Roxana Popa Nedelcu
Popa at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships

Full name

Roxana Daniela Popa Nedelcu


Roxi, The Spanish Nadia Comaneci

Country represented

Flag of Spain Spain


June 2 1997 (1997-06-02) (age 20)
Constanţa, Constanţa County, Dobruja, Romania


Los Cantos Alcoron


Lucia Guisado

Current status

On the mend - knee surgery[1]



Roxana Daniela Popa Nedelcu (born June 2 in Constanţa) is a Romanian-born Spanish elite gymnast. She is a two-time Spanish National Champion (2013 and 2014) and trains at Los Cantos Alcoron in Madrid. Her best events are uneven bars and floor exercise. She speaks Romanian, Spanish, English, and a little French.[2]

Early Career

Popa moved to Spain with her family when she was six years old.[3] She competed at the Spanish Nationals in 2008, and despite winning everything, she did not make the podium as she didn't yet have her Spanish citizenship. When she was finally cleared to compete for Spain, she sustained an elbow injury training on uneven bars, which required surgery and intensive rehab, leaving her out of competition for a few years.

Junior Career

Popa represented Spain at the 2012 European Championships in Brussels. She qualified to the all-around and vault final, and was a third reserve for the floor final. She ended up placing sixth in the vault final and eleventh in the all-around.

Senior Career


Popa's senior debut came in 2013, at the Cottbus World Cup, where she unfortunately did not make any event finals. Later that month, she was named to the Spanish team for the European Championships.

At the European Championships, she qualified fifth into the all-around and seventh to the floor exercise final. She placed sixth in the all-around final and seventh on floor exercise.

In June, she competed in the Mediterranean Games. However, she had a bad landing in the warm-up prior to the all-around and sat out the rest of the competition. The injury was not serious, and Popa was well enough to sweep the Spanish National Championships the following month.

She was named to the Spanish team for the World Championships at the end of summer. In qualifications, Popa qualified tenth to the all-around, but missed out on the event finals. She placed a respectable twelfth in the all-around.

Popa was announced as a competitor for the Mexico Open in November and the Glasgow World Cup in December.[4][5] In Mexico, she struggled a little on the first day of competition, placing fourth, but came back strong to win the gold medal, 0.200 points over the silver medalist, USA's Peyton Ernst. In Glasgow, things started out rough, when she bailed on her double-twisting Yurchenko vault for not getting the block she needed, and performed a very simple Yurchenko layout vault. She performed well on her other three events and finished fifth.


In January, she was announced as a competitor for the American Cup in early March.[6] In early February, she was announced as a competitor for the Tokyo World Cup in April.[7] At the American Cup, she had good vault and beam rotations, but hit her feet on her Pak salto on bars. On floor exercise, she impressed the crowd with her floor routine and finished in sixth place. At the Tokyo World Cup, she won silver in the all-around behind Italy's Vanessa Ferrari and ahead of USA's Maggie Nichols. Later that month, she competed at a friendly meet against gymnasts from Great Britain and Germany, winning all-around gold and team bronze.

In early May, she competed at the Spanish Cup, winning every event except balance beam, on which she finished in fifth place. A few weeks later, she competed at the European Championships, placing sixth with her team, seventh on floor exercise, and eighth on uneven bars. In July, she competed at the Spanish Nationals, defending her title in the all-around and winning gold on every individual event except balance beam, where she won silver. In early September, she competed at the Novara Cup, winning silver with her team. In October, she competed at the World Championships in Nanning, China. Disappointingly, she just missed the floor exercise final, but qualified to the all-around and helped Spain finish fifteenth in qualifications, qualifying a full team to the next World Championships. Popa placed thirteenth in the all-around.

Following Nanning, Popa won the all-around at the Blume Memorial in November. She was scheduled to compete at the Mexico Open and was considered the front-runner to win, but suffered a knee injury in training the morning of the competition and withdrew.[8] The injury was diagnosed as a torn ACL and meniscus, and required surgery.[9][10][11][12] Upon diagnosis, her doctors discovered the injury was an old one, and had gone unnoticed until December. Her recovery took about six months.[13]


Popa missed most of the season due to her recovery from her knee surgery. She was well enough to compete on the uneven bars at the Novara Cup, earning the third-highest score on that event, and helping the Spanish team place fourth. She was named to the Spanish team for the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, again only competing on bars, but had a fall and didn't make the event finals. Spain finished qualifications in seventeenth place, missing out on qualifying a full team to the Olympic Test Event in April.


Popa was poised to represent Spain at the Test Event in April, and eventually the Olympics in August. However, she re-injured the meniscus in her knee in late March, leaving her out of competition for the rest of the year.[14]


Popa resumed training in September.[15]

Medal Count

Year Event TF AA VT UB BB FX
2012Brussels Junior European Championships11116
2013Moscow European Championships67
Spanish National Championships1st1st1st1st1st
Antwerp World Championships12
Mexico Open1st
Glasgow World Cup5
2014AT&T American Cup6
Tokyo World Cup2nd
Munich Friendly3rd1st
Spanish Cup1st1st1st1st51st
Sofia European Championships687
Spanish National Championships1st1st1st2nd1st
Novara Cup2nd
Nanning World Championships13
Joaquim Blume Memorial1st
2015Novara Cup4

Featured Gymnast for April 2014

Floor Music

2009 - "Taniec Eleny" by Michał Lorenc

2012 - "Czardas" by Mägo de Oz

2013-2014 - "Tico Tico" by David Garrett & Arturo Sandoval/ "Delicado" by Raul Di Blasio

2014 - "Ameksa" by Taalbi Brothers


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