Leonida who was member of the silver medal winning team at the 2003 Worlds and at the 2006 European team, originally comes from destructed and a poor family. It is said that she pays the bills of both her brother and mother.
A gold medal winning gymnast receives life annuity but since Leonida was never a gold medalist she found her self lost post retirement.
Her former teammate and friend Olympic champion Monica Rosu described the news as shocking adding that Leonida told her she is working as a fitness instructor in Germany. She tried to call her after the scandal broke out but she never replied her calls. Asked if Leonida spoke about her financial problem during her competitive year she responded with “just think about that we spent 10, 11 or even 12 hours training a day and when we were in our room, money was the last thing on our minds back then" said Rosu" The only thing that was in our minds was gymnastics, gymnastics and gymnastics. Besides we had everything that we had wished for in Deva. There was no reason to complain”.
In 2005, Catalina Ponor, Monica Rosu and Leonida snuck out and went to a night club which got them into a lot of trouble with the Romanian team head coach. It was later revealed that Leonida was the one who led them to sneak out.
Rosu revealed that after a gymnast quits gymnastics, they get shocked by the cruel reality of not knowing what to do or where to go as they feel isolated and unable to cope with the new life. Rosu also stated that the society is harsh on athletes.
The Olympic champion also revealed that she wondered a couple of times that if she were in her place, would she have done the same?
Written by Gigi Khazback Farid
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Video translated and story covered by WOGymnastike volunteer Alex Mladinescu
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