People are always proud- a little bit cocky even- to say they spotted Ana Porgras early in her career. I am not one of those people. I first knew of the young Romanian up-and-comer in 2009, the meet where she made herself known to the gymnastics world at large.
The 2009 World Championships was to me somewhat lifeless, a meet bereft of a nail-biting team competition, and one that felt like it featured only a handful of tired, post-Beijing gymnasts lucky enough to have recovered in time for the next big competition. What saved it was the many bright-eyed bushy tailed young juniors who emerged in London. Among the medal winners were the likes of Chinese pixie Sui Lu, and powerful young US stars like Rebecca Bross and Kayla Williams.
And then there was Ana Porgras.
The young star marked her first senior major when she won bronze on bars and was the revelation of the qualification competition. The veritable ’slip of a girl’ in the Romanian national colours emerged in qualifications a virtual unknown, yet danced and swang her way to the number two spot in the qualification competition. It was hard to know what was more special about her- her incredible natural grace- grace such as hadn’t been seen in a Romanian for eons, or the fact that she could swing bars beautifully.
What was immediately intriguing about Ana Porgas was that she was a changeling child thrust among a group of typical Romanian children- a dark-eyed sylphide sibling in a family of sturdy pixies. We should forever consider ourselves lucky that the Romanians chose to play to the young Ana’s strengths- that those who raised her fully realised that her singular indefinable qualities should be nurtured and not subsumed into that signature efficient but somewhat artless Romanian uniform style. She was raised to be special- one of the few Romanians with a standout, specially tailored floor routine and with actual choreography in her beam routine. Even the ever-efficient Romanians couldn’t hide her light under a bushel.
Read the entire article on The Couch Gymnast