Catching up with … CORINA UNGUREANU

Fan favorite Corina competed internationally in the 90s and won 2 World and 1 European title with the Romanian team. In 1998 she also became European Champion on floor. Corina talks to UEG about her life after gymnastics and her new-found love for … golf!
UEG: Can you tell us what you have been doing since you retired from gymnastics?

Ungureanu: I retired long time ago…15 years! Since then I have done and tried to do many things. First, I’m a highly qualified coach, national judge and graduated from the Sport University in Bucharest. I got involved in all kinds of sports activities I was asked to join. All these things I did between 2000 and 2007. In 2007 I decide to leave my country for the UK, to coach, more exactly in Isle of Man. I came back home at the end of 2011 when I was ready to try to get more involved in Sport through politics. So, in 2012 I became the personal consigliere of sport for the Mayor of Ploiesti. I had the chance to make very good programmes for athletes, for kids and to promote the different sport activities in Ploiesti. Then in May 2014, I was an independent candidate for the European Parliament. It was a good experience for me. Even if I didn’t make it, I had the chance to see a different reality than the one I knew about politics. I realized how much Romanian sport needs to be represented by people who know the needs of Romanian sport education. I’m still involved in different programs for promoting physical education in my town and my country. I also wrote and released my autobiographic book named “Corina Ungureanu: My Story”. But, I hope one day soon I will have the chance to do more!
UEG: Are you still active in gymnastics (as a coach, judge, still exercising etc)? Or any other sports?
Ungureanu: Yes, I’m coaching now, along with 2 ex champion gymnasts from Petrolul Ploiesti, Anamaria Tamarjan and Adriana Tamarjan. We started with a large group in January this year and so far I can tell, we are happy to say, we have at least 5 girls with huge potential for the future. For myself, I have discovered a new favorite sport … golf!

UEG: Do you keep in touch with your former teammates?
Ungureanu: Yes, I’m still in touch with my colleagues from my generation but not only them, also with gymnasts from other generations. We try every 2 months to get together for dinner and whenever we meet we have a great time!

UEG: What’s your favorite moment in gymnastics? And in life?
Ungureanu: My favorite moment in gymnastics remains the Floor Final in the European Championships in 1998. But in life, I have many great moments! Like I said, God give me the chance to have many great moments so far. More than hard moments I want to think…?
UEG: Experienced gymnasts like Marian Dragulescu, Catalina Ponor and Sandra Izbasa are all attempting a comeback. What do you think about this? What’s their chance to make the Romanian Olympic team?
Ungureanu: I think that what, Catalina, Marian and Sandra are doing is amazing! Marian is my generation, 35 years old and he is still able to invent a new vault named “Dragulescu”, Catalina is coming back in big style for the second time and I’m sure she will medal in Rio and Sandra, of course she is back to win a medal too. Very proud of them!

UEG: What would still like you to achieve in your life?
Ungureanu: Of course I want a family. It’s about time but still wishing for a career in Sport and not only as a coach.
UEG: What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?
Ungureanu: Craziest thing?… Wow. I’m a very calculated woman and I don’t really do crazy things but…maybe one of my happiest and craziest things I did was when I decided in August 2012 to jump in my car and drive alone to Prague (CZE). I spend 3 amazing days by myself there. And it was in Prague that I finished my autobiographic book. Prague is one of my favorite place to go!

UEG: What advice would you give to young gymnasts?
Ungureanu: My advice is for young gymnasts and their parents too! Gymnastics is the nicest sport but at the same time one of the hardest. If you are good at it, if you love it, if you want it, then get ready to give everything. There is no other, simpler, way to win medals in gymnastics or in any other sport!
Gymnastics and sport in general make you stronger for life!
Multumim Corina! Wishing you all the best!

Text și foto: UEG