Gold Medal Coach: Viorel Popescu
GK: Are there any differences between competing in Romania and in the United States? If so, what are they?
VP: There are some differences competing in Romania versus the US. The biggest difference is that the apparatuses were not elevated on a podium the way they are in the US. When I started competing in the US, this affected my performance because the apparatus responded in a different way.
GK: Share with us what your favorite part about competing as a gymnast was and how you translate that into your coaching techniques now.
VP: My favorite part about competing was traveling to various places around the world and executing incredibly difficult skills that very few would dare to try. The way I implement that into my coaching is by never telling my gymnasts what they’re going to do before they do it. If I did, it would scare them and they would shut down before even trying a new skill.
GK: What has been your most rewarding experience as a coach?
VP: The most rewarding moment as a coach was when my gymnast, Kiwan, made the US National Team after so many years of hard work.
GK: Who are some of the up-and-coming male athletes we should keep an eye on?
VP: Some up-and-coming gymnasts to keep an eye on are Erik Engelke, level 9, as well as future stars candidates Austin, Cody Loving, Prentice Doerfler, and Lars Hogge.
GK: You have coached athletes from levels 1-10. Which level do you enjoy coaching most and why?
VP: I enjoy coaching the lower levels the most, even though it can be tedious. That’s where the molding begins. A coach’s personality is imprinted on their athletes who, in turn, will reflect it like a mirror. If you want to know yourself as a coach, look at your younger gymnasts.
Thank you Viorel Popescu for all your hard work and dedication to the sport of gymnastics. We wish you continued success!
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