Larisa Iordache

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Larisa Iordache
Larisa2.jpg
Iordache in 2015
Personal information
Full nameLarisa Andreea Iordache
Nickname(s)Lari, Pikachu, Piciul
Country represented Romania
Born (1996-06-19) 19 June 1996 (age 24)
Bucharest, Romania
Height1.50 m (4 ft 11 in)[1]
Weight37 kg (82 lb)[2]
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
LevelSenior International Elite
Years on national team2008–present (ROU)
ClubCSS Dinamo
Head coach(es)Octavian Bellu, Mariana Bitang
Former coach(es)Octavian Bellu, Mariana Bitang, Lacramioara Moldovan, Claudiu Moldovan, Gheorghe Orban, Ramona Micu, Adela Popa, Daniel Nistor, Aurica Nistor
ChoreographerCorina Dorean
MusicExosuit from The Huntsman: Winter's War

Larisa Andreea Iordache (Romanian pronunciation: [laˈrisa anˈdree̯a jorˈdake]; born 19 June 1996 in Bucharest) is a Romanian artistic gymnast. As of 2019, she is the current leader of the Romanian women's artistic gymnastics team.

As early as 2008, when she was 12, the Romanian press was referring to Iordache as "The New Nadia" due to her skills and potential.[3] She won a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the team competition. Iordache was the 2013 World bronze medalist on floor, the 2014 World silver medalist in the all-around and on floor, and the 2015 World bronze medalist in the all-around.

In her first year as a senior (age 16 and above), Iordache won two gold medals at the 2012 European Champions, with her team and on floor exercise. In 2013, she won the European title on beam. She was the most successful gymnast at the 2014 European Championships, winning gold with her team and on floor, silver on beam, and bronze on vault. She is a nine-time gold medalist in the World Cups.

Personal life[edit]

Iordache was born in Bucharest, Romania, where she still lives today. Her favorite gymnast is the Olympic gold medalist Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci. She has an older brother, Răzvan. Iordache got into gymnastics after being spotted rollerblading by her first coach, Mariana Câmpeanu-Silişteanu.[3] "I think she noticed the speed and the energy and that impressed her," Iordache said. "I didn't choose gymnastics – it chose me. It just happened. I am very glad to have got so far."[4]

Junior career[edit]

Iordache in 2009

Iordache began training at CSS Dinamo Club in Bucharest at the age of four and a half. In 2008, she became a member of the national junior team. She was coached by Ramona Micu, Adela Popa, Lacramioara Moldovan, and Claudiu Moldovan.[3]

2010[edit]

Iordache's first major international competition was the European Championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom. She contributed an all-around score of 55.550 toward the Romanian team's second-place finish behind Russia,[5] and individually she placed third in the all-around final behind Russians Viktoria Komova and Anastasia Grishina, with a score of 55.675.[6] In event finals, she placed fourth on vault scoring 13.862, second on balance beam scoring 14.575, and tied first on floor with Anastasia Grishina, scoring 14.275.[7]

In September, Iordache competed at the Romanian Championships in Reșița. She won the all around competition with a score of 58.400, nearly four points ahead of second place teammate Diana Bulimar.[8]

In October, Iordache competed at the Schiltigheim International in Schiltigheim, France. She won the all around final with a score of 58.000. She placed second on vault behind Elodie Perez scoring 14.350, first on uneven bars scoring 14.250, first on balance beam scoring 14.900, and first on floor scoring 14.500.[9]

2011[edit]

In June, Iordache competed at the Gym Festival in Trnava, Slovakia, where 29 gymnasts from nine countries competed. She won the all around final with a score of 59.500, and she finished nearly two points ahead of two-time Olympian Anna Pavlova. In event finals, she placed first on uneven bars scoring 14.250, first on balance beam scoring 15.600, and first on floor scoring 14.850.[10]

Later in June, Iordache competed in an international meet against Great Britain in Lilleshall. The Romanian team finished in first, and they outscored the British on all events except the uneven bars. Iordache won the all-around title with a score of 58.300, nearly five points ahead of British silver medalist Gabby Jupp.[11]

In May, Iordache competed as a guest at the French Team Championships, held in Toulouse. She contributed an all around score of 58.800 towards Alliance Dijon's first-place finish. The Alliance Dijon team included Iordache, Daniela Andrei, and Raluca Haidu from Romania, and French gymnasts Sophia Serseri, Laurie Antoniazzi, and Julie Roemer.[12]

