Corina Ungureanu book launch

Corina Ungureanu's official book launch took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Bucharest, Friday July 6th. The book's author, poet Laurian Stănchescu titled it "Corina Ungureanu -beginning and end." He also confessed to re-writing the book no less than 6 times, before settling on the final version -240 pages, and 48 new pictures. Asked about the book, the author explained that "it's not a tabloid book. On the contrary, it describes the life of a World champion just as it was, along with the people she met along the way -coaches, officials and teammates. If there will be any scandal surrounding this book, it will start from the people reading it. The book's content isn't to blame." In an interview with Romanian television, Corina said that "the book wasn't even my idea. Mr. Stănchescu approached me first. I simply told the story of my life and he wrote it down, then re-wrote it and re-wrote it some more," she added with a smile. The book will also be launched in Ploiesti, Corina's hometown, Costinesti, a seaside resort, and Turnu-Severin. A Japanese translation is already in the works.

The book does contain several candid comments by the former champion. Corina was asked to comment on national head coach Octavian Belu. "I received many spankings from Mr. Belu [...] but I believe competitive sports require a Spartan education, not one like in boarding schools (n.t - old fashioned Romanian boarding schools were notoriously lax and laid back). Belu is one of the best gymnastics coaches in the world and his spankings helped me a lot. It was like an impulse to snap out of my tired and exhausted state."

The former champion also admits to having a troubled relationship with the local press. "I don't like having my statements misinterpreted. I had problems with this. Many times I had statements misinterpreted, or taken out of context.."

Another fact unknown to the general public is that Corina quit gymnastics due to huge back problems that currently prevent her from standing up more than 10 minutes. She sounds almost nonchalant when talking about this dramatic turn of events. "From 14 to 19 years old, I kept doing gymnastics, risking my health and ultimately my life. After several tests, a medical commission noticed my spine had suffered several modifications. I had to end the career I just started, but I decided to keep going. I'm just now discovering the price I had to pay, from one day to the next. I hope I didn't pay too great a price for my wins. Or maybe I did. It was worth it..."

1999 World AA champion Maria Olaru still has fond memories of her old teammate. "Corina was always at my side. She encouraged me and helped me understand things and see them in a different light. Corina was, and still is a very close friend of mine."

Corina is currently waiting for definite contracts, after receiving job offers from South America, Asia and Italy. Corina explained that she was still feeling the aftereffects of her decision to pose for Playboy and that made it hard for her to find a coaching position within Romania. "In the short period I worked as a coach, I sensed a lot of hostility directed at me as a results of my decision to pose for Playboy magazine."

Corina said the most import thing she is working on right now is a new gymnastics skill, the Ungureanu.

The actual book launch was not open to the general public, but several of Corina's former teammates were happy to attend, unlike national team coaches Belu and Bitang and federation officials who chose to skip the event. Nicoleta Onel, Alexandra Dobrescu (pictured), Maria Olaru and Claudia Presăcan were among the gymnasts present. Playboy representatives who were also invited extended an offer for Maria Olaru to pose for their magazine. The former gymnast is reportedly "considering" their offer. No financial details were released as of yet. A similar offer was made to former national team member Nicoleta Onel, currently coaching in Dubai. She is yet to give definite answer.

Her book launch wasn't the only premiere to take place Friday. Corina debuted her commercial for local drinking water company, Bucovina SA. Corina has been a spokesperson for the water company for a few months and her picture has been featured on bottle labels. She will now be featured in a poster promoting the drink and a commercial that shows her flipping through a water cascade, courtesy of special effects.

"My secret? Natural drinking water Bucovina", proclaims Corina
We think it must be more than just the water...

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