Octavian Morariu: Romania, Olympic regular since 1952
How does the national team expect to perform during the Olympic Games? In your opinion, how many medals could be won?
This is always a very difficult question. I hear it all the time. You know, Romania had good results in the Olympic Games and although our last participation in Beijing was less impressive than in Athens, it was quite good. We won 4 gold medals and 8 medals in all. We expect to at least the same, as in Beijing. This is how we’d like to perform in London.
In what sports will the team take part in and are there types of sport that the team is going to perform for the first time?
I think we won’t take part in new types of sport in London. Our sports will be: fencing, gymnastics, judo, rowing, canoeing, wrestling, handball and maybe water polo.
Could you name sportsmen who are most likely to take prize-winning places?
I think we have chances in fencing with Anna-Maria Branza and Roxana Dumitrescu. I think we also have good chances in rowing with Viorica Susanu. In heavy lifting with Calancea and perhaps in gymnastics with Flavius Koczi.
How many people compose the national delegation at the Olympic Games?
Something between 85 and 100 depending on the water polo and handball teams, if they qualifie. If they qualify, there will be over 100 athletes.
How many times has the team participated in the Olympic Games?
Romania has taken part in all Olympic Games since 1952 and also competed before WW2. First medal won by Romania in Olympic Games was in 1924 and – believe it or not – it was the national rugby team who won the bronze medal in Paris. The games in London will be 60th game in a row for Romania after WW2.
How does the team train and prepare for the games?
National Olympic teams don’t train together, of course. They have specific training. They still participate in competitions, some of them even in qualifications. The preparation geographically is quite dispersed. Fencing team or gymnastics team come from time to time to Olympic training center which is near Bucharest, which is brand new, we completed it in 2008. But they train in different places.
Are there any difficulties that the team could have in London like weather conditions or Time difference?
Listen, climate will be more favorable to the athletes because London is not very hot, like it used to be in Beijing. We may expect some rain, but that’s not so very important. Time difference is only two hours. And it’s less than 3-hour-flight from Bucharest to London, so it’s very convenient to us.
Who is your main competitor in London?
All countries are competitor. Russia has competitors like China or US or GB. We are not among those big countries, so I don’t think we have a specific competitor. It’s mainly for the athletes, they compete for themselves and for the country. It’s not like the World Championship, when you need to beat the country to get to the finals. This is a competition where it’s athlete against athlete. And then – ranking of countries by medals.
What is your forecast? Who do you think will be the top five countries in the team finals?
Russia, China, US, Germany and GB.
What does the participation in the Olympic Games mean to Romania?
First of all, it’s tradition. Second, is honor for the athletes. And third, the possibility to represent the country at the major competition, prove and show to the world of sport that we can be good competitors.
Do people support the Olympics?
Romanian public is very fond of Olympics and I must say that for sure this would be the top program that would be watched during this period. The audience is very important.
Mr. Octavian Morariu, thank you very much.