Oana Petrovschi shone in the “big” gymnastics for only a year, after that the dream to participate to the Athens Olympics faded away. Now she has a titanium prosthetic of her spine.
10 years of gymnastics. Oana Petrovschi (22 years old) began her journey to the Olympics when she was only 7 years old. “I was just like a small ball, ready to explode”, she remembers.
She left Birlad for Deva. Work, exhausting trainings, pain, internship and training camps, away from family, away from friends. Nothing out of usual. Hundreds of little girls started like her, dreaming that one day they will be like Nadia.
ATHENS, THE GREAT SORROW
In 2002 Oana made her forceful entry into the world of the senior gymnastics. She won 23 medals in only one year. She climbed on the second step of the podium at the World Championship at Debrecen, parallels. “I was part of the team preparing for the 2004 Olympics of Athens, I had the most difficult finishing in the world at parallels! I should have been on the Athens Podium! All my life I will feel that I have failed my career because I have not been there” she says when she looks at the photos taken with her ex-colleagues. She is not complaining though. She had already learned to live with this pain, for which there are no medicines or surgeries. Everything ended in 2003. The health problems killed her dream.
4 YEARS OF TORMENT
At the end of 2002, Oana participated to seven official competitions and one demo in three months. That was too much. Her back broke in March 2003. The doctors recommended a three weeks break. But the national team trainers, Octavian Bellu and Mariana Bitang took her to Paris Bercy Grand Prix. There she had an ankle injury also.
‘On the ground I landed on some clothes, at the end of a diagonal. I do not know why they were there’.
After another competition, in Netherlands, her back stuck again. She was unable to move. The diagnostic came as an execution squad: 7mm spinal disc hernia. Farewell to gymnastics! She slept for a few months on a platform. She was barely able to dress herself. The Federation refused to pay for the surgery. She sued FRG and won the trial. After that there were 4 years of searching, controls in Romania and Hungary.
7 HOURS INTO SURGERY
In 2006 she arrived in Austria, at Klagenfurt. With the help of some friends she started training two groups of children to be able to support herself. She used to have around 800 euro per month. “It was very difficult for me to enter the sport room. I wanted to use the apparatuses, but I was unable to. My back stuck more and more often, the pain was unbearable.” In 2007, the two L5-S1 problem vertebras were spaced by only 3mm: “It was bone on bone. I had to undergone surgery!”. Her parents helped her with the money required for surgery. In order to reach the spine, the Klagenfurt doctors had to enter from front. They cut through the abdominal muscles, between the internal organs. The surgery took 7 hours. They took a bone piece of 1.5 cm from the right thigh bone, which was “planted” between the vertebras. After that they “sealed” everything with a titanium plate, fixed by four screws. Sometimes, she still feels the screws. But she got used to that.
After being released from the hospital, Oana Petrovschi received a special passport.
“Every time I pass through a metal detector, it begins to sound. It is the titanium plate I will carry inside me for the rest of my life. With this passport I can show what it is all about. If something happens to me, it lets them know that it is a piece of metal inside me, so that they don’t perform any wrong procedure.” Oana says.
“The gymnastics are a beautiful and painful memory. But enough!”
OANA PETROVSCHI, former gymnast.
She starts all over again.
Recently, Oana Petrovschi moved to Bucharest, where she has an apartment. She is a student of Arad Sport Academy, final year. She won the fight for a normal life.
Now she is ready to start a new one, beginning with her day-by-day life. She looks for her way in life, a way different of that leading to the sport room, where she does not want to enter anymore, not even for training someone.
“I cannot and I don’t want to live of memories. That’s enough!” Oana said. From time to time she looks to the photos. She sighs: “I should have been there, in Athens!”