Andreea Răducan is a world-class Romanian gymnast, journalist and sports commentator, gold medalist on teams and silver medalist in vaulting, at the Olympic Games in Sydney and multiple gold and silver medalist at the world artistic gymnastics championships.

Andreea's story

The beginning

She started gymnastics at the age of 4 in her hometown, Bârlad. After winning numerous medals nationwide, in 1996, the gymnast was selected by the Romanian Gymnastics Federation, to be part of the national group of juniors, who trained in Oneşti. Although she was still a junior, after about a year she joined the senior Olympic team at the Olympic Center in Deva.

Preparatory stage

The 1998 European Junior Championships in St. Petersburg brought the gymnast two silver medals and a bronze medal. In 1999 Andreea was part of the Romanian gymnastics team, at the World Championships in TianJin, China. At the first big competition in seniors, Andreea won the gold medal in the floor exercise final, the gold in the team final, and a silver medal for the beam.

Olympic Games

All these results and the experience gained, made Andreea Răducan one of the main gymnasts in the Romanian team at the Olympic Games in Sydney. Andreea won the gold medal for teams and qualified for the individual finals for the floor exercise, vaulting, but also in the individual all-around finals (along with Simona Amânar and Maria Olaru).

Sydney 2000

An unprecedented situation at an Olympic competition happened in the individual all-around final, when the organizers got the vault's height wrong. Although Andreea jumped before the mistake was corrected, she refused to repeat the jump, and continued with excellent performances on the beam and floor exercise. At the end of the individual competition, the first three places were occupied, in order, by Andreea, Simona Amânar and Maria Olaru.

Withdrawal of the Medal

After the competition, the International Olympic Committee announced that Andreea Răducan had tested positive for pseudoephedrine, which was a banned substance at the time. Despite the appeals submitted by the Romanian Olympic Committee and the Romanian Gymnastics Federation, the decision to disqualify the Romanian gymnast remained final. Under these conditions, the gold medal was awarded to Simona Amânar, Maria Olaru received the silver medal, and Liu Xuan (China) received the bronze medal. Andreea Răducan kept the medals from the team competition and from vaulting (gold and silver).

Both Andreea Răducan and the officials of the Romanian gymnastics team always supported the gymnast's innocence. The team doctor was found guilty of negligence, because he administered the gymnast with a medicine for cold and flu, which contained a prohibited substance; as a result, he was suspended until the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Romanian gymnasts openly declared that the gold medal in the individual all-around belongs to Andreea by right. After announcing the disqualification decision, both Simona Amânar and Maria Olaru said that they intended to refuse the new medals as a sign of protest; however, the final decision was to accept the new ranking, in order to improve the classification of the entire Romanian delegation. Simona Amânar said about the gold medal: “I didn't win it. It was won by Andreea, and it belongs to Andreea ".

"She won the unconditional sympathy of millions of people around the world"

The decision to disqualify Andreea Răducan was challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the autumn of 2000. Although it was admitted that the Romanian gymnast's performance was not influenced by the medicine taken, the arbitration commission refused to overturn the International Olympic Committee's ruling. Andreea lost this Olympic title in the individual all-around final, but won the unconditional sympathy of millions of people around the world, following that unjust decision in Sydney. She found the strength to return to the training room, resuming training with the national team at the Olympic Center in Deva.

The year 2001 meant for Andreea Răducan, the great comeback. The World Championships in Ghent, in the autumn of that year, brought the gymnast three gold medals in the finals in the beam, floor exercise and the team final. But also two bronze medals in the individual all-around finals and vaulting. She ended her career as a gymnast in 2002, after the world championships in Debrecen, Hungary. She participated together with the Romanian television team at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, as a reporter and commentator for gymnastics competitions. She has carried out numerous television projects, in order to promote sports, in shows such as: "Arena", "How to become a champion?", "Winners for Romania", etc.

"In 2010 she launched her autobiographical book The Other Side Of The Medal”

She is currently running a gymnastics promotion program, which includes the participation of gymnasts from the national team. Since 2006, she has been working at the Romanian Olympic Foundation, where she promotes the importance of movement and sports, and is involved in supporting charitable projects for former champions who today face delicate situations. The experience she has accumulated in both sports and journalism, she uses them fully in the preparation of her doctoral thesis, which she is currently working on, at the University of Physical Education and Sports, Bucharest. In 2010 she launched her autobiographical book "The Other Side Of The Medal".