Gheorghe Hagi (32%), Nadia Comaneci (16%) and Simona Halep (14%) are the top three athletes admired by Romanians, according to a survey conducted by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy (IRES), whereas the first four favourite sports are football (35%), tennis (9%), artistic gymnastics (9%) and handball (8%).
Former gymnast Nadia Comaneci is considered the most important Romanian athlete of all times (30%), followed in the poll by Gica Hagi (26%), Ilie Nastase (6%), Simona Halep (6%), Ivan Patzaichin (3%) Nicolae Dobrin (3%), Ion Tiriac (3%). Helmuth Duckadam (1%), Iolanda Balas (1%) and Gabriela Szabo (1%).
The evolution of Romanian athletes at the Rio Olympics was appreciated by Romanians as good by 52% (42% good and 10% very good), poor by 47% (32% poor and 15% very poor).
Romanians’ favourite athletes at Rio de Janeiro were gymnast Marian Dragulescu (20%), gymnast Catalina Ponor (16%), tennis player Horia Tecau (7%), handball player Cristina Neagu (7%) and fencer Ana Maria Popescu (Branza) – 4%. Simona Halep, although she did not take part, appears on the 6th place with 2% of preferences.
The status of Romanian sport is regarded as bad by 48% of respondents and good by 46%. Most Romanians (54%) believe that the state of Romanian sport is poorer than 30 years ago, while 25% see it better.
Internationally, the most admired athletes by Romanian are Lionel Messi (23%), Cristiano Ronaldo (20%), Pele (4%), Diego Maradona (4%), Novak Djokovic (3%), Roger Federer (3%), Maria Sharapova (3%) etc.
IRES conducted this survey during August 16-18, 2016 on a sample of 1,223 individuals.
file photo: Ilie Nastase (left), Simona Halep, Nadia Comaneci and Gheorghe Hagi (right)