After taking a post-Beijing break, she came back to international rowing competition this year, with the aim to add another medal to her Olympic collection in the women’s pair with partner Viorica Susanu (four-time Olympic Champion). Today, they will be racing the women’s pair final at 11:50 GMT.

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games were Andrunache’s first – she won gold in both the pair and the eight.
World Rowing caught up with Andrunache and Susanu earlier this season to talk about their Olympic preparations.

World Rowing: What has life been like for you since 2008?
Georgeta Andrunache: I retired definitely and in this period had my second child and thought that rowing would only be something on TV for me. It was my intention to stop, it was a long time to have been rowing since 1989 (20 years). Coming back has been an ambition to prove myself and it is a big challenge for me – all the others on the Romanian team are much younger.

WR: Any differences rowing now compared to 2008?
Viorica Susanu:
During the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup regattas, we were testing our preparations. We are confident we are on our way.
GA: Generally doing the same – we don’t want to experiment. Our experience is good and together we will follow the plan with the coach.
VS: While it’s not normal for us when we do not to make the finals (Samsung World Rowing Cup in Belgrade), it is not upsetting. Because we’ve just restarted to row it’s not a big deal. Even with experience other competitors are younger. Because the final qualifications are near, other countries are in different stages of final preparations. So we are confident that we will bring for Romania the fourth Olympic gold in the women’s pair.

WR: What is your favorite race?
GA: The win in Sydney was the most memorable as it was a tough race. All races at the Games have been great stories and memories.
VS: When all the races are finishing in gold, they are all beautiful.
GA: I like competition. My best feeling is in competition. Training is very tough, and rowing in Romania is tough. So we try to enjoy each place we visit, and the culture and what we have found.
VS: I loved Sydney. We spent a lot of time there – visited the zoo, aquarium, Opera House, gardens.
WR: Have you ever gone to a race where you have not been competing?
At the New Zealand World Rowing Championships I was a supporter and that was the first spark that came back for me. Feelings to not be in the boat are harder! After 20 years, it’s like being addicted – you can’t stay away from it. We leave our families behind and make lots of sacrifices this time too (Andrunache has two children – a boy aged 7 and a girl aged 3. Viorica has one girl aged 2. They carry pictures of their children on their phones when travelling to races.)

WR: How do you feel about the impact you make on the next generation of rowers in Romania?
At this moment there are a lot of younger rowers in Romania and being together it’s huge for them to see us preparing, talking, and interacting with the coaches and officials. We were in the same situation when we started – we had Romanian rowers to look up to like Elisabeta Lipa, Ignat Cochela and more. There are a lot of strong Romanian women.
GA: At the beginning we wished to follow them and be better than them. Our wish now for the next generation is that they follow us and become even better. Rowing in Romania is a family thing. It has always been part of the culture there to be sharing and giving back to the next generation. It is the reason for success. We are together all the time. We stay with our families and spend the majority of time connected as a family.

WR: Any last words?
Rowing is a clean fair sport. There isn’t much reason to envy. That is the reason there is so much respect between colleagues. Everything is real.