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Thu Jul 18, 2019, 06:04 AM

43 Years Ago Today; Something happy actually happened; Comăneci scores perfect 10 at Olympics!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadia_Com%C4%83neci


Nadia Comăneci at the 1976 Summer Olympics

Nadia Elena Comăneci (UK: /ˌkɒməˈnɛtʃi)/, US: /ˌkoʊmɑːˈniːtʃ, -ˈneɪtʃ/, Romanian: [ˈnadi.a koməˈnetʃʲ]; born 12 November 1961) is a Romanian retired gymnast and a five-time Olympic gold medalist, all in individual events. Comăneci is the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.0 at the Olympic Games, and then, at the same Games (1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal), she received six more perfect 10s en route to winning three gold medals. At the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, she won two more gold medals and attained two more perfect 10s. During her career, Comăneci won nine Olympic medals and four World Artistic Gymnastics Championship medals.

Comăneci is one of the world's best-known gymnasts and is credited with popularizing the sport around the globe. In 2000, she was named as one of the Athletes of the 20th Century by the Laureus World Sports Academy. She has lived in the United States since 1989 and is married to American Olympic gold medal gymnast Bart Conner.

Early life
Nadia Elena Comăneci was born on 12 November 1961, in Onești, which is a small town in the Carpathian Mountains, in Bacău County, Romania, in the historical region of Western Moldavia.

Comăneci was born to Gheorghe (1936–2012) and Ștefania Comăneci, and has a younger brother. Her parents separated in the 1970s, and her father later moved to Bucharest. She and her younger brother Adrian were raised in the faith of the Romanian Orthodox Church. In a 2011 interview, Nadia's mother Ștefania said that she enrolled her daughter into gymnastics classes simply because she was a child who was so full of energy and active that she was difficult to manage. Comăneci graduated from Politehnica University of Bucharest with a degree in sports education that gave her the qualifications to coach gymnastics.

Early gymnastics career


Comăneci in the 1970s

Comăneci began gymnastics in kindergarten with a local team called Flacăra ("The Flame", with coaches Duncan and Munteanu. At age 6, she was chosen to attend Béla Károlyi's experimental gymnastics school after Károlyi spotted a friend and her turning cartwheels in a schoolyard. Károlyi was looking for gymnasts he could train from a young age and saw the two girls during recess. When recess ended, the girls ran inside. Károlyi went around the classrooms trying to find them, and eventually spotted Comăneci. (The other girl, Viorica Dumitru, went on to be one of Romania's top ballerinas.) Comăneci was training with Károlyi by the time she was seven years old, in 1968. She was one of the first students at the gymnastics school established in Onești by Béla and his wife, Márta. Unlike many of the other students at the Károlyi school, Comăneci was able to commute from home for many years because she lived in the town.

In 1970, she began competing as a member of her hometown team and became the youngest gymnast ever to win the Romanian Nationals. In 1971, she participated in her first international competition, a dual junior meet between Romania and Yugoslavia, winning her first all-around title and contributing to the team gold. For the next few years, she competed as a junior in numerous national contests in Romania and dual meets with countries such as Hungary, Italy, and Poland. At the age of 11, in 1973, she won the all-around gold, as well as the vault and uneven bars titles, at the Junior Friendship Tournament (Druzhba), an important international meet for junior gymnasts.

Comăneci's first major international success came at the age of 13, when she nearly swept the 1975 European Women's Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Skien, Norway, winning the all-around and gold medals on every event but the floor exercise, in which she placed second. She continued to enjoy success that year, winning the all-around at the "Champions All" competition and placing first in the all-around, vault, beam, and bars at the Romanian National Championships. In the pre-Olympic test event in Montreal, Comăneci won the all-around and the balance beam golds, as well as silvers in the vault, floor, and bars behind accomplished Soviet gymnast Nellie Kim, who was one of her greatest rivals over the next five years.

1976
American Cup
In March 1976, Comăneci competed in the inaugural edition of the American Cup at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. She received rare scores of 10, which signified a perfect routine without any deductions, for her vault in the preliminary stage and for her floor exercise routine in the final of the all-around competition which she went on to win. During this event, Comăneci first met American gymnast Bart Conner. While he remembered this meeting, Comăneci noted in her memoirs that she had to be reminded of it later in life. She was 14 and Conner was celebrating his 18th birthday. They both won a silver cup and were photographed together. A few months later, they participated in the 1976 Summer Olympics that Comăneci dominated while Conner was a marginal figure. Conner later stated, "Nobody knew me, and [Comăneci] didn't certainly pay attention to me."

Summer Olympics in Montreal
At Montreal [Comăneci] received four of her seven 10s on the uneven bars. The apparatus demands such a spectacular burst of energy in such a short time—only 23 seconds—that it attracts the most fanfare. But it is on the beam that her work seems more representative of her unbelievable skill. She scored three of her seven 10s on the beam. Her hands speak there as much as her body. Her pace magnifies her balance. Her command and distance hush the crowd.

— Sports Illustrated, 1976


On 18 July 1976, Comăneci made history at the Montreal Olympics. During the team compulsory portion of the competition, she was awarded the first perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastics for her routine on the uneven bars. However, Omega SA—the traditional Olympics scoreboard manufacturer— was led to believe that it was impossible to receive a perfect ten, thus the scoreboard was not programmed to display that score. Comăneci's perfect 10 thus appeared as "1.00," the only means by which the judges could indicate that she had indeed received a 10.

During the remainder of the Montreal Games, Comăneci earned six additional tens. She won gold medals for the individual all-around, the balance beam and uneven bars. She also won a bronze for the floor exercise and a silver as part of the team all-around. Soviet gymnast Nellie Kim was her main rival during the Montreal Olympics; Kim became the second gymnast to receive a perfect ten for her performance on the vault. Comăneci also took over the spotlight from Olga Korbut, who had been the darling of the 1972 Munich Games.

Comăneci's achievements are pictured in the entrance area of Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, where she is shown presenting her perfect beam exercise.

Comăneci was the first Romanian gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title. She also holds the record for being the youngest Olympic gymnastics all-around champion ever. The sport has now revised its age-eligibility requirements. Gymnasts must now turn 16 in the same calendar year of the Olympics to compete during the Games. When Comăneci competed in 1976, gymnasts had to be 14 by the first day of the competition. It is not currently possible to legally break this record. She was the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year for 1976 and the Associated Press's 1976 "Female Athlete of the Year". Back home in Romania, Comăneci was awarded the Sickle and Hammer Gold Medal for her success, and she was named a Hero of Socialist Labor. She was the youngest Romanian to receive such recognition during the administration of Nicolae Ceaușescu.

"Nadia's Theme"
"Nadia's Theme" refers to an instrumental piece that became eponymously linked to Comăneci shortly after the 1976 Olympics. It began as part of the musical score of the 1971 film Bless the Beasts and Children, originally titled "Cotton's Dream". It was also used as the title theme music for the American soap opera The Young and the Restless. It became associated with Comăneci after cinematographer/feature reporter Robert Riger used it against slow-motion montages of Nadia on the television program ABC's Wide World Of Sports. The song became a top-10 single in the fall of 1976, and the composers, Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr., renamed it "Nadia's Theme" in Comăneci's honour.[36] However, Comăneci never actually performed to "Nadia's Theme." Her floor exercise music was a medley of the songs "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" and "Jump in the Line" arranged for piano.

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