Carolina Pascual, the princess of Barcelona’92

She was the princess of Barcelona’92, the girl who made the dream of many mothers come true, eager to see their daughters at the top of the podium in a sport as plastic as rhythmic gymnastics, in which music, skill and precision combine to turn doll-girls into stars. Carolina Pascual (Orihuela, 1976) achieved his dream in one of the new Olympic disciplines of the Catalan event. She won silver in an almost perfect tournament, which crowned the great Alexandra Timoshenko as the queen of the tapestry, and in which two Spaniards were among the first four, Carolina Pascual and Carmen Acedo (quarter). This success in a very new sport, still with little tradition in Spain, laid the foundations for a future generation of great gymnasts (Almudena Cid, Carolina Rodriguez.), which in successive competitions have always been among the best.

Precocious due to the demands of rhythm, Carolina Pascual began training when she was seven years old. She did it at the Murcia Municipal School and later went to the Montemar Athletic Club in Alicante, a quarry of good gymnasts. At the age of 12 she stood out, so she was called to be part of a concentration of promising young people, with a view to Barcelona’92. Her performance in her competitions backed up the trust he placed in her. Her technical quality and the basis of a dance school (her beginnings are linked to dance) made her stand out. Her outgoing nature completed the qualities of a gymnast with a great future. A year later she was the coach Emilia Boneva He took her to the Moscardó Club, where the national team was preparing. Like the rest of her teammates, Carolina abandoned her studies and for years dedicated herself to training eight hours a day to achieve sporting success.

In it Gothenburg European Championships In 1990, he won his first international medal, achieving bronze for teams, a medal he repeated in the Athens World Cup 1991, also by teams, and later in the Stuttgart European Championship. Emilia Boneva always said about Carolina Pascual that she was a born winner. The Bulgarian coach, the architect of the best results in Spanish gymnastics, highlighted her temperament, her desire to improve, to win. Once Carolina had retired, the coach tried to get her to return to high competition. She prepared the outfit for the Atlanta Games and asked him to return to the tapestry. She didn’t and eventually regretted it, as Boneva assembled an exceptional ensemble of gymnasts (Marta Baldó, Nuria Cabanillas, Estela Gimenez, Lorena Gurendez, Tania Lamarca y Estíbaliz Martínezthe ‘Golden Girls’) who would achieve the Olympic title.

Today Carolina Pascual is the result of the harsh reality of small sports and the difficulty of athletes in managing ephemeral success, which briefly turns them into great idols without continuity as they lack the prominence and money of disciplines such as soccer, basketball, athletics, tennis… The one who was the youngest Spanish athlete to win an Olympic medal, the first Spaniard to get on the podium in an international rhythmic gymnastics competition, is crying out today for an opportunity. Since her retirement, one year after Barcelona’92 and without having achieved excellence again, she has still remained among the best in the Malaga European Cupwith one silver and two bronzes, and in the Alicante World Cup, silver in clubs, her best device -, the woman from Alicante pursues economic stability in her professional life. She has been burning through stages as a coach in facets close to gymnastics – rhythmic, aerobics -, she has tried reality shows and she has tried acting, without fitting into any of her ‘adventures’.

She said goodbye, tired of the sacrifice of 12 hours of training and not having a life. She had already had a hard time getting back to being among the best when she broke her foot after Barcelona and spent months on crutches. She lost her shape and returning to the mat required extra effort. She did it because on the horizon she had the World Championship in Alicante, which means ‘playing at home’, but deep down she was already ruminating about retiring. The silver in maces was her last gift to Spanish rhythmic gymnastics.

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