Daniela Maranduca (ROM)
Tribute courtesy of Ioana Jadic
1992 Romanian Nationals
1993 Romanian International: 3rd AA, 6th UB
1994 Romanian Nationals: 1st T, 2nd V, 2nd FX
1994 Birmingham Classic: 4th AA, 1st V
1994 Trophee Massilia
1994 World Championships: 1st T
A photo of Maranduca is available at the sunet website.
In the Romanian newspaper Gazeta
Sporturilor, Nicolae Forminte described her as, "the
most determined and dedicated gymnast I have ever coached." Surprisingly, that description does not refer to his best known
gymnast, Simona Amanar, but rather to Daniela Maranduca.
Born in Constanta in July 1976, Daniela was the
first gymnast from her club of Farul ('Farul' translates to
'lighthouse') Constanta to make the Romanian national team.
Daniela started gymnastics when she was 6 years old, after seeing
a competition on television. Success didn't come easy for her,
and she was often left behind when her teammates went to major
competitions. Instead of giving up, she kept training, and in
1991 her efforts paid off - she was selected to the national
Daniela wasn't scheduled to compete at the 1992
Romanian Nationals, but since the competition was being held in
her home town of Constanta, Octavian Belu (head coach of the
national team) eventually agreed to let her compete. Dani
surprised everyone by qualifying to the all around finals and
hitting her bars routine (complete with 3 release moves), scoring
the only perfect 10 awarded in the all around. She finished in
the top ten, establishing herself as a contender for future
In 1993, Daniela finished third in the all
around at the Romanian International (behind Lavinia Milosovici
and Lyudmila Stovbchataya). She
was the clear favorite heading into the uneven bars final, but
after a perfect routine, she sat down her dismount and ended up
in sixth place. Despite her obvious disappointment, Daniela was
ready to focus on the rest of the season. Unfortunately, soon
thereafter she suffered a broken ankle and severely sprained
wrist during practice. She was told she could never return to
competitive gymnastics, but after a grueling rehab she went back
to Constanta and started training with their junior team. All of
the young gymnast said they looked up to Daniela, and having her
in the gym was a great inspiration for them. One of those
youngsters later told Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor,
that Dani's determination and eventual return to the National
team was, "the best lesson [I] had ever learned." The lessons must have worked, because that youngster - Simona
Amanar - went on to become one of the most successful Romanian
gymnasts of all times.
1994 was Daniela's best year. She led her club,
Farul Constanta, to the national title in the team portion of the
Romanian Nationals. Individually, she won two silver medals
(vault and floor exercise). She might also have medalled on the
uneven bars, her favourite event, but because of her lingering
wrist injury she had to take out some of her best skills.
One month later, Daniela travelled to Dortmund,
Germany for the World Team Championships. Coach Octavian Belu
told Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor that Daniella
"was the best lead-off any team had, and her
performances helped the Romanian team win the gold medal." Her best scores came on vault (9.8) and floor, where her elegant
and mature choreography helped her earn a 9.837. When the team
returned home, a very happy Daniela announced, on Romanian
National Television (TVR), that "Winning a gold medal
with your team is the best feeling in world. I felt honored to be
on the podium with my team mates and the great team spirit we had
lifted all of our performances to another level." (Daniela modestly forgot to mention she was voted "the most
beautiful" gymnast by the reporters who covered the World
Daniela, already 18 by the end of 1994, decide
to retire after Dortmund and focus on her studies. She went back
to Constanta, where she majored in Environmental studies at the
local university. She found the time to coach at Farul, grooming
current national team members Elena Oprea, Olimpia Popa, and
Aurelia Ciurea. Daniela's career may have been cut short by
untimely injuries, but she will always be remembered for her
amazingly elegant routines...and for being, as Amanar described
Dani to Romanian Newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor, the "kindest
and most supportive teammate anyone can ever have."
Update (November 15,
1999). Daniela now performs with Aeros, an Italian performance art troupe.
Other "big" Romanian names at Aeros include Lacramioara
Filip (1989 World team member), Izabela Lacatus (second alternate to the 1992
Olympic team), and Ancuta Elena Goia. A former rhythmic gymnast, Ancuta consistently placed
in the top in international competitions in the 1980s. Following
her retirement, she worked as a choreographer in Steaua before
joining Aeros. Cristian Leric, a prominent Romanian male gymnast
in the mid 1990s, used to perform with Aeros.
(June 4, 2000). Daniela recently competed for Romania at the 2000 World
Championships in Sports Aerobics. She and her teammates (Cristina Marin and
Mirela Rusu) placed 11th in the team trio event, just missing the chance to
advance to the final round.
All three (Maranduca, Marin, and
Rusu) continue to perform with Aeros as well.
(June 30, 2002). Daniela is scheduled to marry fellow CS Farul National aerobics team member Remus Nicolai in August! Nicolai competes with Daniela's former WAG teammate, Isabella Lacatus, in the
aerobics mixed pairs event.
(August 30, 2002). Daniela and Remus married August 24, 2002!
Many thanks to Babs for alerting me to
the Aeros info, and to Robin Catalano and Ioana Jadic for
providing me with additional information about Goia.
. This page was created on August
15th, 1999 and last updated on June 30, 2002.