- NAME: Nadia Comaneci
- OCCUPATION: Gymnast
- BIRTH DATE: November 12, 1961 (Age: 52)
- Did You Know?: Nadia Comaneci is the first woman to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event.
- Did You Know?: The scoreboards at the 1976 Olympics were not designed to display a 10, thus Nadia Comaneci's score read as "1.0."
- Did You Know?: Nadia Comaneci weighed only 86 pounds at the time of the 1976 Olympics.
- Did You Know?: For her floor exercises, Nadia Comaneci used the theme from the soap opera The Young and the Restless.
- Did You Know?: In 1976, Nadia Comaneci owned more than 200 dolls, and traveled with an Eskimo doll for good luck.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Romania
- Full Name: Nadia Elena Comaneci
- AKA: Nadia Comaneci
- ZODIAC SIGN: Scorpio
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Nadia Comaneci is a Romanian gymnast who became the first woman to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event in 1976, at age 14.
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Born in 1961, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci became the first woman to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event at the 1976 Olympic Games, at age 14. Her performance at the 1976 Olympics redefined both her sport and audiences' expectations of female athletes. At the 1980 Olympics, Comaneci won gold medals for the balance beam and floor exercise. She retired from competition in 1984 and defected to the United States in 1989.
"Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I win."
Nadia Elena Comaneci was born on November 12, 1961, in Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Romania, in the Carpathian Mountains, to parents Alexandria and Gheorghe, an auto mechanic. Comaneci was discovered at the age of 6 by gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi (later to become the Romanian national coach). She won the Romanian National Junior Championships, and, as a senior, won the European Championships in 1975 and the American Cup in 1976.
Comaneci thrilled the world at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, where, at the age of 14, she became the first woman to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event. She received seven perfect scores and won three gold medals—for the uneven bars, balance beam and individual all-around—together with a bronze medal as part of the second-place Romanian national team. Comaneci's performance at the 1976 Olympics redefined both her sport and audiences' expectations of female athletes.
At the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia, Nadia Comaneci won two gold, for the balance beam and floor exercise (in which she tied with Soviet gymnast Nellie Kim); and two silver medals, for the team competition and individual all-around. (After coaching the Romanian national team through two Olympiads, Bela Karolyi defected to the United States in 1981. He later led the nation's gymnastic program to its first World Championships.)
Comaneci retired from competition in 1984 and worked as a coach for the Romanian team before defecting to the United States via Hungary in 1989. After appearing in a series of provocative underwear advertisements, she married American gymnast Bart Conner in 1996 and moved to Norman, Oklahoma.
In 1999, Comaneci received a World Sports Award of the Century after being elected "Athlete of the Century" during a gala in Vienna, Austria.
Comaneci currently does television commentary and writes for gymnastic publications.
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Since 1928, we have watched some of the world's most talented gymnasts leap, flip and twirl their way to Olympic gold. From the balance beam to the uneven bars, these poised athletes have balanced artistry and athleticism to win medals and the public's hearts. From legends like Nadia Comaneci and Olga Korbut to favorites like Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin, Biography looks at the famous gymnasts who have earned Olympic medals.
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