Road to Rio: Corina Caprioriu, Flight: RO2014 - BR2016

This time attention for another sporting hero. London 2012 Olympic Silver medallist, Corina Caprioriu is ready to take on the challenges of the next qualification cycle, however, there is something else she is aiming for than 'just gaining for Olympic Gold'. What is her biggest dream right now? Corina shares her plans on the way to Rio de Janeiro.
Corina's sports career began with gymnastics at the age of five and just a bit more than a year later she swopped the somersaults for ippons. "At the time my brother was doing judo for four years and he told me to come along for a session. I loved it immediately..." - she recalls. At the beginning Corina just enjoyed judo as a hobby and it wasn't until the age of 14 when she decided that she wants to be an Olympic champion. Corina loves all types of sports and besides the precious gold, she is also aiming to became a role model in her country for the upcoming generation. Off-site she would go and do a bit of shopping here and there "I love shopping" - she says. Favourite holiday destination? "If and when I will ever get time for holiday, my dream holiday would be Bora-Bora, which perhaps where I will spend my honeymoon" - she continues. The Romanian judoka collected several medals throughout her career which she topped up with an Olympic Silver medal from the London 2012 Games. Besides your Olympic silver, which one of your victory is the most precious for you and why? "It is definitely the European Championships gold in Austria...standing on the top of the podium and listening to your national anthem after winning the continental championships is absolutely is really incredible." At the London 2012 Olympic Games she fought her way into the final at the woman -57kg, where she faced her Japanese opponent, Kaori Matsumoto. The contest was going head to head until an error occurred from World Bronze medallist, Caprioriu, which resulted receiving a hansoku-make and perhaps cost her losing out on a possible Olympic gold. Whether she could have won the final or not, we will never find out... However, she shares her feelings about that unfortunate moment. Corina: "I was training really really hard for the Olympic Games. I woke up and gone to bed with London 2012 in my head...every single day of the when I arrived, I did not feel any pressure at all. In fact, I felt really good in every way, physically and mentally... I was ready... I told myself: 'Corina, Olympic is only once every four years, make sure you don't come back with no medals'." - she explains. She certainly kept her promises to herself after winning the silver medal...but what happened in the final? Caprioriu: "Everybody was asking me what happened in the final and people were saying that I lost the final... This is not how I look at it. Yes, I made a mistake and it cost me but at the end of the day I won and Olympic silver medal and that is how I look at it." Do you think you could have won the gold medal? "Yes. Minute by minute I felt stronger and stronger and began to get excited in my head that I am a step closer to became an Olympic champion. Looking back, I think that excitement turned into nerves and that is why I made that mistake. However, winning an Olympic medal was a surreal moment took me days to sink in what has just happened to me." Corina took a long break after the 2012 Summer Olympics and just got back on the mat in January 2013. "I was so scared, it felt like I forget judo" - she says. "But then I won the medal at the Masters and that put me back on track mentally. Also I never won a medal in Master competition before so it was even more special." - she continues. For 2014 her plans are the following: "I wish for a European medal and the same for the World Championships while aiming to stay in the top 8 on the world ranking." On her way to her third Olympic Games...the preparation must have been good since you gone home with a silver medal. Is there anything you would like to change in your preparation towards Rio? "My coach does everything for us but yes I would like to be stronger which I know my coach will make sure of. My coach is a very good coach and I have loads of partners in Romania so I think it will go well again. Having said that, I do believe that no matters how good is the preparation if there is no ambitious and the right mentality is missing, than the medal won’t just come by itself." - explains the 2011 WC Bronze medallist. And guess what? Corina's favourite place to return for a tournament is Rio de Janeiro. Can she top it up with an Olympic Gold in two year’s time? "I really like to go to Rio for competition. The sun, the beach... It is nice and warm, it relaxes me. I also like the people there, they are nice. I hope it will work for me at the Games" - she smiles. European Champion, World Bronze medallist and Olympic Silver medallist...what keeps you going? Caprioriu: "I really love judo, but you know, Romania does not have World Champion gold medallist and I really really hoping to be the first one." In five year’s time, where can you see yourself? "Oh, in five year’s time I will have children" - she laughs. "After Rio I finish with judo and start with my quiet, normal life. No more travelling around. I will be focusing on building a family." - she admits. Corina's three wishes: "Becoming the first World Champion in judo in my country... and this one wish can make up three wishes for me."



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