If you enjoy playing and watching artistic sports, you are probably already familiar with the brilliant career of former Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci, an artistic gymnastics legend who stood out from the crowd for her impeccable execution on the floor courts. She was the first gymnast to be rated ten points in an Olympic competition. In addition, she accumulated nine Olympic medals, five of which were gold, twelve in the European championship, in which she was three-time champion of the individual all-around competition, and four in the world championship.
After her retirement, the former gymnast continued to be linked to sport, belonging to associations and federations, creating her own gym in the United States, where she also obtained nationality, and collaborating for the International Gymnast magazine together with her husband , also former gymnast Bart Conner. If you are interested in the world of artistic gymnastics and want to learn more about one of the great legends of this discipline, keep reading to discover 10 curiosities about his personal and professional life.
1. Where and when was Nadia Comăneci born?
The former gymnast was born on November 12, 1961 in Oneşti, a city in Romania where she grew up with her parents until she moved to the United States after the success brought to her by artistic gymnastics and due to the situation of the communist regime that was established in his native country. At just nine years old, she began to opt for the discipline of gymnastics and quickly joined her city's artistic gymnastics team, a team with which she competed nationally from 1970 until her coach, Béla Károlyi, began to instruct her individually.
her Recently at the age of 60 she has been granted US citizenship. In addition to being a great athlete, she has values with which she commits herself to the cause of promoting sport among women and the disabled.
her During her first years as a gymnast she received hard training since Bela Karoli thought that girls between 12,14 and 16 years old could reach higher in the sport than older women. This strict training has made Nadia the woman she has become today.
2. What was the former gymnast's first success?
Nadia fully immersed herself in artistic gymnastics after meeting who would be her mentor for years, Béla Károlyi, coach of great artistic stars such as Ecaterina Szabo and Mary Lou Retton . It was at the age of thirteen that the former gymnast won three gold medals and one silver at the European Gymnastics Championships held in Norway in 1974. That was the first of many successes the former gymnast enjoyed in her active days.
3. Did you know that a news agency considered her the athlete of the year in 1975?
In 1975, and after having managed to surpass the Soviet gymnast Liudmila Turíshcheva and claim victory in the individual general classification of the pre-Olympic competitions in Montreal, the former gymnast was named athlete of the year by the American news agency Associated Press. A year later she continued her achievements in Montreal, where she became the first gymnast to achieve a 10 on the jury score.
4. Why did the Romanian government put surveillance on him after his excellent score in Montreal?
After the success she got from her in 1976 in Montreal, the former gymnast returned to her hometown to celebrate with her closest friends the happiness of her victory. It was at this moment that the president of the Romanian communist government, Nicolae Ceausescu, praised the former gymnast by giving her a car, a house and a lot of luxuries that were secondary to her.
Nadia just wanted to continue training and competing to achieve her goals in artistic gymnastics. The figure of Nadia was propaganda for the communist government of Ceausescu, who finally ended up exercising maximum control over the former gymnast in 1981, when she had already retired. Seven years after an abusive control, the former gymnast decided to flee on foot to Hungary and then to Austria, where she would finally catch a plane to the United States, a place where she settled permanently and was able to enjoy her freedom without pressure or stress.
5. When did Nadia Comăneci retire?
In 1980, and after competing in the Moscow Olympic Games, the former gymnast hung up her gloves and said goodbye to high competition. Her last competition appearance was just a year later at the World University Championships held in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, where Nadia won five gold medals.
After her retirement, the former gymnast did not leave the world of sports aside and established several gymnastics academies and sports equipment stores and began to publish articles for the American magazine International Gymnast . In addition, she was in charge of holding the title of vice president of the Special Olympics Council, that of Honorary President of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation and that of Romanian Sports Ambassador, among others.
6. Which famous former gymnast did Nadia Comăneci marry?
The former gymnast married Bart Conner, also a former American gymnast, a great artistic gymnastics professional who became Olympic champion in 1984 and world champion on parallel bars in 1979. The two met at the American Cup that was held in New York in 1976. At that time, she was 14 and he was 19 years old, and from that first meeting they maintained a long and beautiful friendship until in 1996 when they got married in Bucharest, Romania. After the wedding they moved to Oklahoma, United States, and began to develop multiple projects together, among which the Corner Gymnastics Academy stands out. In 2006 the couple had a son named Dylan Jean.
7. When was the former gymnast a sports commentator?
It was from the year 2004 when Nadia began her stage as a commentator at the Athens Olympic Games for the Mexican television network Televisa. In the following edition of the Olympic Games held in Beijing, he continued as a commentator for the same network and did a very professional job capturing the attention of the spectators in what had been his discipline: artistic gymnastics. In the 2012 London Olympics he also had his role as a commentator for this same sport.
8. What is the name of the former gymnast's book?
It was in 2003 when Nadia published her first book, Letters to a young gymnast, where in addition to recounting some of her most representative feats in the world of artistic gymnastics, she also promotes values such as dedication, effort and passion for young gymnasts who decide to immerse themselves in the discipline. In an interview she gave in 2010, Nadia assured that patience is one of the keys to success in a sport that requires as much tenacity and effort as gymnastics.
9. Did you know that the former gymnast participated in solidarity foundations on multiple occasions?
In addition to having established a mercy clinic to help orphaned children in her native country, the former gymnast is also a founding member of the Laureus Foundation, which, in addition to fighting against major social problems such as a sedentary lifestyle and childhood obesity, it also promotes sport for people with disadvantaged circumstances. The former gymnast, who visited Spain in 2008 to promote the Special Olympics, collaborates on numerous projects of the foundation.
No one is moved by charitable causes like doing gymnastics with children with disabilities at the Bucharest hospital that bears his name.
10. Were you mistreated by your coaches?
Despite always having appreciated the dedication with which her coach, Béla Károlyi, and his wife, Marta Károlyi, trained the former gymnast, Nadia confessed in various censored interviews in the 1970s that the treatment they received, both she Like their companions, on the part of the couple it was anything but healthy: they forced them to train without rest, they controlled everything they ate to the millimeter and beat them if the results were not ideal. A harsh situation that, like the communist regime, ended up harming the mental health of the former gymnast.
Despite having suffered the harsh conditions of Ceausescu's communist regime and having experienced traumatic episodes due to mistreatment by her coaches, the former gymnast has managed to rebuild her life and close wounds thanks to her family and personal projects. There is no doubt that Nadia Comăneci was, is and will always be a great legend of artistic gymnastics, having inspired men and women to fight for a sport that is not only hard but also very rewarding.