Carrying on a legacy
Doha (QAT) March 10, 2017: Catalina Ponor is one of the last of a dying breed of Romanian gymnasts who once dominated the world under Nadia Comaneci.
Born in 1987 in the seaside city of Constanta, Ponor was one of the performers who won gold in the team, floor and balance beam events at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but announced her retirement after she won a silver in floor and bronze with the team at the 2012 London Games.
She competed in her first major meet in 2003 when she took part in the Artistic World Championships California, USA, and won silver in the team event on her 16th birthday. She went on to win two more silver medals, on the beam and in the floor exercise.
She came out of retirement to help her nation qualify for the Rio Games last year after their disappointing campaigns at the 2015 World Championships and the Olympic test event in April, but the 29-year-old earned her berth as the country’s sole individual competitor at last year’s
Olympics where she came seventh in balance beam.
Her courage to compete after staying in the wilderness for four years and dedication are still being talked about by her aficionados.
Ponor, who became the first gymnast to be a flag bearer for the opening ceremony at Rio, will be one of the stars in Doha, where she had won beam event with 14.650 points while Brazil’s Thauany Araujo (14.150) and Portugal’s Ana Filipa Martins (13.900) finished second and third respectively.