Ana Porgras – “If you cannot get on that podium for Romania, you are missing something…” @ The Medal Factory Ep.13

[The Medal Factory – episode 13 (c) DigiSport]


Ana Porgras, a Romanian gymnast with exceptional results and one of the most important members of the national team, is training for the most important competition, the Olympic Games. Until then, of course, there are the Tokyo World Championships; we will let Ana tell us more about this.

Andreea Raducan: Hi Ana!

Ana Porgras: Hi Andreea!

Andreea Raducan: I’d like to know when and where you were born and where you started gymnastics.

Ana Porgras: I was born in Galati on the 18th of December and I started gymnastics at the LPS Gala?i Club.

Andreea Raducan: Why gymnastics and not some other sport?

Ana Porgras: I can’t say I chose it, I was only 4. My parents realized I was flexible and I had a lot of energy and they thought I might be right for it. The coaches told them I was talented and that I could do this sport and I stayed on.

Andreea Raducan: You were in kindergarten at that time. How different was your childhood, how did you balance kindergarten and training?

Ana Porgras: Yes, I was in kindergarten, I still remember my mum used to pick me up and take me to the gym so I skipped school. It was a bit different; the rest of the kids stayed there while I went to the gym to train. Of course, we were not doing much at that age, but it was different.

Andreea Raducan: Who motivated you? Your coaches, your family, your parents? Who helped you want to be an elite gymnast?

Ana Porgras: First of all my family, then the Gala?i coaches who recognized talent in me, a girl who could get to the Olympics and they guided me on the path to victory.

Andreea Raducan: Did you have any role model, a gymnast you wanted to be like?

Ana Porgras: Yes, when I was little I saw Nadia and I thought wow….and I said I wanted to be on TV and score a 10 too. Ok, nowadays a 10 is not valuable anymore, but it’s historical….

Andreea Raducan: How difficult was the path to winning the first national medals?

Ana Porgras: There were many years of work until I got to that moment, sometimes I thought I would never get there….But I did and then I said I could do much more than that.

Andreea Raducan: Where did you find this motivation? What do you tell yourself when training is not going in the right direction?

Ana Porgras: I think about the amount of years of work I’ve put in and that I will get over a bad period even if things are not going well now. Then everything will be ok, you surpass anything in the end, good or bad.

Andreea Raducan: Your first coaches?

Ana Porgras: Paul and Agripina Gîlea.

Andreea Raducan: When were you selected for the Junior National team? If you were selected….How about the Senior team in Deva?

Ana Porgras: For Juniors, I believe 2006…I first went to One?ti, I trained there for 10 months and at the beginning of 2007 they selected me for Deva. I was still in the Junior team, but they thought I would do better in Deva. I trained there with the Juniors until they selected me for the Senior team in 2008, it was pretty fast. Since then I’ve been training with the Seniors.

Andreea Raducan: The best moment in your gymnastics career, so far? Extraordinary things might still happen, but so far….

Ana Porgras: The most beautiful moment was when I stepped on the podium at Worlds. I cannot express in words what I felt, it was extraordinary.

Andreea Raducan: And it was the first time they played the anthem for you. As an individual result at such an important competion….

Ana Porgras: It was the first time at a Senior competition. I had heard it as a Junior, but it’s not the same. It’s more beautiful, it’s different.

Andreea Raducan: How many training hours does a gymnast need to finish the routines she will be presenting in competition?

Ana Porgras: We train 5-6 hours a day, twice a day. I don’t think you can train less and be an elite gymnast.

Andreea Raducan: How difficult is the weight fight and how difficult is it to maintain the weight the doctors establish for you?

Ana Porgras: Right now it’s pretty difficult for me as I am growing. If you don’t have the established weight, it’s more difficult for you to train as it touches your balance. A technical mistake is highlighted by the extra weight.

Andreea Raducan: You are preparing for the 2012 London Olympics. When you were a kid, did you get to prepare any Math or Romanian Olympics in school, or any subject that you liked?

Ana Porgras: Yes, when I was a kid I used to be very good at Math. Now we don’t have time to do both as we train more. We are going to school but we don’t learn enough to be able to go to a Math competition.

Andreea Raducan: How close are you to you colleagues? Is there anyone especially close to you?

Ana Porgras: I get along fine with everyone, there are the normal quarrels among girls, but we don’t hold a grudge or anything. I am especially close to Diana because I was her room mate and we shared what happened in the gym, what we felt, we encouraged each other. I can really talk to her.

