Simona Amânar (born October 7, 1979 in Constanţa) is a Romanian gymnast. She is a seven-time Olympic medalist and a ten-time world medalist. Amânar helped Romania to win four consecutive world team titles (1994–1999) as well as the 2000 Olympic team title. She has a vault named after her, the Amanar. She was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2007.
In 1994, her first year on the senior national team, she was known primarily as a team player and contributed to the 1994 World and European Romanian team titles.
She began to excel as an individual performer at the 1995 European Cup, placing 2nd all-around behind Svetlana Khorkina, as well as winning gold on both vault and floor. She continued her success at the World Championships that year, helping to secure the second consecutive World team title for Romania, and became co-world champion on vault (with all-around champion Lilia Podkopayeva). Amânar had a powerful floor routine and huge vaults that put her in the lead after two rotations. However, she dropped to fourth overall after an average bar routine and a shaky beam routine.
Amânar won the silver medal on vault at the individual apparatus at the World Championships behind teammate Gina Gogean and ahead of Cuban Annia Portuondo-Hatch.
At the 1996 Summer Olympics, Amânar was one of the front-runners to contend for several individual medals. However, her Olympics started inauspiciously as she fell off the beam during the compulsories. Though she would later post the highest all-around score during the optionals (39.387), she still only placed fourth amongst her teammates and did not qualify for the all-around finals. In a scenario similar to the 1992 Olympic substitution by the Unified Team of Tatiana Gutsu for Rozalia Galiyeva, Amânar replaced her teammate Alexandra Marinescu, which was legal according to the rules at the time. Head coach Octavian Belu stated that Amânar deserved to compete because she worked harder and was a better athlete than Marinescu. Amânar shared the bronze medal with teammate Lavinia Miloşovici.
In both the 1996 Olympic All-Around and the 1995 World Championship All-Around, Amânar failed to score over the 9.800 mark on the floor exercise despite well-executed and extremely difficult tumbling. In Atlanta, she scored a 9.887 in Optionals (the highest score of the entire Olympics, on any event, for men or women) and only a 9.737 in the All-Around. She did not start from a 10.0 in the All-Around despite having the most tumbling bonus of anyone at the Games (.6 in D and E elements, and .3 in Connection Value) because her tour-jete half (Strug), a C element, was not completed or credited. Thus, she did not have enough simple A, B, and C skills to fulfill her value part requirements and much of her D and E rated tumbling had to count as these easier elements to fulfill requirements.
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