Ecaterina Szabo

  • Romania

Always poised and cool in competition, Ecaterina Szabo was the ideal gymnast, with creativity, flexibility, style and technique. By the time her career ended in 1987, she had won five Olympic medals, four of them gold.

The world first saw tiny Ecaterina Szabo on a CBS television special called “From Romania With Love”. The program was about Nadia Comaneci, but those who watched closely got a glimpse of a star in the making.

Long before she dazzled the audience at the 1984 Olympics, the world first saw tiny Ecaterina Szabo on a CBS television special called “From Romania With Love”. The program was about Nadia Comaneci, but those who watched closely got a glimpse of a star in the making. 

Even though she was just a junior, she performed the elite compulsory floor routine, which she taught herself by just observing and mimicking her older teammate. 

She was born in Zagon, Romania, January 22, 1967. And in 1980, at her gymnastics coming out party, the Junior European Championships, she won four gold medals — the all-around, vault, beam and floor exercise.   

By the 1983 World Championships, she scored a perfect 10 in floor exercise. That set the stage for an exciting showing at the 1984 Olympics.

While the world looked on in Los Angeles, Szabo led the Romanians to the team gold medal. She then took the silver in the all-around, behind American Mary Lou Retton. But then in the event finals, she came back to win three out of four individual events: vault, the balance beam and floor exercise. 

In fact, her gold in the floor exercise came after a power outage in Pauley Pavilion halted the meet. After a 20 minute wait, she stepped up, and without a warm-up, delivered an amazing performance, and a perfect 10, to win her fourth gold in the Games.

Always poised and cool in competition, Ecaterina Szabo was the ideal gymnast, with creativity, flexibility, style and technique. By the time her career ended in 1987, she had won five Olympic medals, four of them gold, eight World medals, and an amazing 11 Junior and Senior European medals combined.   

1984 OLYMPIC GAMES

  • Gold Medalist & Olympic Champion:
    • Vault
    • Balance Beam (tie)
    • Floor Exercise
  • Silver Medalist:
    • All-Around

1983 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Gold Medalist & World Champion:
    • Floor Exercise
  • Silver Medalist:
    • Vault (tie)
    • Uneven Bars (tie)
  • Bronze Medalist:
    • All-Around

1985 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Silver Medalist:
    • Vault
    • Balance Beam

1987 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Bronze Medalist:
    • Balance Beam

2000 INTERNATIONAL GYMNASTICS HALL OF FAME

  • Inducted as a member of the Class of 2000

Induction Speech Video