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 Alicante.

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.

A still-young 18-year-old Acedo retired in 1993. She is now a model and drama student in Spain.

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1999-2002. This page was created on September 20, 1999.