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 Main coach: Octavian Belu
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[Jan 28] "The Secrets of a Gymnast" - the English edition- released!

"The Secrets of a Gymnast" (the English edition) by Andrei Nourescu, is available at CafePress (click to see).

"The secrets of a Gymnast" (the Romanian language edition) was voted "The Book of The Year" by the Romanian Sport Press Association (2003).

I want to know where I can find the book "Alexandra Marinescu's secrets" or something.
Also, if you read it, what is your opinion on it?
Katy, USA

Instead of my opinion on this book, let's see some facts:
a) The Romanian Sport Press Association have awarded the author, Andrei Nourescu , with the special prize "Victor Banciulescu Award for sport books"-he got 101 votes, the second journalist got only 78 votes. (Details here). I think you all agree with me that the (respected) members of the professional organization of sport writers in Romania knows better than anybody else to whom (author) and what (book) they give their most important prize. It's like the best professional guarantee from true specialists that this book deserve a reading.

Book of the Year in 2006 -see our Awards

b) One of the most respected TV sport journalists in Romania, Cristian Topescu (he is now the director of Prosport) has his own website "dedicated to the young journalists which promote the fair play as a life style".
The author of the book "The secrets of the gymnast" have a special page (very, very positive one) on this website dedicated to fair-play. They also mention that many other journalist took their eyes to other directions (meaning they didn't have the guts to write even about the book, not to mention they didn't bother or have the guts to write about those facts).

The book "The secrets of the gymnast" by Andrei Nourescu was written (in late stages), during the 2002 faking ages scandal; looks like this event gave the author an encouragement to go even deeper as he initially planned. Once the dam is broken, a lot of water will go down...To protect himself and the gymnast from a lawsuit (in a country which still struggle to get a fair justice system, once controlled by the neo-communists which dictates or influence the verdicts), the author has decided to introduce the book like a fiction book, with names slightly changed; this gave Belu an excuse to say, each time asked by the press "the book is fiction, as the author have indicated". You may consider this a small price to pay to have the book published at all.

To my best knowledge, including direct reports from (many) former gymnasts, all the basic facts from that book (physical and mental abuses, children starvation instead of diets with medical supervision, faking the ages of the gymnasts to gain unfair advantages over competitors-and by this causing serious medical problems for the gymnasts) are true. This was, in fact, the "Secret Basic Recipe" of those who pretend to be "The Gods" of Romanian Gymnastics. After reading few pages from this book, you may think like me: My God, how this could happen?

We have to know the past, to prevent such things happening in the future. My (step) grandfather was a WW2 survivor from Auschwitz. His first hand experiences & stories which he told to me, made me read tons of books about the subject.
"Doctor" Mengele made some medical "tests" at Auschwitz, including leaving prisoners without any water for days (to test on prisoners how long a Nazi pilot dropped in the sea would survive with no drinking water). Very bad what he did, but he used at least the excuse that they could save lives if they get more knowledge on this subject.

When I first read about a gymnast (Marinescu) being locked by Octavian Belu for 3 days, in a room with no water (to "prevent" her getting weight), my first thought went directly to the ..."Dr."Mengele. He did the same.
He (Mengele) could do this also because nobody have had the guts to reveal the truth on time and stop him. Because the Nazi regime had used a huge Propaganda machine to stop the real inside info and spread only the lies they want.
The former Romanian neo-communist regime of Iliescu &comp was the ONLY one in the World, after WW2, to have a "Ministry of Information" -the same propaganda machine-alike as Hitler has used to get & keep his power. Of course, kiss-in-the ass journalists were used by both regimes, Nazi and neo-communists; dictators (in politics or in sport) also likes them, they make (their asses) feel soo good!
Using 60 millions Euros (like $ 70 millions dollars) from State funds to pay "advertising" on TV and newspapers, former Romanian neo-communists regime had managed to control almost all the press (the dis-obenient ones didn't get funds to survive in the poorest European country). This is why Romania was left behind by all former communist countries in Eastern Europe.

The Wall of Shame: Romanian gymnastics abusive coaches

From the book reviews
"Fraud, violence, abuses with penal implications, here are some allegations about the secret methods used in Romanian gymnastics."-France Press Agency

"The book brings into light the unknown part of the glorious Romanian gymnastics.Lice an iceberg who hides an ugly and dangerous part.Revealings of a politics based on fraud and violence."- FHM magazine"

"A gymnast who does not want any more to be silent. A reporter who wants to tell the truth till the end. Find out the secrets of the Romanian gymnastics. You will not leave the book from your hands, guaranteed."- ELLE magazine

"The third book of Andrei Nourescu reveals the unknown face of the glory in Romanian gymnastics, for which a lot of children have been sacrified. Worldwide echos: HBO, LA Times or Sports Ilustrated showd interest for the story."- CAPITAL magazine

Here is an exclusive excerpt, obtained by

The tense trainings
...Even from the second day after the arrival to Atlanta, the gymnasts started their trainings. As the first day of the contest was coming, the trainings were more and more difficult and tense. The coaches hardly tolerated any mistake, they had become irascible and agitated and they were punishing even the girls’ smallest mistakes.
The only problem was that they couldn’t behave as they did at home, because all the trainings in Atlanta were open to the public and most of the time the gym was full. Thus they found an alternative solution for the usual slapping from Deva. “They would come close to us when we failed some element and put their hand on our shoulder like a father. Only that the hand would grab us by the muscle and tighten us very hard, that we almost burst into tears. Nobody could see that, because from the distance you could only see a coach staying with his hand on a gymnast’s shoulder and giving her some advice. In the evening, when we were undressing and looking in the mirror, we were all frightened seeing the bruises on the shoulder”, says Alexandra.
The coaches didn’t even yield at the girls, as they did in Deva, they were cursing them in whisper. An American masseuse noticed one day the bruises on the girls’ shoulders and he asked them what it had happened to them. Embarrassed by the truth, the gymnasts pretended to … play some game and pinch each other when they lose. Of course, the masseuse didn’t buy it.


