HEroES oF tHE paSt
Elisabeta Lipa, in the six seat,
wins her fifth Olympic gold
medal in Athens, Greece,
their sympathy and trust by my way of being.
They are my best friends.”
always easy: “I had to stay away from home to
train. In Romania, we couldn’t go back home
every evening after training; sometimes we
could go home on the weekends. But my
family always supported me and pushed me
to be an elite sportswoman. They were always
close to me.”
dream has not yet become reality, and so she
will not compete.
Asked which of her many victories is her
favourite, she replies with a warm smile and a
bit of nostalgia: “Each Olympic Games comes
with unique and unforgettable moments,
but Lucerne is where my best memories lie.
I raced there in the single six years in a row.
It is the most beautiful place. Winning there
is magical. Being in Lucerne is like being at
Endlessly, her drive kept pressing her on.
Every time she reached a goal, she would set
a higher one. Every time she won, she had the
desire to keep on winning. After Athens, she
expected to come back in time for Beijing.
Her success found its source not only in But first there was another task to tend to:
impeccable training and preparation, but ask the Romanian government to build an
also in her positive outlook: “I was aware my Olympic regatta course in her home country.
opponents were on a par with me, but I never “In Romania, despite our rowing tradition,
went to the start with a defeated attitude. I despite the results we obtain in rowing, we
went to the start to win.” have no venue that meets FISA standards.”
Lipa dreams of seeing Romania welcome
European Championships, Rowing World
Cups and World Rowing Championships. But
although Beijing is just around the corner, her
The desire she has to share her love for the
sport with Romania and the international
community shows just how much more
rowing means to her than winning medals.
“I did not discover rowing. Rowing discovered
me when I was 16. A coach came to our school,
and described it like this: Rowing in extra light
boats, on a lake just for you, out in the sun. It
sounded like holidays. I went to try it out, liked
it immediately and stayed in it for 24 years.”
In addition to her career in the Romanian
Police force, Lipa is an appointed member
of FISA’s Athlete’s Commission and as
such is now giving back to international
rowing through her involvement with the
International Rowing Federation.
Lipa the athlete also took time to become a
mother, leaving the sport for a time to have
a son. Training and being a mother was not