Romania picked up their first gold medal of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games as Georgeta Popescu raced to first place in the women’s monobob competition.
The 17-year-old danced with the blue, yellow and red national flag at the bottom of the St. Moritz Olympia Bob Run having posted a total time of 2 minutes, 26.84 seconds over two heats.
“I do not realise yet what it feels like to be a Youth Olympic champion,” Popescu said. “But perhaps tomorrow when I hold the medal in my hand I will realise.
“The only thing that really went through my mind is that I’ve made my country very proud.”
Drama unfolded in the charge for silver with just 0.01 seconds dividing silver medallist Viktoria Cernanska (SVK) from bronze medallist Celine Harms (GER).
“It was very close,” Harms said. “I’m a little bit sad, but I have the bronze medal so it’s OK.”
Friends and family gathered around Harms to offer their congratulations, with the 16-year-old in tears afterwards.
“I was crying because it was unbelievable to have a bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games,” Harms added. “I cried and cried and cried. I’m a person who cries a lot when I’m happy.”
IOC President Thomas Bach was in St. Moritz and offered his best wishes at the competition’s dramatic close.
“He told me that this medal is extremely precious for Romania, because Romania never had a medal in women’s bobsleigh,” said Popescu of her encounter. “I am extremely proud to have met Thomas Bach.”