She was swimming at 4 years old · From swimming to gymnastics · The first contests · She said “No” to Steaua………………………………………………17 LEADER AT THE JUNIORS TEAM
Unemployed father · Separation from her parents · Many restrictions and less school · The first beating · The farce of the coaches · The escape · The magic lightning · The Fraud · Friends with football players · The chance named William · Cakes from the “enemy” · The victory of vanity · A film character · The absurd threatening · No commission · The inspiring with guilt · Booze and women · The ice-cream machine · The leg fracture · They took out her gypsum!……………………………………………..................................................23
The meeting with Bela Karoly · The first “real money”- dollars · The kitchen from their rooms · Aexandra’s friendships………………….……...............……52
The mirage beyond the Ocean · The Little Olympiad Nadia Comaneci’s visit · Missing the Europeans · Leaving to Deva………………………………....……59 DEVA.THE EPICENTER OF GYMNASTICS
She went alone · The first impression · The stress of the colleagues · The legend about vomiting · Sequestered in the room · The paradise from the Caribbean · The European Championships in Birmingham · Karim, the mysterious fan · The pressure before the fight · The secret relation…......…..66 THE OLYMPIAD IN ATLANTA ’96, THE APOGEE OF PAIN
False promises · Crowd, dog days and queues · They were accommodated in a tower block · The obsession of the alarms · The tense trainings · The proposal · The first attempt · Ana Rusan’s trouble · The opening festivity · The first day of contest · The heroine of America · Tears for bronze · The replacement · Close to Bill Clinton · The bomb attempt · Calling home · The last day, the inferno · Milo’s comfort · The beautiful girl on the cover · Tears and Macarena · Finally, the holyday!….................................................................................….…84
Awards, money and ceremonies · Athletics, not gymnastics · About faith, luck and reality · Again in contest · Christmas in the mountains · Money for the coaches · The fatidical accident · Superficial control · Shanghai chicken · Corina’s beating · “I will never forget that day!” · The first romantic affair……..................................................................................................................113
Useless acupuncture · The miracle happened: gold with the team! · The last phases: the injections · Farewell, title · The false smile…………........……….135
Coming back to Deva · Is Penu leaving? · The truth · They confiscated their phones · Stories again…· The more checkings, the more diagnosis · The recovery programme · The ray of hope · Stoiciu’s cynicism ……………....………………………...................................................................…146
Moved away from the hostel · The first day of school · A new house · The modelling career · The cancelling · The first love · A probing year….........…160
Coming back to Bucharest · Back to the doctor · The first operation · The damned sneeze · The third operation · Finally, the normal life……………….169 2002. THE SCANDAL “FAKE PASSPORTS”
The first explosion · Gina Corbean was next · Alexandra Mateescu, Disclosure number 3 · Another proved case.The fourth · They have compromised the health of the children …………………......................................................…...…179

Some Romanian Gymnastics fans opinions:
I loved watching Alexandra Marinescu. I remember that Belu didn't seem to like her very much, and he felt she was "lazy." She had trained at a different gym than the others on the Romanin team, and had a different style. She was very talented and had beautiful style. She replaced Lavinia Milosovici on beam at EF at the 96 Olympic games. She did not do well and had two falls. After the routine she walked over to Belu, and I remember he scowled at her then turned his back and walked away. She looked so tiny and helpless at that moment. I felt Belu could have been a bit more compassionate with such a young athlete. I heard she wrote a book about her life as a gymnast, and she had some unflattering statments about the Romanian system. She may have the first Romanian gymnasts to speak out against Belu.....

Well, I admire her, it certainly takes a lot of gutts to speak up and say what she said about Belu's coaching.

I read a little portion they have of Alexandra's book and it is not for the faint hearted. My own personal assumptions were right. She was under age when she competed at the OG and WC. But the level of abuse gave me upset stomach. ottley

It's so sad what goes on behind closed doors. You've got to wonder how could they do such a thing! Belu sounds like a monster and Bitang sounds like a half decent person in that article.

There have been several reports of abuse from former Romanian gymnasts. I'm not saying that it never happened, but reports from a gymnast who was obviously out of favour with Belu (probably because she trained at a different gym) would likely be worse than those from gymnasts who were his favourites. Maybe that's because he treated his favourites better, or it could just be that those gymnasts who weren't given the chances are more bitter about their experiences. I think that Belu made a mistake with Alexandra. She really stood out, and would have been great for the Romanian team.

I had trouble sleeping last night after reading a portion of Alexandra Marenescu's book, Alexandra's Secrets. I am devastated and my heart is broken. I believe Marenesu is disappointed that she did not live up to the hype surrounding her. Similar to Zmeskal at the 92 OG. But this account is not about belly aching. Warning! This is not for the faint hearted.

I heard things were very bad under Karolyi but I had no idea that Belu was supposed to be as bad. What's astonishing is that these allegations of abuse happened after the fall of Communism.

  The Wall of Shame: Romanian gymnastics abusive coaches

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