The end of any legacy of accomplishment is always disappointing, and never more so than for the women’s gymnastics team in Romania. After 40 years of medaling in the Olympics, the team has failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The team wasn’t doing so well and at the last qualifying event, and finished too far behind to qualify to send a team to the Olympics. A single gymnast will be allowed to compete, but only eight full teams are eligible for the team competition. Romania will not be among them.
Troubles began plaguing the team as early as last year’s world championships. The team had never placed lower than fourth in that event but finished a dismal 13th in 2015. Broken bones and falls during routines seemed to signal the end to the Romanian rule of women’s gymnastics.
Being relegated to test events to qualify the team foreshadowed the team’s struggles. After automatically qualifying for the team event since 1976, it shocked the gymnastics world that powerhouse Romania was being forced to qualify through a test event.
The hope of the gymnastics world, and especially in Romania, is that with some changes, some healing, and lots of support from the gymnastics community, the women’s team will make a comeback and continue to wow audiences with their performances next year. While their absence does mean another team will have an opportunity to compete, we look forward to the rehabilitation of the program and to seeing Romania back on top in the very near future.