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Nadia Comaneci the world's first Perfect 10 turns 50

2011-11-10 17:33:00 AIPS

Nadia Comaneci at the Montreal 1976 Olympics.
(Photo by Rolf-Arne Odiin, chairman of the AIPS Nordic Ski)

BUCHAREST, November 10, 2011- Incredible, but true: Nadia Comaneci, the toast of Montreal is now 50!

You remember? The Montreal Games, in full justice, were called ‘ Comaneci Olympics’?

We believe without any shadow of a doubt that Nadia is the only Romanian sports persons that has made so much ink to flow. Tons and tons! Newspaper articles, books, films and photos, were made about her that could easily fill a library.

What could we then add in few lines? For this reason we have decided to quote a few tidbits from the media during a period even when even computers proved helpless:

Sports Magazine (France): “What could be done? What more could be said? How to address so much beauty? Not all the superlatives in the world will ever manage express the emotions caused…”

L’Equipe (France): “… Under her barely felt touch, the side horse becomes a Pegas, growing wings. Nadia is ready to take off…”

Komsomolskaya Pravda (Soviet Union): “Delightful and amazingly expressive was the performance of gymnast Nadia Comaneci, so dashing and full of temper, bringing not only acrobatic but also aesthetic touch to this sport that is becoming ever more pleasant to the public…”

Arthur Gander, legendary president of FIG: “Nadia is perfect gymnast, a true phenomenon…”

Katermerini (Greece): “Pinning wings to her little body, Nadia Comaneci turned the Olympics into a child’s smile, opening new plastic rhythms to the possibilities of the human body which she pushed out of the consecrated reality and garbed into an attractive legendary mantle…”

And the thousand and thousand article continues… But perhaps the most beautiful words uttered in front of the television came from ABC’s Jim McKay who said that Nadia looked like “she swam in an Ocean of air”…

Soon after the Olympics, for her performance, in 1975, the Romanian Sports Press and the Balkan Sports Press chose Nadia Comaneci as the best sports sport-woman in Romania and the Balkan region.

In the summer of 1999, during a Gala held in Budapest, the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) choose her among the 25 sports persons of the Century, and in December the same year the International Olympic Committee,IOC honoured her too among the sport-persons of the Century-another unique performance for Nadia Comaneci, fifteen years after the Olympics body awarded her with the “Silver Olympic Order”

From the days of Montreal Nadia stayed…she never moved from the podium excellence.

She has become today an active promoter of sport and gymnastics, together with her husband Bart Conner, former Olympic champion and gold medalist at the USA Championships, president of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Nadia is involved in many humanitarian events she works with the children of the Special Olympic Foundation and is an active member of the “Laureus” Academies and also a very good television commentator.

Nadia Comaneci is also very active in many charities and international organizations.

In 1999, she became the first athlete to be invited to speak at the United Nations to launch the Year 2000 International Year of Volunteers.

She is currently the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Special Olympics and Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

She has also personally funded the construction and operation of the “Nadia Comaneci Children's Clinic”, a clinic in Bucharest that provides low-cost and free medical and social support to Romanian children.

In 2003, the Romanian government appointed her as an Honorary Consul General of Romania to the United States to deal with bilateral relations between the two nations.

She performs all these functions from her Norman, Oklahoma office.

In the world of gymnastics, Nadia Comaneci is the Honorary President of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation, the Honorary President of Romanian Olympic Committee, Ambassador of Sports of Romania and a member of the International Gymnastics Federation Foundation.

She and her husband own the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy, the Perfect 10 Production Company and several sports equipment shops.

They are also the editors of International Gymnast magazine. Additionally, Comaneci and Conner have provided television commentary for many gymnastics meets, most recently the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and 2011 World Championships in Tokyo. In 2004, her 10.0 Montreal uneven bars routine was featured in a commercial for Adidas which ran during the Athens Olympics.

For her sporting contribution, Nadia Comaneci received the Olympic Order, the highest award given by the International Olympic Committee, in 1984 and 2004.

She is the only person to receive this honor twice, and was also the youngest recipient. She has also been inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

In 2000, she received the highest Order of Romania.

Nadia Comaneci is without doubt a symbol of performance and the power of sports in the competition hall. Nadia Comaneci still is an inspiration to many, a great star for all.

Happy 50th Birthday, Nadia! The Gymnast legend will turn 50 on November 12. (By Emanuel Fantaneanu, AIPS Executive Committee Member)

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