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Bodybuilders Fountain, 2010

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History of Florin Teodorescu's library

History of Florin Teodorescu's libraryYears ago, in a “Sportul” newspaper issue, I saw a photo of Steve Reeves who played in The Trojan Horse. Later I read the books written by Ladislau Szekely and Lazar Baroga. I was so fond of those books that I carried them in my school bag all the time. Those were early bodybuilding days for me so they helped me discover modern bodybuilding. I had had no other information sources before. I kept the books under my pillow and took them to school with me every day. I used to read to my classmates about Arnold Schwarzenegger, the “Austrian oak”, and the math teacher Frank Zane. My own math teacher would say: “Look, I’m also a teacher like Frank Zane, but I’ll never get to be like him.” My teacher’s name was Agafitei and he encouraged me to practise bodybuilding. In the coming years, I always had sport newspapers and books in my bag. I was clued-up about everything that was going on in the Romanian sport. My bag was a source of information. Practically, it was my first library. I kept everything I had in it, books, magazines, bodybuilding drawings.
By 1990, I had collected many books on sports. (Bodybuilding books were only those by Szekely and Lazar Baroga, which I have already mentioned.) In the ’80, on coming in Timisoara, I was able to read the Yugoslavian magazines of Petar Celik (the famous Hercule magazines), and some German publications. I even found several issues of Muscle Fitness and Flex, but I could only borrow them. It was then that I realised both what real bodybuilding implied, and what knowledge sharing meant. After a number of years, in 1997, I had the chance to publish my own magazine, Bodybuilding and Fitness, but only two issues because I lacked the means to keep it going.
Before 1990, I met Nicolae Parfenie, a well-known name both in the Romanian bodybuilding and abroad. “Uncle” Papi, as he was called, knew important people in IFBB. He had known Ben Weider since 1984-85. He was imprisoned twice because of his connections! The third time he had to sign some sort of pact with the secret police, but it must be underlined that he never caused harm to anybody! Those who want to prove how brave they are after the war has ended have to be reminded that Uncle Papi had been beaten ruthlessly in the secret police underground chambers and for a long while he was not able to stand (they had beaten the soles of his feet). Soon after the Revolution, Uncle Papi was able give an official character to his connections with Ben Weider, president of IFBB at the time, and other bodybuilders. This is how he received monthly documentation from the West (including from the USA). He collected a large bodybuilding library and when he had two copies of books or magazines he would give them to me. Thus, I started my own library, but it was much smaller compared to his. He used to tell me that he would open an Olympic Centre with books and exhibits in Brasov. The city hall gave him a building, but unfortunately, Uncle Papi passed away in 2003, several weeks before he could see his dream come true.
To convince Ben Weider to come to Romania, Uncle Papi tried to touch a deep chord in his heart. He knew that the IFBB president was also the president of “The International Napoleonic Society”, so he published several books by Ben Weider translated into Romanian. He wanted to publish one in Bucharest too, but as he didn’t have enough money, he thought of selling his house. He received an advance payment from a person “X” and died after a few days. X claimed he had given Uncle Papi all the money and, as they hadn’t signed any papers, suddenly there were no money to publish the book. Uncle Papi’s house, a splendid villa with its back to the Tampa Mountain, was lost…This was the price he paid for trying to open an Olympic Centre. I was out of the country when he died. As soon as I had returned, I got in touch with his family. They told me that they wanted to give his library only to me! There were others who wanted it as well, but failed in their attempt to get hold of it. Uncle Papi’s sister was adamant: “the library belongs to Florin, my brother’s best bodybuilding friend.” I went to Brasov twice to bring all the books and magazines that Uncle Papi had collected all his life. They were the true core of my library and encouraged me to keep collecting them and doing what he would have done. I am truly grateful to Nicolae Parfenie, former bodybuilder, trainer and judge and a great bodybuilding promoter.
Another man who contributed to my library is Mihai Botez, a great sportsman born in 1922. As a gymnast, he participated in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. He is also the father of Romanian Judo, a sport that he learnt in a French prisoner camp soon after the war. Like Uncle Papi, Uncle Misa has collected books since he was very young. You can’t become a great collector when you are old, such hobbies start very early in your life. Actually, all hobbies start early… I first met Uncle Misa somewhere between 1988 and 2000. I’d heard of him, but hadn’t known him personally. We were introduced by my friend Gheorghe Farcas, also a judoka. We were both glad to know each other. I told him I was a book collector and I asked him whether he would sell his library. I was very touched when he said that he would not sell it, he would give it to me. “I shall only give it to you, because you can exhibit the books I have collected all my life and people can read them”. Uncle Misa gave me several hundreds of books. It was a great honour for me. I am still friend with this special man who is still active as sportsman and trainer, has received many medals at judo veterans competitions and is a citizen of honour of Arad. I am privileged that he is my friend. May God keep Uncle Misa in good health for many years from now on!
I have received more than a hundred books from Patru Cojocaru, a sportsman anyone has heard of. Former professional boxer, national champion and also rugby player, he has had managerial positions in the local sports institutions.
I have also had selfless help from the two friends Ion Damaschin and Marcel Grigorescu. Uncle Ion is an athletics coach emeritus, a man who has dedicated his life to this sport. He has coached many athletes who have received titles and reached national records. For many years, he has been voted Number One Trainer in Timis County, and the athletes he has trained have been considered the best in the county as well. Marcel Grigorescu is also a very good athletics trainer.
Fate has given me a hand and one of the people I have admired since I was young, the world and European champion Petar Celik (Serbia) became my friend after many years. He has even donated books and magazines that he has published to my library. Petar is a pioneer of European bodybuilding.
More help from abroad I’ve had from Mrs. Ildiko Buranics (Hungary), the greatest Fit-parade competitions promoter in Europe.
Other people have helped me with my library: my friend Vasile Paraschiv, a bodybuilder and a bodybuilding promoter who has participated and supported the competitions I organised; and box trainer Ilie Kos, who is undoubtedly the best technician of this noble sport in Timis County.
My friend Ovidiu Forai, journalist and writer, has donated books as well, and so has Mircea Ionescu, a dentist and one of the oldest bodybuilders of Timisoara.
Man’s thirst for knowledge and discovery is infinite. My library is not very rich, but my desire to increase the number of my volumes is also infinite…
A motto is allowed at the end of this short article written about a library:Just as a child has a moral and spiritual obligation to his parents, so does a sportsman have an obligation to the sport that has brought him acknowledgment.”
“Love your parents!”

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