Octavian Belu

Octavian Belu
Octavian Bellu
Born February 17, 1951 (1951-02-17) (age 60)

Octavian Ioan Atanase Bellu (Romanian pronunciation: [oktaviˈan ˈbelu]; b. February 17, 1951 in Ploieşti) is the current head of the Romanian national women's artistic gymnastics team. He was the main coach with interruptions, between 1990 and 2005[1] and returned as head of the national team in 2010.[2] Highly successful, Bellu led the team to five world and two Olympic titles, as well as coaching numerous individual gold medalists - since the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union, Romania has been the most successful women's gymnastics power. He also coached such accomplished gymnasts as Lavinia Miloşovici, Andreea Răducan, Simona Amânar, Gina Gogean, and Cătălina Ponor. During his time as head coach, his teams combined to win 82 World (59) and Olympic (23) medals.[1] Octavian Bellu was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, May 2009.[1]


Early life and career

Bellu started out in gymnastics as a gymnast at Petrolul Ploieşti Sport Club[3] and dedicated 13 years to this sport. Admittedly, he was an average gymnast and had troubles in this sport due to his height.[4] He also played volleyball and basketball and took up diving.[4] In 1974, he graduated from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Institute in Bucharest where he studied the technical aspects of the sport, methodology and training. After graduation he worked for five years as a teacher of Physical Education at Valea Cǎlugǎreascǎ.[1] At the same time he worked as a part time coach for young girls at the club where he was previously enrolled as a gymnast. In 1978-1979 he gave up his teaching position to become a full time coach at Petrolul Ploieşti and then at a club in Bacǎu.[3]

National team 1981-2005

He became a coach of the national team in 1981 after the defection of Márta and Bela Károlyi in USA. In 1990 Bellu took over as head women’s coach, succeeding Adrian Goreac. While serving as national coach in Deva, from 1990-2005, the national team won five consecutive world titles, from 1994-2001, and two Olympic team gold medals, in 2000 and 2004. Bellu’s gymnasts were absolutely dominant in the 2004 Olympic Games, winning four of the six available gold medals. During his time as head coach, his teams combined to win 82 World (59) and Olympic (23) medals.[1]

Resignation and political career

Early 2005, Bellu and his coaching partner Mariana Bitang resigned their positions at the national team due to a media scandal. In 2006 Bellu and Mariana Bitang were hired as advisors on the staff of Romanian President Traian Băsescu. Bellu was also the president of the National Sports Committee and a state secretary in the Ministery of Sports.[3]


In 2010 Bellu and Bitang were invited by the Romanian federation to help prepare the national team for the 2012 Olympic Games. Bellu was reinstated as head of the national team replacing Nicolae Forminte who resigned in 2010. [5][6][7]

Personal life

Bellu has one daughter Iolanda, born in 1978, with his first wife Camelia, a nurse.[4]. In 2008-2009 Bellu married his coaching partner Mariana Bitang.


  1. ^ a b c d e International Gymnastics Hall of Fame Inductees Octavian Bellu
  2. ^ International Gymnast Magazine Gent victory marks new begining for Izbasa, Amanda Turner, September 14, 2010
  3. ^ a b c Romanian Champions Octavian Bellu Champion Coach (interview in Romanian)
  4. ^ a b c Federation Internationale de Gymnastique Octavian Bellu
  5. ^ International Gymnast Magazine Stretching out: Cal’s precarious future and an update from Romania, by Dwight Normile, June 18, 2010
  6. ^ International Gymnast Magazine Stretching out: Olympic qualification & guess who’s back, by Dwight Normile, June 1, 2010
  7. ^ International Gymnast Magazine Romanian women top British hosts, by Amanda Turner, August 14, 2010

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