Nadia Comaneci is an incredible Romanian gymnast who had an incredibly successful career and was one of the best gymnasts of all time.
She was born on November 12, 1961, to Gheorghe and Stefania Comaneci in Onesti, Romania. She began participating in gymnastics as a pastime when she was in kindergarten.
The following year she was spotted by Bela Karolyi doing cartwheels with a friend on the playground.
Karolyi was looking for trainable young athletes and immediately recruited the young prodigy for his experimental training facility.
Nadia Comaneci Amazing Career
She started competitions in 1970 as a part of her hometown team. At the age of nine, she became the youngest winner of the Romanian Nationals.
Just two years later at the Junior Friendship Tournament, she won the All-Around Gold along with several other categories.
She participated in the inaugural American Cup in 1976 and was a major standout. Later that year she competed in the Summer Olympics in Montreal, her first of two.
After that, she was forced to change coaches and move to Bucharest, but this did not reflect positively on her success, so she was permitted to return to her beloved coach not too long afterward.
She suffered from blood poisoning after one competition from a cut on her wrist, but she showed true tenacity when she left the hospital to still compete for her team at the World Championships scoring an impressive 9.95 on the balance beam.
She continued to compete in European All-Around competitions until her second Olympics in Moscow in 1980.
In 1981 she was invited on a tour of the United States in conjunction with American gymnasts that was led by her much-loved coach Karolyi.
However, things took a different turn when her coaches and choreographer defected on the last day of the trip.
Following this event, Romanian officials were worried that Comaneci would also attempt to defect to the United States, so they no longer allowed her to leave Romania.
This stifled her gymnastics career eventually leading to her official retirement in 1984.
Since retiring from gymnastics, Nadia Comaneci has continued to do great things. She eventually defected to America and married former gymnast and colleague Bart Conner.
They now own several sports-related companies including a production company and a gymnastics academy.
She has served as the honorary president of both the Romanian Olympic Committee and the Romanian Gymnastics Federation.
She now is heavily involved in charity work both with her own charity, The Nadia Comaneci Children’s Clinic and the Special Olympics.
Her charity operates out of Bucharest and provides needy children in that area with medical care and attention.
Nadia Comaneci Accomplishments
Comaneci’s career accomplishments are absolutely astounding. She broke many records and was the first to achieve many things.
She competed in two Olympics, two World Championships, three European championships, one World Cup, and one Summer Universiade. She became the first gymnast to win the all-around gold at the European Championships three years in-a-row.
In total she won nine Olympic medals (five gold, three silver, one bronze), four World Championship medals (two gold and two silver), twelve European Championship medals (nine gold, two silver, one bronze), three World Cup medals (two gold and one silver), and five Summer Universiade medals (all gold).
She is the youngest Olympic all-around gold medallist and that record will never be broken because the age requirement has now been raised to require competitors to be 16 whereas Comaneci was only 14.
She was also the first Romanian competitor to win the title.
After her record-breaking 1976 Olympics, she received many titles such as Associated Press’ “Female Athlete of the Year” and Hero of Socialist Labor by her home country.
She has been inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame as well as having received the Olympic Order, the highest award given by the International Olympic Committee.
Nadia Comaneci Perfect 10
Comaneci changed the world of gymnastics when she became the first gymnast ever to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event.
On June 12, 1976, she participated in the uneven bars as part of the team compulsory and the audience was perplexed by the score shown on the monitor, “1.0”.
The scoreboard wasn’t designed to show a perfect score of 10 because many believed it was impossible to obtain. Eventually the audience realized her actual score and roared in applause.
At that Olympics, Comaneci continued to gather perfect 10’s. She ended up with seven in total, four from the balance beam and three from the uneven bars.
Those were the two events that she was the best at and in which she continually received top marks in.
However, she was a very well-rounded gymnast also repeatedly taking home medals from world-class events in vault and floor exercise. She truly changed the world of gymnastics by making the impossible possible.
Nadia Comaneci is one of the most well-known and influential gymnasts of all time. Her career and strength have inspired millions to achieve their dreams.
She never let difficult circumstance get in the way of her achieving her goals. She is truly a wonderful role model, a sports legend, and a powerful woman.
Photos from: Jean_Nelson / depositphotos.com, zhukovsky / depositphotos.com, pinkcandy / depositphotos.com.