At the age of 43 she would be the oldest rowing medalist at the Olympics. But this Romanian has an added reason for representing Rome in 2008 – she says ‘I put a condition to the Romanian Government for my presence at the 2008 Olympics - to build an Olympic six-lane waterway in Romania.’ Her influence is such at her country that her appeals definitely will not go unheard by the government of Rome. The president of Romania personally came down to watch her eight at Athens, and met the crew to congratulate them after their win (after the first round). This is an obvious self less gesture to help her younger colleagues gain maximum experience for future Olympic games She currently is titled ‘the most medaled rower in Olympic history.’ A competing rower Ester Workel from Netherlands, commented once (on rowing alongside Elisabeta), ‘when going into the race and knowing and knowing you are racing against her it gives you an added impulse.’ That’s a great reputation for a competitor in any field, to hold – the respect of members from your competing teams.
Elisabeta Lipa-Oleniuc is well known for her retirements! She announced retirement for the first time in 1996, after Atlanta, and did not compete for 3 years in fact. In early 200, she made her come back just in time to be part of the wining eight at Sydney (gold). Once again she retired after these Olympic games, only to make another comeback in 2003 to help her country qualify for the Athens Olympics. As history would have it, she’s set her sights on the 2008 Beijing Games, where we will see her lead Romania’s eight into perhaps another winning Olympic performance.
Elisabeta Lipa-Oleniuc has proved to the world that training and fitness are the key elements that make a champion out of a sportsman, and has been a fitting role model for her colleagues in the Roman Eight, and for many aspirants around the world. We hope to see her win many more championships.