Gymnastics is one of the premier sports at the Olympics Games and garners quite a bit of media attention, primarily if you are from one of the top teams. What about the athletes who compete as individuals because their country did not qualify as a team? What would that experience be like? Gymnastike caught up with the 24-year-old Croatian and second time Olympian, Tina Erceg, to explore the answer to that question.
Her highlight from the London Games was landing her second vault, which was a last minute addition. She revealed, "I’d never jumped a yurchenko before in my life. And before the Olympics I figured out ok, not so many girls will jump two vaults. Maybe I can do another vault! So I started three months ago and I was really happy when I landed both the vaults!"
Thorughout her carrer, Erceg has been known for her unique choreography and wild leotards. Gymnastike chatted with the deligthful and outgoing gymnast about her interesting choices of both skills and leotards. Erceg responded, "I'm from a small country, and need to do something special so the judges will notice me. Every routine I try to add something a little bit special."
It is not just her leotards that are unique, Erceg has quite a few skills in her routines not performed very often by other gymnasts. She even created her own element, a roundoff arabian mount on beam, the skill officially named the "Erceg” and rated as an F in the code of points.
Watch her perform her difficult mount way back in 2004 at the European Championships:
As for her leotard style, Erceg said, "I always have the leotard that some people don't like, some say that it's awful, and some will say that it's very interesting. We try to always be special so for this Olympics I wanted something simple but elegant, and I think this one is good."
Tina Erceg models her 2012 Olympic leotard
When asked to name her favorite leotard from her wild collection, the answer was not surprising. "I think this one (points to her leotard pictured above), and the one with the tie. That one was special, but it was just for one period. You can not wear it all the time; that's not interesting."
Erceg told us she worked with the designer to create the tie leotard and tried out a few colors before finally selecting black with purple and white. "The tie one was special - some people didn't like it, but I don't care really, honestly."