Carmen Ionescu

Carmen Ionescu was born in Bucharest on November 22, 1985. When she was five years old she was selected from her kindergarten class to participate in gymnastics at a local club. Silvia Stroescu trained at Steaua with Carmen as a youngster, and both were on Steaua's junior team together. Then the two friends made the move to the junior national training center in Onesti. They competed internationally for their first time in Belgium at the 1998 Top Gym Tournament, where Carmen placed second to Silvia. Described by Coach Octavian Belu as “a very hard worker and disciplined”, Carmen Ionescu quietly worked her way up the gymnastics ladder and in early 1999 was selected for the national team, along with Alexandra Barac, Oana Bucerzau, and Sabina Cojocar. As a junior she made quite a name for herself because of her long graceful lines on the beam and for her work on the bars. Also a terrific twister, she was one of the first gymnasts to perform a 3.5 twist, a Super-E element. She first threw the trick at the 2001 Pontiac ATC in Hawaii. In her first year as a true senior, Carmen represented Romania at the 2001 World Championships, where they brought home the gold medal as a team. Following the 2001 World Championships the senior team was plagued with injuries and unfortunately Carmen was no exception. In late 2001 she underwent knee surgery in Bucharest to repair several bone chips. Carmen began training again in January of 2002 in Bucharest along with Loredana Boboc, who was also recovering from an injury. Unfortunately, Carmen was unable to regain her prior shape, and instead of returning to Deva, she decided to retire. She is now home in Bucharest attending a sports high school. The Romanian team will surely miss Carmen as they compete later on this year and in the future. Though her career did not amount to all it could have, Carmen left fans with many fond memories of her. I for one will never forget the amazing confidance and “cool” with which Carmen performed as a fifteen-year-old gymnast on the beam at her first World Championships. I’ve never seen a gymnast of any age or experience level compete with that kind of confidance and smoothness. It was one of the most truly beautiful gymnastics experiences I’ve ever seen.

1998 Top Gym: 2nd A-A
1999 Romanian Nationals: 1st Team (Steaua Bucharest), 6th A-A, 2nd BB
2000 ROM vs FRA Jr Dual Meet: 1st Team, 11th A-A (3 events)
2000 Hungarian International: 6th A-A
2000 Jr Europeans: 2nd Team, 7th UB
2000 Romanian International: 6th A-A (exhibition only)
2000 Romanian Jr Nationals: 1st UB
2000 International Team Championships: 2nd Team
2001 American Team Cup: 2nd Team, 11th A-A(3 events only)
2001 Romanian International: 4th A-A (exhibition only), 4th UB
2001 Greek International: 3rd A-A, 6th BB, 2nd FX
2001 ROM vs GBR: 1st Team, 11th A-A(uncontested, 3 events only)
2001 ROM vs NED: 1st Team, 3rd A-A
2001 Romanian Nationals: 4th A-A
2001 World Championships: 1st Team