Past Olympics Athletes >> Nadia Comaneci

Artistic Gymnastics

Nadia Comaneci

Date of birth

1961-11-12

Birthplace

Onesti

Height

155 cm

Weight

40.0 kg

Discipline

gymnastics

Olympic Games (9 medals - 5 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze)

  • All-around: 1st (1976), 2nd (1980)
  • Teams: 2nd (1976, 1980)
  • Uneven bars: 1st (1976)
  • Beam: 1st (1976, 1980)
  • Floor: 1st (1980), 3rd (1976)

World Championships (4 medals - 2 gold, 2 silver)

  • Teams: 1st (1979), 2nd (1978)
  • Vault: 2nd (1978)
  • Beam: 1st (1978)

European Championships (12 medals - 9 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)

  • All-around: 1st (1975, 1977, 1979)
  • Vault: 1st (1975, 1979), 2nd (1977)
  • Uneven bars: 1st (1975, 1977)
  • Beam: 1st (1975), 3rd (1979)
  • Floor: 1st (1979), 2nd (1975)

The first "perfect" gymnast

Romania's Nadia Comaneci was the indisputable star of the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, becoming the first ever gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of "10".

During her routine on the uneven bars the first score to appear on the scoreboard was, strangely, a "1.00", leaving the public baffled.

In fact, the screen had malfunctioned since it had not been programmed to display a perfect score. In total, Comaneci received seven "10" scores in her events during her Canadian stay.

Subsequently millions of television viewers watched in awe as the 14-year-old (1.55m/40kg) sensation won the all-around competition as well as the assymetric bars and the balance beam in brilliant style.

Transformed

In 1980 a physically-transformed Comaneci arrived in Moscow to defend her titles at a relatively mature and adult age.

But having lost some of her dynamism and having to contend with partisan judges, the 18-year-old was not so dominant in the Russian capital.

She left Moscow with golds in the floor and the balance beam, and a silver in the all-around competition.

Comaneci's career, which began at the age of six and developed until she was selected for the national team at 12, was largely influenced by one person, her trainer Bela Karoly, a strict disciplinarian.

Like Karoly had done in 1981, Comaneci fled her country for the United States in 1989, shortly before the fall of Romanian tyrant Nicolai Ceausescu.

The gymnastics icon could no longer put up with the unwelcome attentions of the dictator's son, Nicu, who was having her watched by the feared Securitate security forces.

Future in the US

She settled in the United States, performing in gynastics events across the country.

In 1996 she married the American parallel bar and team Olympic champion (1984) Bart Conner.

Comaneci, originally from Moldova, made contributions to the Romanian Gymnastics Federation and became its honorary president.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.



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