Andreea Raducan: What did you learn from your current coaches? I believe every coach you’ve had has tried to help you along the way, what did you learn from the coaches you work with today?

Ana Porgras: I think the most important thing they’ve taught us is that without consistency and a lot of work we will never get where we want. There are difficult moments and they help us get through them. They also have a tough side, we would not make it without it either. They are the best.

Andreea Raducan: Every gymnast has her bad moments of wanting to give up. Did this ever happen to you?

Ana Porgras: Yes, many times. But I managed to get over it and I’m happy I did that. Not long ago I had a bad moment and I said I wanted to give it all up. I’m glad I got over it and I hope it will not come back again.

Andreea Raducan: You got over it but how? What are you fighting and working for? You must have a goal…

Ana Porgras: Well, now I do it for the London Olympics because it’s closer. And Rio -why not – but we’ll see what happens….Now it’s London and this is what I thought about when I said I worked 12 years or more and giving up one year an a half before is not what I want.

Andreea Raducan: And before the Olympics, there is another stage – the World Championships. Are your preparing anything special for this competition, any new element?

Ana Porgras: No, this is difficult at this point. I prefer safety, but we need to upgrade as well or we won’t get where we want to be. At Worlds, I’m hoping to compete in the all-around and have the strength to be on the podium.

Andreea Raducan: When you go into the gym, what do you think about? Do you manage to leave nerves aside or how do you transform them into constructive emotions?

Ana Porgras: When I go into the arena and I see the people who support us, I feel more energized than I already am. I try to control the nerves, I’m not always successful at that but when I am everything comes out well.

Andreea Raducan: Ana, what is your favorite apparatus?

Ana Porgras: Beam, beam. I loved it since I was a little girl and I will keep loving it despite of the fact that it is like it is….

Andreea Raducan: Tall, slim….

Ana Porgras: Tall, slim, the most difficult apparatus for some. For me, it’s the easiest.

Andreea Raducan: Then which is the most difficult one?

Ana Porgras: For me, vault. I’m not saying a have a problem with it, but it’s the most difficult for me. For those few seconds of execution, you have to work a lot, maybe years to do a good vault.

Andreea Raducan: Are you superstitious?

Ana Porgras: Yes. I have to step into the gym with my right foot. I don’t think this is really helping, you just need to be careful. I wear a little cross and before a competition I use holy water.

Andreea Raducan: How does a day in Izvorani look like?

Ana Porgras: We wake up at 7 and have breakfast as from 8 to 10 we have to be in school. Then trainings starts and it lasts about 2 hours and a half. Then we eat and have some rest and continue training from 5 to 7 or 8. If training does not go well, we stay even longer.

Andreea Raducan: Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do?

Ana Porgras: I like to surf the net, do my nails, draw, listen to music, find pictures of my colleagues and I, of other gymnasts. I compare what they did with what we do now.

Andreea Raducan: Watching yourself in competition helps you correct mistakes?

Ana Porgras: Yes, for example I look at my London Worlds bars routine. I compare with what I am doing now and this motivates me to do better as it was me who was on the bars then. It’s the same for every apparatus, this is how I manage to go on.

Andreea Raducan: You have two experienced colleagues in the team, Catalina Ponor and Sandra Izba?a. Do you ask them for advice?

Ana Porgras: Yes, I asked Sandra how she got to win the Olympics, we talk to each other, I ask her opinion. It’s the same with Cata.

Andreea Raducan: What does gymnastics mean to you?

Ana Porgras: Right now, gymnastics is my life, I´m doing this every single day. It is a very difficult sport, but it can give you a lot of satisfaction if you can maintain yourself at the highest level. I think it is wonderful to do gymnastics and have this kind of satisfaction. If you cannot get on that podium for Romania, you are missing something….you cannot say you´ve really done something with gymnastics.

Andreea Raducan: Could you tell us about yourself in just a few words?

Ana Porgras: I’m ambitious, maybe sensitive, I don’t like to give up even if I have my bad moments, I don’t like to give in when I know someone is not right. Maybe someone else could say more about me, I don’t like to brag….

Andreea Raducan: Everyone admired you on floor, you are very elegant and graceful. Whom do you choose music on floor with?

Ana Porgras: Together with the choreographer, but the coaches must also agree. If I don’t like it though, I cannot execute the movements like I’d like to, it must come from the inside. But we normally choose something we like, that fits us.


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