EventsFriday 28 July 2017

Nadia Comăneci – the first gymnast to score a perfect 10

The first person in history to receive a 10 on a gymnastics performance was a 14-year-old girl from Romania called Nadia Comaneci. Before her, it was considered impossible for a gymnast to get a 10

Nadia Comăneci

Nadia Elena Comăneci was born on the 12th of November, 1961 in Oneşti, Romania. Her parents are Gheorghe and Ștefania-Alexandrina Comăneci and she has a brother, Adrian, who is 4 years her junior. Her mother chose the name Nadia after seeing a Russian movie whose heroine was called Nadya, short for Nadehzda, which means “hope”.

Nadia started gymnastics in kindergarten, with a local group called “The Flame”. Then, at the age of 6 she was spotted by Coach Béla Károlyi, and chosen to attend his school of experimental gymnastics. Károlyi was looking for gymnasts that he could train from a very early age and saw Nadia and a friend of hers, Viorica Dumitru, doing cartwheels in the school yard. He recruited them both. Viorica Dumitru also turned out to be successful, as one of Romania’s top ballerinas.

At the age of 8, Nadia took part in the Romanian National Championships where she placed 13. A year later, she joined her hometown team and became the youngest gymnast to win the Romanian nationals. Then, in 1971, she participated in her first international competition and won her first all-around title. 

At the age of 13, Nadia Comăneci participated in the European Championships, where she won the all-round and received gold medals on almost all the events. But the performance that made her famous took place one year later, in 1976.                            

At the Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, Nadia Comăneci made history when she became the first woman to score a perfect 10, which signified that her performance was flawless. She won three gold medals in that event. Nadia’s achievement was so significant that the website says her performance changed gymnastics and people’s expectations of female athletes.

She retired in 1984 and coached the Romanian gymnastics team until 1989, when she defected to the United States. Now she is married to gymnast Bart Conner and lives in Norman, Oklahoma. In 1999, Nadia Comăneci was elected “Athlete of the Century” in a gala in Vienna, Austria.


Andra Mihaela Cimpean




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