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Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 14:03 GMT
Romanian team saved after nude DVD
Lavinia Milosovici performs her gold-medal winning floor routine in Barcelona, 1992
Milosovici won two Olympic golds in Barcelona
Romanian gymnasts will be allowed to take part in a top competition in Japan, despite a row over a nude performance by three former members of the national team.

The three Olympic medallists, including double gold-medal winner Lavinia Milosovici, carried out their naked routines for a Japanese television station.

Japanese gymnastics officials were so furious that they threatened to ban the members of the current Romanian team from an international youth contest in Yokohama next September.

But a Japanese spokesman said on Tuesday that Romanian officials were as incensed as their Japanese counterparts, and the threat of the ban was being withdrawn.

It is just a shame that a video like this can be made in the name of sport and create such a bad image

Eri Nakamura
Japanese spokeswoman
"We were told by the Romanian Gymnastics Federation that the three gymnasts in question were no longer affiliated to them, so Romania will be invited as scheduled," said Eri Nakamura, secretary of the Japanese junior gymnastics federation.

"It is just a shame that a video like this can be made in the name of sport and create such a bad image," she told Reuters news agency.

'Disgrace'

The Romanian gymnastics authorities have labelled the women a "disgrace".

They carried out routines on normal gym equipment including the beam.

The Japanese decision to withdraw the threatened ban was taken at an executive board meeting of the Japan Gymnastics Association (JGA).

Fourteen countries have been invited to take part in the contest.

Ms Milosovici won two gold medals in the Barcelona games in 1992, in the floor and vault contests.

She and her two fellow nude performers - Sydney gold medallist Claudia Presecan and Corina Ungureanu - had already posed naked for still pictures.

But their nude television performance, which has been made available on DVD, made the sport's governing bodies even more furious.

They face possible action from the Romanian Gymnastics Federation.

It tells children that you can make money off your gold medals by posing nude, which is a terrible message

Keiko Ikeda
Olympic medallist
And Japanese officials may still raise the issue at the International Gymnastics Federation next year.

"Even if she [Ms Milosovici] has retired from competition, her act is a disgrace to gymnastics," said Koji Takizawa, executive director of the JGA.

Other senior figures in the sport have warned that children interested in gymnastics were being sent a dangerous message.

"It tells children that you can make money off your gold medals by posing nude, which is a terrible message," said Olympic medallist Keiko Ikeda.

See also:

08 Jan 01 | Other Sports
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