Cioncan, Athens bronze winner, dies in car accident

Updated: January 21, 2007, 11:17 AM ET
Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania -- Maria Cioncan, who won a 1,500-meter bronze medal for Romania at the Athens Olympics, died Sunday in a car accident in Bulgaria while returning from a training camp in Greece, sports officials said. She was 29.

Cioncan died near the northern town of Pleven. The car she was driving skidded and crashed into a tree, said her coach, Stefan Beregszaszy.

"We've lost an extraordinary girl," Gabriela Szabo, deputy president of the Romanian Athletics Federation and an Olympic gold medalist runner in 2000, said on the Web site of the Prosport newspaper.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press