In July, Iordache competed at the 2011 European Youth Summer Olympic Festival in Trabzon, Turkey. She contributed an all around score of 57.800 towards the Romanian team's second-place finish[13][14] and individually she won the all around final with a score of 57.550.[15] In event finals, she placed second on vault scoring 14.225, second on uneven bars scoring 13.475, first on balance beam scoring 15.000, and first on floor scoring 14.275.[16]

Senior career[edit]

2012[edit]

At the beginning of March, in the year she turned 16, Iordache competed at the American Cup in New York City, United States. She placed third in the all around competition behind Americans Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman with a score of 59.332.[17]

At the end of March, Iordache competed at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup event in Doha, Qatar. She placed fourth in the uneven bars final with a score of 14.525.[18]

In April, Iordache competed at an international meet against France in Cholet, France. She helped Romania to win the team competition, and individually she won the all around with a score of 60.150.[19]

Later in April, Iordache competed at an international meet against Germany and the United Kingdom in Ulm, Germany. She helped Romania to win the team competition, and individually she won the all around with a score of 59.750.[20]

In May, Iordache competed at the 2012 European Women's Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Brussels, Belgium. She contributed an all around score of 58.757 toward the Romanian team's first-place finish. In event finals, she placed second on balance beam behind teammate Cătălina Ponor with a score of 15.133 and first on floor with a score of 15.233.[21]

At the beginning of July, Iordache competed at an international meet against France, Germany, and Italy in her hometown, Bucharest. She helped Romania to win the team competition and individually she won the all around with a score of 60.850.[22]

Iordache (second from the left) with the 2012 Romanian Olympic team

London Olympics[edit]

At the end of July, Iordache represented Romania at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom.[23] Prior to the competition, she developed Plantar fasciitis in her left foot, which caused severe pain. Her coach, Mariana Bitang said, "We don't know what will happen — it depends how things go after this. If she's fine, she will do all events to qualify to the all-around final. It's hard to say now."[24] During podium training, Iordache performed full routines only on the uneven bars and the balance beam. Mariana Bitang said it was a "50 percent chance" of whether she would be able to compete in all four events.[25]

Iordache did compete in all four events in the qualification round, and she helped Romania finish fourth in qualifications.[26] Individually she qualified to the all around final with a score of 57.800.[27] In the team final, she contributed scores of 14.800 on vault, 13.766 on uneven bars, and 15.300 on balance beam toward the Romanian team's third-place finish behind Russia and the United States.[28] Iordache said, "You always want to do better, but any Olympic medal is important for a team. We are happy."[29] She placed ninth in the all around final with a score of 57.965[30] and sixth in the balance beam final with a score of 14.200.[31] The Olympics were Iordache's last competition of the season.

2013[edit]

Iordache performing on floor during the all-around final at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships on 4 October 2013

At the 6th Doha FIG World Challenge Cup in Qatar, Iordache placed second on the vault final behind Phan Thi Ha Thanh with a score of 14.675, and seventh on the uneven bars final with a score of 13.325 on 28 March 2013.[32] On 29 March, she placed first on the balance beam final ahead of Zeng Siqi and Gabrielle Jupp with a score of 15.500, and second on the floor exercise final behind Diana Bulimar with a score of 14.425.[33]

At the 2013 European Championships in Moscow, Iordache had a fantastic start qualifying first to the all around finals and beam finals, second to floor finals, and fourth to vault finals. At the all around finals, Iordache had a great start, performing a routine of the score 14.833 on beam, 14.866 on floor, and 14.9 on vault. In the final rotation, she performed an average routine on bars and scored 13.833, which bumped her to second place after Aliya Mustafina of Russia. In the vault final on 20 April, Iordache tied with Dutch gymnast Noel van Klaveren for second place with a score of 14.466.[34] After this she won silver in the floor final and gold in the beam final.

At the 2013 Anadia World Grand Prix, she won gold on beam (15.650) and floor (14.650, tied with Diana Bulimar).[35]

In October, Iordache competed at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. In the all-around final, she finished fourth due to a fall from the beam on her back handspring full twist.[36] She fell on the same skill in the beam finals and scored 13.933 for seventh place. But, in the floor exercise final, she gained the bronze medal behind American Simone Biles and Italian Vanessa Ferrari, performing a double twisting double tuck, a full twisting double tuck, and a double pike. This was her first medal in the World Championships.

