Diana Bulimar Floor 2012 Romania vs. France



5.8, 14.4



Diana Bulimar Beam 2012 Romania vs. France



6.0, 14.9


Diana Bulimar Bars 2012 Romania vs. France



5.7, 13.55


With names like Catalina Ponor, Sandra Izbasa, Ana Porgras, and now Larisa Iordache to contend with, Diana Bulimar has perhaps been a bit overshadowed in the last couple of years.  But Bulimar was one of the five names that Octavian Belu mentioned in March when he surprisingly announced at least a preliminary Olympic team – about four months earlier than we expected.


The five gymnasts Belu named as the most likely candidates for London were:


Catalina Ponor

Sandra Izbasa

Larisa Iordache

Diana Bulimar

Diana Chelaru


Though it was unclear just how solidified these spots are, it was a bit of an unorthodox move to make such an announcement so early in the Olympic year.


All five of these gymnasts are strong on beam and floor, yet only ONE – Larisa Iordache – is strong on bars.  This is the dilemma for Romania.


In my opinion, Bulimar looks much better than Chelaru on bars, beam, and floor, and should be a much more secured spot.  Bulimar’s floor routine has been dynamite for the last couple of years, and could potentially make the Olympic finals – although practically all five of these girls are capable of that, and only two will be allowed to advance in London.  She reminds me quite a bit of the unofficial 2000 Olympic all-around champion (before being disqualified) Andrea Raducan, with her pixie style and combination of clean, light dance and powerful tumbling.  Her beam here was phenomenal and could very well be the third Romanian beam score for team finals (along with Iordache and Ponor).  Her bars still didn’t score great here, but in my opinion she is technically one of their better bar workers.  I think she could get this score up to a 14 by London.


If Belu is allowing for any flexibility with these five preliminary Olympic team members, I think Raluca Haidu might be a better option than Diana Chelaru.  Haidu is one of the team’s best bar workers, and this is exactly what they need to be looking for with that final spot:


Raluca Haidu Bars 2011 Worlds



6.0, 13.833


Raluca Haidu Bars 2012 Romania vs. France



5.6, 14.0



Amazing toepoint and the potential for more difficulty with her inbar stalder work.  Haidu has competed bars for Romania in the world team finals in both of the last two world championships.


Amelia Racea is another option, but her dismount is technically poor:



Amelia Racea Bars 2011 Worlds



5.9, 13.666


Amelia Racea Bars 2012 Romania vs. France



5.6, 12.85



She tucks too early on the double front, causing it to lack height and rotation, and probably making her a bit disoriented as well.  I’d pick Haidu over her at this point.


This Romanian team is definitely regaining some momentum.  Although they finished 4th again at the worlds in Tokyo, they did post the highest team total on beam there with a 45+ score (a 15-average) – the only team to do this on any event except vault.  They can easily do that again this year and will certainly be at least on par with the U.S. and Russia on beam, if not better.  They’ll also be much stronger on floor this year than they were last year, with Iordache now on the squad and Izbasa now back in the lineup.  They could easily put up three 15’s and outscore the entire field on this event as well.  They’ll need a couple of bigger vaults and some more strengthening on bars to truly challenge the U.S. and Russia, but at this point I’d say they’re at least in the medal mix.