London 2012

Nadia Comaneci

Nadia Comaneci

Despite Nadia Comaneci winning a remarkable nine Olympic medals, the achievement she is most remembered for is being the first gymnast to score a perfect ten.

The Romanian star started out in gymnastics after Romanian national gymnastics coach, Bela Károlyis, discovered her as she cartwheeled across her school playground.

It was in 1975 that she became the European Championship all-round winner, but it was the following year that she really shone in the world of gymnastics.

Fascinating Facts

  • Nadia is married to a former Olympic gymnast, American gold medallist Bart Conner.
  • Bart, whom she competed alongside more than thirty years ago, runs a gymnasium empire.
  • In 2006, they had a child named Dylan.

At just 14-years-old, Comaneci became a global phenomenon at the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976. She made her first appearance on the second day of action in Canada, with her routine on the uneven bars absolutely flawless.

She was awarded a score of ten, something which was so rare in the sport that the score board did not cope well with the extra digit and showed the score as 1.00.

By the end of these Olympic Games, Comaneci had earned a total of seven perfect tens. She won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze plus an abundance of adoring fans.

At the next Olympics in 1980 in Moscow, the gymnast won another two gold and two silver medals, bringing her medal tally to nine.

Comaneci officially retired from gymnastics in 1984 aged 22. She became an international judge and coach to the Romanian national team. She defected to the United States in 1989 and became a US citizen after a tough life in Romania throughout her younger years.

In 1996, she was also inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame and has left her mark on the world of gymnastics ever since her thrilling performances back in 1976.

Nadia Comaneci

  • DOB: 12/11/1961
  • Event: Gymnastics
  • Medals: 9 (five gold, three silver and one bronze)