2014[edit]

In March Iordache competed at the Doha World Challenger Cup where she won gold on vault, beam, and floor.[37] In April, Iordache helped her team win gold at the France-Romania-Belgium Tri-Friendly meet. She had the highest scores of the competition on all apparatus, and she won the all-around title by 3 points over teammate Diana Bulimar.[38]

At the 2014 European Championships, Iordache was the most successful gymnast.[39] She was the only one to qualify to all four apparatus finals,[40] the only one to win two gold medals[41] and the most decorated gymnast of the championships (with a total of four).[42][43] Iordache was also voted as "Miss European Championships" in the 2014 edition. She said, "I am surprised and really happy to receive such a recognition. I didn't expect it! For me the most important thing was the competition, but here you are, I am now honoured to be Miss European Championships – how nice!"[44]

Iordache (center) with Diana Bulimar and Sandra Izbașa in 2014

The Romanian National Gymnastics Championships were held in September, and Iordache won 4 of the 5 gold medals. She won the all-around competition with 59.650, beating second place Ștefania Stănilă by nearly 4 points. The only gold she did not win was on balance beam, where Andreea Munteanu won gold and Iordache took silver.[45] Later that week, Iordache competed at the Switzerland-Germany-Romania Tri-Friendly meet in Obersiggenthal, Switzerland, and the Romanian team finished second behind Germany. She won the all-around competition, finishing nearly 2 points ahead of second place Giulia Steingruber.[46]

In October, Iordache was named to the Romanian team for the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Nanning, China. After the team finished 7th in the qualification round,[47] she led the largely inexperienced Romanian team to a 4th-place finish.[48] Individually, she won a silver medal in the All Around competition, behind American Simone Biles and ahead of American Kyla Ross.[49] Afterwards she said, "It is a good result. I am quite pleased with what I did today, but that does not mean I can not do even better.[50] Everything is possible at any one competition. Today I did not get gold but next time there is always a chance."[51] In the beam final Iordache fell on her back handspring tuck full series, and she finished 5th. Later that day, she won the silver medal in the floor final behind Simone Biles.

At the end of the competition she said,

"After I lost on beam, it was so difficult for me to come back. It was fortunate that I came back well on floor, and I was happy to finally perform my routine without mistakes. I want to practice and practice so I can hit all of my elements and add difficulty. Time will tell if I am able to someday beat her (Simone Biles). It's hard to say what the future will bring. Next year is next year...we will see then. But I will try my best."[52]

After the World Championships, she participated in the Arthur Gander Memorial, placing second behind Russian Daria Spiridonova.[53] At the end of the year, Iordache competed in the Stuttgart and Glasgow World Cups. In Stuttgart, she won the all-around title with a score of 59.766 ahead of Jessica López and Kim Bùi. She received the highest score on every event except the uneven bars.[54] In Glasgow, Iordache posted the highest score on every event to take home the all-around gold with 59.232. She finished nearly three points ahead of silver medalist Ellie Black.[55]

2015[edit]

Iordache was scheduled to compete at the World Cup events in Doha and Cottbus, but withdrew due to ankle injury.[56] She was later pulled from the 2015 European Championships.[57] She also had to skip the 2015 European Games due to school exams.[58]

Iordache in 2015

Iordache returned to competition on 12 September at the 2015 Romania-France Friendly competition, winning the all-around gold with an overall score of 58.150 and helping Romania to the team gold.[59][60] On 24 September, she was named to the 2015 World Championships team along with Catalina Ponor, Diana Bulimar, Laura Jurca, Ana Maria Ocolişan, and Silvia Zarzu.[61] At the Romanian National Championships, Iordache won gold with the Dinamo team and in the all-around with a score of 60.900. She also won gold on bars, beam, and floor.[62] In October, Iordache competed at the Novara cup against Italy, Belgium, and Spain. The Romanian team (Iordache, Diana Bulimar, Ana Maria Ocolişan, Laura Jurca, Silvia Zarzu, and Andreea Iridon) won the gold medal, and Iordache won the all-around with a 59.750.[63]

Iordache was selected to compete at the 2015 World Championships along with Diana Bulimar, Ana Maria Ocolişan, Laura Jurca, Silvia Zarzu, and Catalina Ponor.[64] However, Ponor withdrew after having surgery, and alternate Andreea Iridon was put in.[65] On the day before the qualification round, Ocolisan injured her ankle and could not compete.[66] In the qualification round, Iordache scored a disappointing 55.698 in the all-around after downgrading her floor routine and falling off the uneven bars and balance beam.[67] The Romanian team finished in thirteenth place, meaning that they did not directly qualify for the 2016 Olympics.[68] Their performance was described as a meltdown, as everyone except Jurca fell off the uneven bars and team members had several falls off the balance beam.[69] Iordache and her teammates were seen crying afterwards.[69] Iordache finished sixteenth all-around in the qualification round, but in the all-around final she won the bronze medal, with a score of 59.107 behind Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles.[70] After winning this medal she said, "I feel much better now than Friday, but I want much more, all the time. It was so hard for me. But I have my coach, my parents, my girls and my team with me. Today was good for me. Just enjoy it and just do it how you can. It was so good for me."[71]

