Carmen Acedo (ESP)
Tribute courtesy of Robin Catalano
One of the most
exciting and original rhythmic gymnasts of the early 1990s, Carmen Acedo was
born in Lerida, Spain, on January 5, 1975. As a youngster, Acedo trained with
Rosa Menor at club Patricia. She was first selected for the Spanish junior group
in 1989, but in 1990 Spanish National Team head coach Emilia Boneva chose this
uncommon talent to compete for the rising individual team.
Acedo had a shaky start
in her first big senior competition, the 1991 World Championships. Nervous
performances put her in 21st in the preliminary competition and since teammates
Monica Ferrandez and Carolina Pascual placed higher,
Acedo didn't advance to the all-around finals. However, she did contribute to
the Spanish bronze-medal team effort and also came in 5th in the hoop final. In
1992, a more confident Acedo rose to 10th place all-around at the European
Championships. She finally put together a solid -- but not quite error-free --
competition at the 1992 Olympics, where she wound up just off the podium in 4th.
Although her accomplishment was overshadowed by the silver-medal win of Pascual,
Acedo was actually the superior athlete. Carmen would duplicate her Olympic
result at the 1992 World Championships, also taking home a silver medal for ball
and a bronze for clubs.
Acedo hit her peak in
1993, becoming the Spanish National Champion. After a disappointing 6th-place
finish in the all-around at the 1993 European Cup, she managed to grab two
bronze medals for ball and clubs. World Championships would prove to be more
successful, although not entirely satisfactory. The introspective Spaniard once
again stumbled to 4th in the all-around, and was also largely blamed for the
Spanish team's out-of-the-medals placement (4th) after a drop in her final event
during the team competition. She came back to win the World title on clubs,
certainly a relief after the slew of 4th- and 5th-place finishes she mustered in
Although always dynamic
and arresting, Acedo was also prone to making mistakes in major competitions.
(Coach Boneva once said that Carmen had a tendency to become angry with her
imperfections, and this caused her to make further errors.) Sadly, Acedo became
known primarily for this inconsistency -- but it is her innovation and
difficulty that should be remembered. Her routines were filled with wild tosses,
unusual catches, strong technique, and dramatic choreography and expression. Her
powerful 1992 and1993 clubs, fabulously flexible 1993 ball, and dark 1993 ribbon
are excellent examples of this often forgotten gymnast's underrated talent. But
it's unfortunate that Carmen Acedo never allowed herself to show the world what
she was truly capable of.
18-year-old Acedo retired in 1993. She is now a model and drama student in
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