Romanian gymnastics Stars:
Bontas Tantaru- EXCLUSIVE interview
with photos by Andreea Luca / Canada
and from Cristina's personal collection
Is it harder to work as coach than it was to be a gymnast?
Bontas-Tantaru: I have to admit that it is harder
to be coach than a gymnast, but you have a greater satisfaction
when you go to a competition and you know the gymnasts represent
the Club and your work.
Do you have plans for your club gymnasts to reach the Olympics?
Bontas : We have some 8 and 9 years old children which
are very talented and which are on the right way to the top
performance.But the way is soo long that we have to enjoy
our present work and their results year after year.
Q: Are you still in touch with former team members?
Bontas : I try to be in touch with most of my former
colleagues; I know where are most of them and we do send emails
to each other. My best friend now is Celestina
Popa which is in Vancouver, Canada; despite being
at five hours fly distance, we are very good friends.Vanda
Hadarean is also in Canada; she is the Canada's fitness National
About Romania and Romanian gymnastics
Q: Do you follow the news from Romania?
Bontas : We do check the Romanian TV news over the
Net daily, and we keep ourselves informed about latest news
Q: What do you think is missing in Romanian gymnastics, or
what should be improved?
Bontas : I think Romanian gymnastics needs to rewards
better the coaches for their work; I mean, starting with local
club coaches, up to the National team; for the moment, from
what I've heard, only the coaches from the national team are
rewarded and this is why each coach try to find a better life
[romanian-gymnastics.com: at this moment, only the head
coach from National team gets a lousy $500 "bonus",
the other coaches gets nothing extra than $200 salaries. The
Romanian Olympic Committee has rewarded the former head coaches(B&B)
with $6.000 each and $500-$800 the other coaches who worked
with them. Now they want same results by paying nothing]
Q: Does people (still) ask you about Romania?
Bontas It's normal that anybody who came in the gym
hall and know about you, a Romanian, being present there,
to ask you about Nadia
Q: If you will be asked, would you come to attend (as
special guest and to hand over the medals) at Romanian International
Championships or Nationals?
Bontas : I would be much honored to come at Ploiesti
or at any Romanian contest. I'm proud for what I have achieved
for the Romanian gymnastics and the memory will last a lifetime.
Q: What advice would you give to Romanian coaches, now
that you have the coaching (in West) experience?
Bontas : The Canadian system is so different
from the Romanian one ...I can't give much advises to the
club managers in Romania. Here, in Canada, children do gymnastics
mostly for fun and we select a small part of them for performance
training.We have many levels and this way we keep children
happy and the opportunities for us to make also a good business
is greater [than in Romania].
Q: Your opinion about the Romanian gymnastics
Bontas : I think what the Romanian gymnastics needs
now is to have coaches which can be properly rewarded for
their work. I'm referring to those coaches which train girls
from their first steps ("Small gymnast" category
in Romania) up to the national Team. For the moment, only
those from the national team are properly rewarded [having
decent salaries] so this is why everybody is trying to make
a better life abroad.
Photo: Godfathers- Cristina and husband Gabi
with daughter Elissa (Oct 2005)
Q: How did you met your husband?
Bontas : I've met my husband at the Sport University
in Bacau; he was a former judo player in Onesti.
left: husband Gabi Tataru, daughter Elissa (7 years old),
son Eric (4 years old) and Cristina.
Q: Is it good or hard (or both) to work together as gym coaches?
Bontas : We make a perfect couple in the day to day
life and in gym hall, too. Working together is easier to share
our working ideas, experience.
Q: What Romanian soccer team does your husband support?
Bontas : He is a Dinamo soccer team fan.
Q: Does your girl like gymnastics?
Bontas : Elissa just made seven years last week and
she is doing gymnastics at the smallest category. I'm not
teaching her, but she loves gymnastics a lot. She looks exactly
as me when I have started gymnastics at seven years old.
Advises from a Romanian Gymnastics Star
Q: Do you have an advice for parents who may think
about sending their children to gymnastics?
Bontas : The gymnastics system is so different here
in Canada than the Romanian one (I left). When I was
a child in Romania, all girls use to want "to become
like Nadia". This was my goal, too, and this is why my
parents send me to gymnastics (and after I broke two beds
with my jumps...:-).
Since I am myself a parent now I can realize myself how
much means to have an athletic child. Gymnastics is such a
complete sport (coordination, flexibility, force and many
more) that you can't regret doing it, even if you don't reach
the top levels.
Your advice for the girls which may think about going to
Bontas : I can only advice them to think what I've
been thinking back then: Dream and hope to become "Nadia-alike"
; if you work hard, this dream may come true; if it didn't,
you can still enjoy many beautiful moments!
Q: What advises would you give to the girls from National
Bontas : I wish them as much understanding between
each other as possible, and to trust the coaches. I know that
many things have changes both at National Team and the technical
team, but if the girls truly want to keep the Romanian gymnastics
at the high level as it was until now, they must be realistic
and admit that only with some sacrifices and their hard work
they can reach that level.
Q: We want to encourage the Romanian gymnasts from
the new generation to use the expertise of the girls from
the "Golden Age" of Romanian gymnastics. Each time
we make such an interview, we use a question from a team member.
Izbasa, the actual team leader, have asked you: "When
you compete at biggest events, how did you make to keep yourself
away from emotions? Especially at the Balance Beam, to avoid
Bontas : I have had myself a lot of emotions when
I use to compete; I was and I'm still a very emotional person.
At some contests I use to take a small piece of thread and
slowly chewing it during the exercise. Also at all contests
I use to speak to...myself about what I have to do; I am pretty
sure this is common in gymnastics because they (coaches) teaches
us to do this.
romanian-gymnastics.com: Thank you for answering
our questions, all the best to your family and Good Luck in
your coaching career!
gymnastics fan and Cristina's Best Fan, Andreea Luca, posing
with Cristina and her daughter Elissa during a Christmas party
Bontas ...The Godmother and one of her biggest fan, Andreea
photos with Cristina, in our Romanian gymnastics Photo Gallery
Romanian Gymnastics News Archive.