Gymnastike blogger Gary Cuesta has recently been discussing three-time Olympians, which we are aware is rare to come across these days, but this week’s gymnast of the week is just that—three-time Olympian Marius Urzica.
Urzica was born in Toplita, Romania and began gymnastics at the age of six. He trained first under Ferenz Iosif, who helped him develop his passion for pommel horse, where he was required to practice endless routines when punished.
Urzica’s first international competition was in 1993, but he was not recognized as a great until 1994 when he won the gold medal at both the European Championships and the World Championships.
Urzica’s first Olympic appearance was at the 1996 Atlanta Games where he won silver on the pommel horse. Urzica continued to fulfill his name as “King of Pommel Horse” at the 2000 European Championships where he won the gold medal on pommel horse and then at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where he captured the gold medal on pommel horse.
His reign on pommel horse continued into 2001 and 2002 where he won the gold medal at the World Championships and the European Championships. At the 2001 Grand Prix Games he received a perfect 10.0 on pommel horse, which he then said was his, “motivation for another three years, up to the 2004 Olympic Games.” His perfect 10.0 and motivation proved to work because at his third and final Olympics he placed silver on the pommel horse.
After the 2004 Olympics Urzica retired from gymnastics and began coaching gymnastics in Romania. While Urzica is remembered most for his work on the pommel horse, he has a skilled named after him on parallel bars, the Urzica. And although now retired from the sport, many remember him as the “King of Pommel Horse” as he has an E difficulty skill named after him, also the Urzica.
Here is the routine that won Urzica the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games.