Camelia Andronic (ROM)
Tribute courtesy of Ioana Jadic

1993 Balkan Games: 1st T, 3rd AA, 2nd UB
1994 Romanian International
1994 Balkan Games: 1st T, 1st BB
1994 Romanian Junior National Championships: 3rd AA
1994 Romania vs. Great Britain
1995 Junior European Team Championships: 2nd T
1995 Romania vs. Great Britain
1995 Romanian International: 2nd AA
1995 Moscow World Stars: 7th AA
1995 Romanian Nationals: 6th AA
1995 Italian Team Championships: 3rd T

In a Romanian newspaper, Octavian Belu described the 1993 Romanian National Junior team as "the most promising team [he] had ever seen." Coming from a coach who is notorious for always being dissatisfied with the junior team's progress, that is indeed high praise.

Camelia Andronic was a member the Romanian junior team for several years, including the 1993-1994 season. She was one of the most talented and dedicated gymnasts on the team. Her spectacular skills (full-in dismount on beam, double layout on floor) instantly made her a crowd favorite wherever she performed. Born in Bacau on October 22, 1980, Camelia started gymnastics when she was 5 years old. It didn't take long for Camelia to become the most accomplished gymnast at her club, and for her coach, Vasilica Agop, to recommend to Camelia's parents that they move their daughter to a club that could better handle her talent.

Camelia soon found herself in Onesti, training at the Nadia Comaneci sports center. A short while later, Camelia's talents were recognized and she moved to Bucharest to train with the National Junior team. Under the guidance of head coach Eliza Stoica, the shy girl from Bacau emerged as one of the stars of the team. Her first major competition was the 1993 Balkan Games, where Camelia finished first in the team competition and third in the all around (38.45), behind Claudia Presacan and Alexandra Marinescu. Cami also won the silver medal on bars, oddly her least favorite event!

By 1994, Camelia had established herself as one of the up-and-coming stars on Romania's team. She accepted an invitation to compete at the 1994 Romanian International, and unofficially finished 6th in the all-around. (The Romanian International makes use a unique competition format - countries are allowed to enter up to 8 gymnasts in the AA. All gymnasts get a chance to compete, but the ‘official’ results only take into account the top 3 gymnasts from each country. Technically Camelia finished 6th AA, but since the five gymnasts who finished ahead of her were also Romanian, Camelia’s scores (and those of the 4th and 5th finishers) did not count). At the 1994 Romanian International, Camelia also qualified for the beam final, but she was pulled out by the Senior team coaches who wanted to test their top gymnasts before the upcoming World Championships. Cami went on to win the all around bronze medal at the 1994 National Junior Championships and two gold medals (team and balance beam) at the 1994 Balkan Games.

In 1995, Camelia's home club, CS Bacau, was in desperate need of sponsorship money and Camelia generously offered to help out, by going back to Bacau and performing in various exhibitions organized to attract future sponsors. Despite the missed practices, Camelia told Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor that she felt "more ready than she ever was" to compete in the 1995 Romanian International. She proved just that, finishing second in the all-around (37.799), ahead of established teammates Gina Gogean, Alexandra Marinescu and Ana Maria Bican. One of Camelia's subsequent meets was the prestigious Moscow World Stars, where she finished a respectable 7th in the all around. Despite her busy international schedule, Camelia also found the time to compete in the Italian Team championships for the Alma Juventus Fano club, helping her team finish in the top three. As soon as she returned home, she donated the prize money she won in the Italian Nationals to her club of CS Bacau.

By the end of 1995, hampered by an ankle injury, Camelia decided to retire from competitive gymnastics. Her decision came as a surprise, but given the depth of Romanian gymnastics at that time, she felt she wouldn't have a chance to compete in major competition again. She considered competing internationally for Italy, but eventually decided against it. Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor reported that she went back to Bacau to finish high school, but what happened next remains a mystery. She either went to a Sports University in Romania and she is currently coaching at CS Bacau, or she left for Italy and works as a coach in Juventus. One thing we do know for sure is that she was a wonderful performer, with an amazing sense of style. She made the most difficult skills look deceivingly easy.

. This page was created on August 22, 1999 and last updated December 16, 1999.

 

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