Camelia Mandricel (ROM)
Tribute courtesy of Ioana Jadic and Jennifer Isbister
Photo used with the expressed permission of Sato Takeo of OEFC
1989 Cottbus Cup: 4th AA, 2nd UB, 6th BB, 6th FX
1990 Romanian National Championships: 5th AA
1990 World Sports Fair
1990 Canadian Airlines Cup
1992 Romanian International: 1st UB
1992 European Championships: 18th AA
Results courtesy of Ioana Jadic
Born in Ploiesti, the perennial host city of
the Romanian International, Camelia Mandricel lived just a few minutes away
from the gym and her parents signed her up for a recreational
class. She also started taking ballet lessons at the same time,
because her parents were afraid gymnastics alone wouldn't be
enough for her to burn off all the excess energy she had. Coached
by Leana Sima and Laura Mandricel (her mother), Camelia went on
to become one the best gymnasts from CSS Petrolul Ploiesti.
She burst onto the gymnastics
scene at the 1989 Cottbus Cup, a surprise entrant at such a prestigious meet. She did not disappoint, placing fourth overall and qualifying into three event finals (2nd UB, 6th BB, 6th FX). Camelia's
5th place finish at the 1990 Romanian National Championships reaffirmed her assigned to Cottbus, but came as a huge surprise given that she wasn't completely recovered from an ankle
injury suffered earlier in the year.
Following her success at the 1990 Romanian Nationals, she
competed in the 1990 Worlds Sports fair in Japan. Even though Camelia didn't win the
competition, she won herself many fans, and a chance to compete
at the 1990 Canadian Airlines Cup.
Unfortunately, Camelia's 1991 competitive
season ended prematurely, after a serious foot injury sidelined
her for the rest of the year. Because of her injury, Camelia
couldn't practice her floor and vault routines. Instead, she
worked on a new bars routine, which she hoped to unveil at next
year's Romanian International.
The 1992 Romanian International was being held
in Ploiesti and Camelia's mother was one of the judges selected
for the meet, which raised a few questions about the fairness of
the competition (i.e.: How can a mother objectively judge her own
daughter?). Despite the controversy, Camelia was entered in the
all-around competition, but she didn't perform up to her best on
all four events (her landings on floor were all very low, marring
an otherwise beautiful routine). Camelia's chance to prove
herself came in the bars final, where she wowed the crowd with
her wonderful routine, scoring a 9.925 and winning the gold
medal. She also scored a perfect 10 for her beam routine, but her
routine was performed as a demonstration, not as part of the
competition. (The Romanian coaches seem to support entering their
gymnast in a competition to see how they would fare
internationally, even though technically that gymnast is not
eligible to compete, either because of the age rule, or because
she wasn't one of the top 2 romanian gymnasts to make the event
finals. Andreea Cacovean also "competed" in the 92
Balkan games the same way and she actually won the all-around!).
Following her success, Camelia wanted to stay
at Ploiesti and train with her mother, a decision which wasn't
exactly popular with the National team coaches. They decided to
take both Gabriela Agachi and Camelia Mandricel to the European
Championships and decide who will compete when they get to
Lausanne (they had already decided the other two team members
would be Gina Gogean and Vanda Hadarean) . Once they got there,
the coaches waited until the deadline -the day before the
competition- to name Camelia as the third member of the team. By
that point, both Camelia and Gabriela had been under so much
pressure, it was pointless to let any of them compete. Camelia
finished a disappointing 18th in the AA.
Camelia was very vocal in her criticism of the
selection procedure used by the coaches, and in an interview on
Romanian television, she said she repeatedly pleaded with the
coaches to let Gabriela compete, instead of playing a waiting
game, but they refused. Camelia never went back to Deva, partly
because she didn't think she would be allowed to keep her spot on
the National team. She went back to Ploiesti, where she kept busy
between ballet performances, school, and coaching at her home
club. Corina Ungureanu and Nicoleta Onel are just two of the
gymnasts she coached during her stay at Ploiesti, and both of
them have the beautiful form and body line that became/was
Camelia Mandricel and Vanda Hadarean pose at the 2002 Gymnix International. Photo used with the expressed permission of Grace
Camelia pursued her studies at the University in Ploiesti, eventually accepting a coaching position in the kingdom of Jordan in the middle east. There, she
coaches the junior National team. Her gymnasts have had very good results, e.g., winning gold, silver, and bronzes at the 1999 International meet in Tunisia. Camelia recently traveled to Montreal to
coach her gymnast Yasmin Kheir (JOR) to a 6th place all around standing at the 2002 Gymnix International.
Today Camelia is the women's head coach in Qatar.
Note: You might see Camelia last name spelled
as Mindricel in some older magazines/newspapers. Both spellings
are correct, based on when the article was published. the 'i' or
'a' has a little "^" on top of it, so they're both
pronounced like "Uh" (like the second 'a' in Amanar).
Romanian grammar changed that rule in 93, and now you have to use
the version with an 'a' in it, but this should explain why you'll
see her name spelled two different ways.
. This page was created on September 9, 1999 and last updated on March 20, 2002.