The title was given as a recognition for a life dedicated to sports and for his contributions for developing and representing Romanian sports on an international level. Many Romanian personalities were present at the official ceremony;: runner Gabriela Szabo, gymnastics coach Octavian Bellu, rower Elisabeta Lipa.
In March it will be 50 years since I left a forgotten village, like my partner used to say. That child wanted to become a champion and he became a champion several times. I have never thought of such an honour to receive such a title. It is a moment that excited me a lot and honours me at the same time.