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Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK
Amanar retires as Raducan feted
Raducan is escorted off her plane by Romanian President Emil Constantinescu
Raducan was met by the Romanian President
Romanian gymnast Simona Amanar, a double gold medallist at the Sydney Games, has confirmed her retirement the day after her team-mate Andreea Raducan returned home to a heroine's welcome.

"I decided to put an end to my activity as (a) sport performer," said the 21-year-old Amanar, who was awarded the artistic all-round individual gold in Sydney when Raducan was stripped of the medal for failing a drugs test after taking a pill to cure a cold.

"It's important to know how and when to stop."

Raducan was disqualified despite an acknowledgement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that she had innocently ingested the drug in an over-the-counter remedy.

Simona Amanar
Amanar has competed in her last Olympics

Amanar said she was accepting the medal "only because it belongs to Romania. I didn't win it. It was won by Andreea and belongs to Andreea."

Amanar also shared in the team gold, which Raducan was allowed to keep, and closed out her career with a bronze on the beam.

Amanar said she had planned to retire last year but Romania's Olympic team coaches had persuaded her to change her mind and attend the Sydney Olympics.

Amanar was the Olympic champion in the vault at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where she won a silver among a haul of four medals.

Heroine

She was also a member of Romania's world championship-winning team in Tianjin, China in 1999.

Raducan, meanwhile, was feted as a heroine with flowers, flags and a brass band when she returned home on Saturday.

Thousands of people at Bucharest's international airport chanted "Andreea, you are our champion forever" and "Guilty without guilt" as the gymnast disembarked to the tune of a military brass band.


I didn't win it. It was won by Andreea and belongs to Andreea
  Simona Amanar

President Emil Constantinescu and senior government members offered flowers to Raducan and other Romanian Olympic medallists who arrived on the same plane.

The local Jewellers' Association said it would give Raducan a 60-gram gold replica of the Olympic medal as "a small compensation for the huge moral damage she suffered in Sydney".

"I'm tired, very tired but happy to be finally home," Raducan said after landing. "I'm very touched by this warm welcome."

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See also:

28 Sep 00 |  Gymnastics
Court supports IOC over Raducan
27 Sep 00 |  Other Sports
Romania rallies round Raducan
26 Sep 00 |  Gymnastics
Amanar refuses gold medal
26 Sep 00 |  Gymnastics
Raducan launches appeal
25 Sep 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Romanian golden girl fails drugs test
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