Ode to Catalina Ponor

In my first years of gymnastics, beam was never the event for me.

It was not the event I was scared of, or the event I struggled the most, it was just the event I enjoyed the least. My coach was always talking about how amazing the beam is, and how it can make a little girl look like a queen, but I couldn’t understand what he meant.

Until I saw Catalina Ponor.

I was a nine-year old girl with braces, extremely proud to be able to do a layout on floor. I was in the Olympic arena witnessing the 2004 team finals. There were too many gymnasts performing and I didn’t know where to watch but when Catalina got on that beam I immediately noticed her –how could someone not notice her? I didn’t even know her name. I didn’t know that historically beam has been the event for the Romanians. And I didn’t know she was the best beamer on her team. All I knew was that this girl performing in front of me was simply amazing.[…]

read the entire interview on The Couch Gymnast.

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