Nadia was born in Romania on 12 November 1961. Her coach, Bela
Karolyi, began to train her for Olympic gold when she was just
six years old! At 14, Nadia went to the 1976 Montreal Olympic
Games. There, she created history - she scored the first
ever perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastics, on the uneven bars. And
just to prove it wasn't a lucky fluke, Nadia performed six
more perfect routines!
Here is how it happened:
At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, female gymnastic superstars would
face a formidable opponent - 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci of Romania.
In the team competition the Soviet women, as expected, won the
title. But it was Nadia who captivated the thousands in the
auditorium and the millions of television viewers worldwide.
In the uneven bar segment of the team competition, Nadia
performed brilliantly, and the crowd was hushed in anticipation as
they waited for her score to appear. There was a roar of surprise as
the number 1.00 flashed on the scoreboard. Nadias fans soon realised
she had upset modern technology - the scoring system simply had not
been programmed to register a 10.00, which is a perfect score. The
announcer cleared up the confusion - Nadia had indeed been awarded a
perfect 10 by the judges.
Though Romania finished second, it was Nadia who, one day later,
again held the world's attention. In the optional segment, she
received her second and third perfect 10s in the uneven bars and
the balance beam. Two days later she was again brilliant in the
individual all-around. When it was all over, Nadia stood on the
top step of the victory podium. She received 10s again in the
uneven bars and the balance beam. The next day, with five 10s
already hers, she picked up yet another two in the same competitions.
When the week was over, Nadia had been awarded seven 10s and won
three gold, one silver and one bronze medal. In doing so, she became
the first Romanian in history to win an Olympic gymnastic gold
In the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Nadia won two more gold medals and a
In 1989, Nadia defected from Romania to the United States of
America. She married a men's gold medallist, Bart Conner. Together,
they built a career training new gymnasts.