrari • Shawn Johnson • Bridget Sloan • Aliya Mustafina • Jordyn Wieber • Simone Biles|
|European Junior Vault Champions|
|Maria Olaru • Anna Kovalyova • Sabina Cojocar • Anna Pavlova • Svetlana Klyukina • Karina Myasnikova • Viktoria Komova • Chantysha Netteb • Ellie Downie •|
|Romanian National Champions|
|Elena Ceampelea • Anca Grigoraș • Nadia Comăneci • Cristina Itu • Emilia Eberle • Lavinia Agache • Ecaterina Szabo • Daniela Silivaş | Ecaterina Szabo • Daniela Silivaş • Cristina Bontaş • Lavinia Miloşovici • Simona Amânar • Maria Olaru • Simona Amânar | Andreea Răducan • Sabina Cojocar | Silvia Stroescu • Aura Andreea Munteanu • Cătălina Ponor • Sandra Izbaşa • Steliana Nistor • Ana Porgras • Larisa Iordache|