Olympic champions Romania finished medal-less in the women's team finals for the first time in 25 years at the Aarhus gymnastics worlds in Denmark on Wednesday.
Romania suffered their biggest setback to settle on the fourth behind China, the United States and Russia with 175.450 points after enduring a rebuilding process under a new coach and a complete young team.
The former superpower collected five titles out of the last six world championships and they also crowned at last two Olympic Games. The last time for Romania to be out of the podium was at the 1981 Moscow world championships.
"Every nation has ups and downs, and my duty is to drag Romania's wagon up the hill," said coach Nicolae Forminte. "I will do it for sure, we need just a little patience."
Forminte took up the trouble-binding team when controversial long-time coaches Octavian Belu and Mariana Bitang resigned last year after being accused of demanding shares from the prize money of gymnasts.
"Romania's team is in reconstruction," Forminte said. "This was the most difficult year. But we have great juniors who will have the right to compete beginning next year and Romania's team will surely look different."
After the finals, Forminte came up to Lu Shanzhen, Chinese women's team coach, to congratulate him over China's first ever title.
"You were strong on some of the apparatus, but you are strong on all apparatus this time. You did a good job on this," said Forminte to Lu.
Triple Olympic champion Catalina Ponor pulled out of the gymnastics in April after winning gold on the beam at the European championships in Volos of Athens, leaving 16-year old Sandra Izbasa to lead the team in Aarhus.