Hello, visitor! How is your handball life? I have recently made an acquisition I would like to share. It is a poster of Gheorghe Gruia, comprised in a series of images of the Montréal Olympics. Until the day I came across this vintage photo, I had never suspected Gruia was such a star in the 70s.
This is the story of my discovery in short. I have very limited knowledge of men’s handball. I have heard wonderful stories about Gatu, Birtalan, Penu and Gruia, but never actually watched a game of theirs (remember the interview I translated once, in which Gruia was mentioned). The moment I set my eyes on the poster, I knew this must be Gruia. He was just like I had imagined him, beautiful, flying, a god with arms spread. I find the blue-yellow-red lined bands of his sweatshirt cute.
Browsing the internet for information, I came across the page of the 2013 World Championships which lists four Romanians among the best players of all times. According to them, “Gruia played for Romania 126 times and, in the 1992 IHF news bulletin he was called the best handball player ever.” It seems we can’t compare him to any of the right backs of today. Nagy, Lazarov, Andersson – none prevails the way Gruia did.