Gymnast Catalina Ponor withdraws after 26 years of competitions and winning 23 medals

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Multiple Olympic champion gymnast Catalina Ponor participated in Mexico at the last competition in her career, where she won three medals, two gold and one silver.

By the age of 30, in the 26 years of competitions, Catalina Ponor has won 23 Olympic, World and European medals, of which 11 gold.

“And so I’ve ended a career of 26 years. Thank you, Mr. Lucian Sandu, for being beside me for 15 years and for remaining to the end, without disappointing me. Thanks to all those who were beside me and for all encouragement and support! Thank you Mexico for all the love I have received today in the contest,” Cătălina Ponor wrote on Sunday on her Facebook account.

Ponor was born in Constanța and started gymnastics when she was four years old. In 2002, she was discovered training in Constanța by the former Romanian national team coaches, Octavian Bellu and Mariana Bitang.

Ponor made her international debut at the 2003 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Anaheim, California, where the Romanian team finished in second place. Individually, she won silver medals on balance beam, scoring 9.587, and floor, scoring 9.700. In November, she competed at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup event in Stuttgart, Germany, where she was first on balance beam (9.587) and third on floor (9.237).

In August, Ponor competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. She contributed scores of 9.412 on vault, 9.762 on balance beam, and 9.750 on floor toward the Romanian team’s first-place finish. In event finals, she won gold medals on balance beam (9.787) and floor (9.750).

Ponor competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She helped the Romanian team qualify to the team final, and individually, she qualified to the balance beam final with a score of 15.033 and the floor final with a score of 14.600. In the team final, she contributed scores of 15.100 on vault, 15.416 on balance beam, and 14.800 on floor toward the Romanian team’s third-place finish. She earned the high score on balance beam during the team competition.

In June 2016, Ponor won two bronze medals at the European Championships. On 6 July, she was selected to represent Romania at the 2016 Summer Olympics, despite Larisa Iordache’s achievement of her fourth consecutive national all around title and citing injury concerns on Iordache. This announcement was made shortly after Ponor was named as Romania’s flag bearer for the opening ceremonies, the first time this honour was given to a gymnast.

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