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Maria Olaru
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Olaru at the 2000 Olympic Games

Full name

Maria Ludovica Olaru

Country represented

Flag of Romania.png Romania

Born

June 4 1982 (1982-06-04) (age 39)
Falticeni, Suceava County, Moldavia, Romania

Years on National Team

1993-2000

Coach(es)

Octavian Belu & Mariana Bitang

Current status

Retired

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 Career

Olaru at the 1999 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships

In 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

From left: Isarescu, Amanar, Raducan, Olaru, Boboc, and Presacan with their team gold medals

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-

From left: Amanar, Raducan, and Olaru with their all-around medals

around (this was changed to a silver after the Andreea Raducan scandal). She also qualified for the balance beam event final and placed sixth.

Retirement

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.

Medal Count

Year Event TF AA VT UB BB FX
1996 Birmingham Junior European Championships 1st
Top Gym Trophy 1st
Romanian International 3rd
1997 Arthur Gander Memorial 3rd
Romanian International 1st 1st
Massilia Gym Cup 1st
International Team Championships 1st 1st
1998 Romanian International 2nd 1st
International Team Championships 2nd 3rd
Saint Petersburg European Championships 1st 2nd
1999 Tianjin World Championships 1st 1st
Chunichi Cup 1st
Massilia Gym Cup 1st
Hungarian International 2nd
2000 Arthur Gander Memorial 2nd
Hungarian International 1st
Romanian International 1st
Swiss Cup 3rd
Paris European Championships 3rd
Sydney Olympic Games 1st 2nd 6
Romanian National Championships 4

Floor Music

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 DěkanováHelena RakoczyGalina RudkoLarisa LatyninaVěra ČáslavskáLudmilla TourischevaElena MukhinaNellie KimOlga BicherovaNatalia YurchenkoElena Shushunova | Oksana OmelianchikAurelia DobreSvetlana BoginskayaKim ZmeskalShannon MillerLilia PodkopayevaSvetlana KhorkinaMaria OlaruSvetlana KhorkinaChellsie MemmelVanessa FerrariShawn JohnsonBridget SloanAliya MustafinaJordyn WieberSimone BilesMorgan HurdSimone Biles


European Junior Vault Champions
Emilia EberleEcaterina SzaboTatiana FrolovaAurelia Dobre • Svetlana Ivanova • Lavinia Miloşovici • Michal Shahaf • Ana Maria BicanMaria Olaru • Anna Kovalyova • Sabina CojocarAnna PavlovaSvetlana Klyukina • Karina Myasnikova • Viktoria KomovaChantysha NettebEllie DownieMartina MaggioAsia D'AmatoAna Maria Bărbosu


Romanian National All-Around Champions
Elena Ceampelea • Anca Grigoraș • Nadia Comăneci • Cristina Itu • Emilia EberleLavinia AgacheEcaterina SzaboDaniela Silivaş | Ecaterina SzaboDaniela SilivaşCristina BontaşLavinia MiloşoviciSimona AmânarMaria OlaruSimona Amânar | Andreea RăducanSabina Cojocar | Silvia StroescuAura Andreea MunteanuCătălina PonorSandra IzbaşaSteliana NistorAna PorgrasLarisa IordacheSilviana SfiringuIoana StanciulescuSilviana Sfiringu