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Gymnast Profiles: Andreea Raducan

In honor of her recent book release, I am profiling former Romanian gymnast, Andreea Raducan.


Andreea Raducan
Vital Statistics
Date of Birth: September 30, 1983
Current Age: 29
Born: Barlad, Romania
Current Residence: Bucharest, Romania
Club: Deva National Training Center
Coaches: Octavian Belu and Marian Bitang
Current Occupation: Sports Announcer, Media Personality and Author

Former Romanian Gymnast, Andreea Raducan is best known for winning the all-around gold medal in Sydney
and then having it stripped away due to testing positive for pseudo-ephedrine  a common ingredient in cold medicines and a banned substance at the time. Today, 13 years later,  she is still thought of to be the true all-around winner of the medal

A young Andreea began gymnastics at the age of four and a half. By 1996, she was selected to be on the Romanian Junior National team and began training at the facility in Onesti. Within two years, she was promoted to the senior national team and joined the Deva Training center. In 1998, Andreea made her international debut at that year's Junior European Championships where she won a silver medal on the balance beam and tied for the bronze on floor.

In 1999, while the rest of us were partying like it was 1999,  Andreea was rising ranks fast at the World Championships in Tianjin, China. The Romanian team took home a gold in the team competition and Andreea herself became a world champion on floor and took home the silver medal on the balance beam. In 2000, the world stopped partying like it was 1999 and Andreea had another great international championship at the Euros.

That summer was the Olympic medal stripping heard round the world. Andreea and her teammates took home the gold medal in the team final, the first for the Romanians since 1984. Along with qualifying for the all-around final, Andreea qualified for the vault and floor exercise event finals.

The all-around competition was one that was mired in controversy, heck, it's not just the all-around that was plagued with controversy  Ten years later, the US was awarded a team bronze medal after news broke that one of China's gymnasts was underage at the competition. The vault gave many of the gymnasts competing lots of problems. It was discovered later on in the competition by Australian gymnast, Allana Slater, that the vaulting horse had been set five centimeters too low, causing issues pre-and post flight, injuring many gymnasts including Svetlana Khorkina, who qualified to the all around just ahead of Andreea. A british gymnast was injured so severely, she had to drop out of the competition. Andreea came out of her vault rotation unscathed and had strong performances on the beam and floor. Andreea and her teammates, Simona Amanar and Maria Olaru dominated the medal podium, coming in first, second and third respectively. Andreea took home a silver medal on vault before the competition's close. That was the last time three gymnasts from one country dominated the medals podium. The stupid as hell "two per country" rule came into being after the Sydney Olympics.

The "unfortunate incident" as I am referring to it now came a few days after the close of the competition.  The IOC came and announced that Andreea had tested positive for pseudo-ephedrine which was due her being prescribed a cough and cold medicine that contained the substance by the team's doctor. Simona Amanar also tested positive for the substance, but since she was taller and heaver than the tiny 4'9' Andreea, the tests showed the substance to be more prevalent in her system.  Her teammates and coaches stuck by her. Simona Amanar and Maria Olaru were promoted to first and second, initally refused their medals in a show of solidarity. The girls did accept the medals to bring them home, but later gave the gold to Andreea.

That September, the case was brought to the court of Arbitration. An arbitration panel ruled that she didn't gain anything by taking the drug, but they upheld the IOC's decision anyways. Andreea still remained a sympathetic figure in the public eye, drawing support from fellow countrymen and members of the gymnastics community. Former Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci spoke out in support for Andreea and Romanian president Emir Constantinescu personally greeted her with flowers.

After the Olympics Andreea continued to compete. At the World Championships in Ghent, Andreea and the Romanian team picked up a team gold. Individually Andreea brought home a bronze in the all-around and  vault finals and two gold medals for the beam and floor. She competed through 2002 and retired after the World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary.

Post-gymnastics, Andreea pursued a career in journalism, specifically sports broadcasting. She started by commenting for Romanian television on gymnastics competitions for the 2004 Olympics. In addition to reporting on gymnastics events. Andreea did a variety of sports features for Eurosport. She currently  has her own television program promoting the sport of gymnastics in Romania and gathering following for the national team. In addition to her television career, Andreea has done modeling and promotional work. To help further her career in the public eye, Andreea is also currently pursuing a master's degree in journalism. In 2010, Andreea published her memoir, aptly titled "The Other Side of the Medal." The book was originally published in Romania, but has become so popular, the publishers recently released an English version of the book.

Despite the controversy that surrounded her at the Olympics, Andreea never let herself become defeated.  She maintains a positive outlook on life and is an idol to many gymnastics fans.

Medal Record
Olympic Games
Gold2000 SydneyTeam
Silver2000 SydneyVault
World Championships
Gold1999 TianjinTeam
Gold1999 TianjinFloor
Gold2001 GhentTeam
Gold2001 GhentBalance Beam
Gold2001 GhentFloor
Silver1999 TianjinBalance Beam
Bronze2001 GhentAll-Around
Bronze2001 GhentVault
European Championships
Silver2000 ParisFloor
Bronze2000 ParisTeam







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