Olympic Gymnast Stripped Of Her Gold Medal In 2000 Seeks Answers, In Eye-Opening New Documentary

Andreea Răducan | Image: Edmont Media

It is the news that no Olympic athlete ever wants to hear – that they have been found with a banned substance in their body. For those who have won medals, it means their wins, placements and medals can be stripped from them, leaving a potentially negative legacy rather than the victorious one every pro athlete hopes for.

Romanian former Olympic gymnast Andreea Răducan understands this scenario well, as it is the story she has had to live with for the past two decades. In a new documentary titled ‘The Golden Girl‘, filmmakers Denisa Morariu-Tamaș and Adrian Robe share an incredible and eye-opening look behind the curtain, so to speak, showing that what we see in sports and news headlines may not always be the full story regarding the athletes at the center.

Andreea is a successful 32 years old woman and one of Romania’s greatest gymnasts. She worked all her life to become an Olympic champion, and when she finally won the All-round Olympic gold medal, in Sydney, in 2000, she was stripped of it 3 days later, after being found positive for a doping substance found in a flu tablet that her doctor had administered to her just minutes before entering the competition.

Andreea Răducan competing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics | Image: Edmont Media

18 years later, Andreea is fighting the toughest fight against the people who deceived her, as she tries to recover her medal and, along with it, her dignity. But along the way, the film uncovers another side of the medal, the trauma and the effort, the sweat and the pain behind the glitter of a gold medal and the glamour of being a champion.

Andreea was born in one of the poorest cities in communist Romania, Bârlad. Her father took her to gymnastics before she turned four. She trained on old rusty equipment and because of that she develops a sensitivity in her hands that will last her entire career. Her entire structure as a human being is changed by the training camp. Both mentally and physically.

Andreea, like most of her colleagues, is an ice queen. The girls are used to being filmed, since childhood, they know what to say and when to say. So one of the most important and difficult things were to open Andreea to us, to humanize her as a character. As strong as she appears on the outside, the medal is still in a very sensitive area of her soul. And she continues to believe, even after receiving so many refusals, that she will get back her medal some day. She says she doesn’t know how, but she definitely will.

Andreea Răducan | Image: Edmont Media

Alongside the characters in the film such as her trainers, a doping specialist, and the doctor who administered her the now infamous medication, Andreea meets with world renowned Olympic gymnastics champion Nadia Comaneci, who was one of the most important pillars for Andreea’s moral support, back in 2000. She was the shoulder to cry on, she was the professional voice that tried to convince the Olympic Committee of Andreea’s innocence.

20 years later, Nadia finally understands Andreea’s pain and trauma, her continuous quest for the medal and hope she will be given back the title. A close friend of the President of the Olympic Committee, Nadia is the first to honestly tell Andreea she should stop. Her problem is too small and unimportant for them and a decision in her case would open a Pandora box for dozens of other sportsmen and women who contest the IOC’s decisions.

It is a story filled with pain, triumph, sadness, frustration, boldness, and the kind of emotional rollercoaster that you don’t have to be an elite Olympic champion to relate to. Andreea’s journey showcases the tenacity of the human spirit, and what we are capable of (whether inside a sports arena or outside of one) when we are faced with a challenge that we refuse to allow to define us. ‘The Golden Girl’ is available on all major VOD platforms in North America including Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Cable VOD and Vimeo starting Tuesday, Sept. 1. Watch the trailer below and mark your calendars!

The Golden Girl – Trailer from Syndicado on Vimeo.

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