Lavinia Milosovici

Lavinia Corina Milosovici (born October 21, 1976 in Lugoj) (Serbian: Lavinija Miloševici is a Romanian Olympic gymnast of Serbian origin.[1] An exceptionally successful athlete on the international competition circuit, Milosovici, also known as "Milo" in the gymnastics community, is considered to be one of Romania's top gymnasts of the 1990s and the most prolific female all-around gymnast of the decade, earning a total 19 World Championships or Olympic medals in a span of six years. She medalled in every single World Championships meet, Olympic Games and European Championships between 1991 and 1996, and is only the third female gymnast ever, after Larissa Latynina and Vera Caslavska, to win at least one World Championships or Olympic title on all four events. Milosovici was also the last gymnast ever to receive the perfect mark of 10.0 in an Olympic competition and the last to receive the benchmark score of 9.95 at the World Championships.

Lavinia Milosovici was born on October 21, 1976 in Lugoj. Her mother, Ildiko, was a competitive volleyball player, while her father, Tanase, was a national team wrestler. She began gymnastics at the age of 6 and moved to the Deva National Traning Centre as she excelled in the sport.[2][3][4]

Milosovici's gymnastics career was nearly derailed when she contracted scarlet fever at the age of 10, and again when the Romanian Revolution in 1989 temporarily closed Deva. However, she continued to train, and by 1990, was representing Romania in such international meets as the American Cup and the World Sports Fair.[5][3] She competed well at the 1991 Junior European Championships, winning two gold medals
Milosovici made her debut as a senior in 1991, winning her first all-around title at the Romanian National Championships.[5] She joined the Romanian team at the 1991 World Championships, where she contributed to the team's bronze medal and won her first individual World Championships title, on the vault, and placed third on the balance beam.[2]

Milosovici won her second individual world title on uneven bars at the 1992 World Championships. At the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Milosovici won a total of four medals, placing third in the all-around, second with the Romanian team, tieing with Hungarian Henrietta Onodi for the vault gold medal, and winning floor exercise with a perfect score of 10.0. Milosovici's 10, in the event finals, was only the second awarded in Barcelona, and the last ever awarded at any Olympics.[6][7]

After the 1992 Olympics, Milosovici continued to compete, winning the world title on beam in 1993, and leading the Romanian team to two World Championships team titles in 1994 and 1995. Shortly before the 1994 World Championships, she and her teammates staged a strike at Deva to protest nonpayment of prize money owed from the Romanian Gymnastics Federation; in spite of the depleted training time, they still won the team gold medal at Worlds.[8][5]

Milosovici also led the Romanian team to a bronze at the 1996 Olympics, in spite of a spate of injuries that left the squad depleted of several key gymnasts and forced them to compete with only six athletes instead of seven.[9] At the 1996 Olympics, Milo had the rare opportunity to improve upon her third place all-around finish in Barcelona--as did her longtime rival Shannon Miller, who looked to improve upon the all-around silver medal she had won in Barcelona. Though Milosovici was largely overlooked throughout the competition, her trademark consistency allowed her to take advantage of her competitors' mistakes, and she became the first gymnast since Nadia Comaneci to medal in the all-around at consecutive Olympics.


[edit] Post-retirement
Milosovici announced her official retirement in the summer of 1997.[10] After retiring, she returned to Lugoj to coach gymnastics and attended the Sports University in Timisoara.[3]

In 2002, Milosovici, along with former teammates Corina Ungureanu and Claudia Presecan, sparked controversy by posing naked in photographs for a Japanese photobook, LCC Gold ISBN 4872791185, and performing gymnastics routines topless for the Japanese DVDs Gold Bird and Euro Angels. A number of photographs from the photobook and DVDs were subsequently published in the Japanese magazine Shukan Gendai, and an edited version of the DVDs entitled 3 Gold Girls was released in Germany in 2004. Because the gymnasts had posed for some of the photographs and footage wearing their official Romanian team leotards, the Romanian Gymnastics Federation banned them from coaching and judging in the country for five years, and the Japanese Junior Gymnastic Club Federation contemplated banning Romanian gymnasts from a major international junior competition.[11][12]

Milosovici has been married to police officer Cosmin Vânatu since 1999.[5] They have one daughter, Denisa Florentina, who was born in 2004 and died in 2008.

Lavinia Milosovici

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