After the World Championships, Iordache competed at the Arthur Gander Memorial, where she won the all-around gold medal ahead of Pauline Schäfer from Germany and Romanian teammate Diana Bulimar.[72]

2016[edit]

In March, Iordache broke her finger during training and had to have surgery.[73] She missed the 2016 Gymnastics Olympic Test Event in April, and Romania failed to qualify a full team to the Olympics.[74] Although she returned to compete at several meets, including two friendly meets and the Romanian nationals, where she secured her 5th consecutive national title, Iordache's routines were not difficult enough to be seen fit for the Olympic spot. She missed making the Olympics because her injury had prevented sufficient preparation. She traveled to Rio as an alternate for Cătălina Ponor, who received Romania's sole berth. Following the Olympic Games, Iordache confirmed that she would continue to compete, with the intent to compete at the 2017 European Championships, to be held in Romania.

2017[edit]

Iordache opened her season by competing at the St. Etienne Cup in France, a small meet. She competed in downgraded routines on bars and beam. She was selected for the European Championships team along with first-year seniors Olivia Cîmpian and Ioana Crișan, and London Olympic teammate Cătălina Ponor. She was not yet ready to compete in the all-around, competing only on uneven bars and balance beam. Her uneven bars was not good enough to make finals, but she qualified first into balance beam finals. In the balance beam final, Iordache was competing a clean, well-executed routine but she stumbled off the mat on her dismount. She won the bronze medal, with Ponor winning gold and Eythora Thorsdottir winning silver in front of a home crowd.

In May, Iordache competed at the FIG World Cup held in Koper. She decided to perform only on beam and bars. Iordache won gold in both finals, bars (13.800) and beam (14.150), as she was already leading the qualifications. In October, she travelled to Montreal for the 2017 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, but sustained an achilles tendon tear during the warm-up stage of the qualification round.[75][76]

2018[edit]

In June 2018, Iordache said to Romanian media that her recovery has been going slowly, and that there is a 50% chance of her returning to gymnastics.[77]

In September 2018, Larisa went to Vienna, Austria, with the help of former Romanian head coaches Mariana Bitang and Octavian Bellu, to have her 3rd surgery on her injured Achilles tendon. It was performed by Dr. Weinstable, who is also a professor of surgery.[78]

2019[edit]

In January 2019, Iordache had a final examination on her Achilles tendon by Dr. Weinstable in Vienna. [79] She was told that she was able to begin training at full capacity. Iordache officially announced her comeback to international elite gymnastics level.[80] Her goals for 2019 were to compete at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart and the qualification to 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She had not sufficiently recovered from her injury to do so.

2020[edit]

In late October 2020, Iordache reported on Twitter that she had tested positive for COVID-19, forcing her to forego a verification meet that would have been her first competition in three years.[81] In November, Iordache made her comeback debut at the Romanian Championships. Despite turning in a low score on the uneven bars, she still got the fourth-highest all-around score with a 52.234. For technical reasons, however, she was not allowed to be officially ranked, and was therefore unable to qualify to event finals; had she been eligible, she would have qualified second into the balance beam final and third into the floor exercise final.[82]

Competitive history[edit]

Junior[edit]

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
2009 Top Gym Trophy 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 7 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2010 Romanian Intl Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
European Championships 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2011 Gym-Festival 1st place, gold medalist(s)
ROU-GBR Friendly 1st place, gold medalist(s)
French Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Euro Youth Olympic Festival 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)

Senior[edit]

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
2012 American Cup 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
Doha World Cup 5
European Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
FRA-ROU Friendly 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
GER-GBR-ROU Friendly 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Olympic Games 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 9 6
2013 Doha World Cup 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 6 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
European Championships 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
Anadia World Cup 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
National Championships 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
World Championships 4 7 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
Stuttgart World Cup 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
Glasgow World Cup 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2014 Doha World Cup 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
BEL-FRA-ROU Friendly 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
European Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 6 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
National Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
SUI-GER-ROU Friendly 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
World Championships 4 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 5 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
Arthur Gander Memorial 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
Stuttgart World Cup 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Glasgow World Cup 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2015 FRA-ROU Friendly 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
National Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Novara Cup 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
World Championships 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
Arthur Gander Memorial 1st place, gold medalist(s)
2016 National Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
FRA-ROU Friendly 2nd place, silver medalist(s)
Chemnitz Friendly 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
2017
European Championships 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
Koper World Cup 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
French Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Summer Universiade 1st place, gold medalist(s) 5 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
National Championships 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s) 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Paris World Cup 4 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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