On July 18, 1976, at only 14 years old, Nadia Comăneci did something no other gymnast had ever done before: she scored a perfect 10. “The incredible milestone happened at the 1976 Montréal games, and it was really just the start of an illustrious Olympic career to come, explains Best Life.
“Comăneci went on to get six more perfect 10s in Montréal and win three gold medals….When Comăneci scored her first perfect 10 on the uneven bars at the 1976 Olympics, it was so unexpected that the scoreboard did not even have a way of properly indicating it. For so long the top scores had been 9-point-something that the scoreboard only could show three digits (ex. 9.95). So, when Comăneci received a 10, the score had to be shown as 1.00.”
Born on the 12 November 1961, in Onești, a beautiful small town situated in the historical region of Moldavia, Nadia Comăneci is considered to be one of the best sportswomen of the last century, and one of the greatest gymnasts in the world, writes Europeana.
Nadia started practicing gymnastics in her hometown aged 5, encouraged by her family. The famous gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi saw her turning cartwheels in a schoolyard and chose her to attend his experimental gymnastics school. She soon became the ‘pièce de résistance’ of the Romanian team.
In 1969, at the age of 7, Nadia enrolled in her first competition, the Romanian National Junior Championships, where she placed 10th. She was not discouraged by the results. She instead became more motivated to train harder and, in 1972, at the age of 11, she won her first national champion title in Cluj.
Nadia Comăneci’s first major success was at the age of 13, when she won three gold and one silver medal at the 1975 European Championships in Skien, Norway. In the same year, the Associated Press named her ‘Athlete of the Year.’
A year later, she became an Olympic legend. Reflecting on her incredible performance, Nadia said, “Nobody told me that a perfect 10 was never scored in Olympic history, so I just went to do what I was meant to do and whatever I trained to do.”
Following her flawless appearance at the Olympics, Nadia Comăneci became a global sensation and an inspiration for aspiring gymnasts. She went on to win a total of five gold medals throughout her career, along with numerous other accolades. Her performances showcased not only her incredible talent and skill but also her mental fortitude and ability to handle immense pressure. Comăneci’s perfect 10 remains an enduring symbol of excellence and remains one of the most iconic moments in Olympic history.
Beyond her athletic achievements, Comăneci’s perfect 10 had a profound impact on the sport of gymnastics. It inspired a new generation of gymnasts to strive for perfection and pushed the boundaries of what was believed to be possible. Her legacy paved the way for advancements in technique, training methods, and the overall evolution of the sport. Nadia Comăneci’s perfect 10 will forever be remembered as a groundbreaking moment that revolutionized gymnastics and left an indelible mark on the world of sports.
Today, Nadia Comaneci still has some spring in her step.
A taste of history 45 years later with my first Olympic medal @olympics Montreal 1976
Adding to collection 1976 Montreal Olympic GMC pick up truck limited edition with Montreal logo to celebrate the Anniversary of the First Perfect 10 on July 18 th @Olympics 🙏@bartconner pic.twitter.com/kuwpRWv4Ww
— Nadia Comaneci (@nadiacomaneci10) July 17, 2021
Fanbuzz reports, “She and her husband now own the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy together, and they also both commentated on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Comaneci is still one of the faces of gymnastics, and she has appeared in advertisements alongside the likes of Simone Biles. The former gymnast has also done work with the Special Olympics and opened a children’s clinic in her native Romania as well.”