Bart Conner : biography
Bart Conner (born March 28, 1958 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former American gymnast who, as a member of the gold medal-winning men's gymnastics team at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games won an individual gold on the parallel bars. Conner was also the 1979 World Champion on the parallel bars.
Conner currently owns and operates the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academyhttp://www.bartconnergymnastics.com/ in Norman, Oklahoma along with his wife, Romanian gold medalist Nadia Comăneci. He is also a commentator for televised gymnastics events and an editor of International Gymnast Magazine.
Conner was also part of the 1976 and 1980 USA Olympic gymnastics teams. He won the World Cup in 1979, and the American Cup in 1976, 1980, and 1981. He has been inducted into several Halls of Fame, including those of the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, International Gymnastics, and Oklahoma Sports. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2012.Oklahoma Heritage Association. "Oklahoma Hall of Fame." Retrieved December 8, 2012.
Following surgery and intensive physical therapy, Conner squeaked onto the 1984 Olympic team, after competing in only one of the two qualifying events, the Olympic Trials. He had begun competing in the earlier National Championships, but several serious falters, including a headfirst landing on the floor exercise, made it clear that he had not yet made a full recovery. Conner was granted a petition by the USGF to consider only the Trials scores, with which he was selected for the team.
After intense training to return to the level of competition he had reached before his injury, Conner's consistently good scores (including a perfect 10 on the parallel bars) helped the US men's team earn its first team gold. Conner took sixth place in the individual all-around competition, with his total separated from gold medalist Koji Gushiken by .35 points.
He qualified for two individual event finals, on floor exercise and parallel bars. He had a lackluster floor exercise, scoring a 9.75 for fifth place. In the parallel bars final just hours later, he scored a perfect 10 to win the event.
Former rival Kurt Thomas, who had retired from gymnastics, was a commentator for ABC Sports. Coach Paul Ziert saw his assessments of Conner's performance as being more fair and accurate than any others'.
After the Olympics
Conner and Nadia Comăneci were engaged on November 12, 1994, (Nadia's 33rd birthday), and married on April 27, 1996 in Bucharest, Romania. The couple first met at the 1976 American Cup, where Conner won the men's, and Comăneci the women's title. They reconnected in 1991, when Comăneci fled Romania. They currently own the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy, Perfect 10 Production Company, and several sports equipment shops, and are editors of International Gymnast magazine. They also are heavily involved in charity work. Conner is also a gymnastics commentator, and accepts speaking engagements.
Conner became a father when Comăneci gave birth to their first child, a boy named Dylan Paul Conner, on the morning of June 3, 2006 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Dylan was born three weeks early, weighing in at just 4 lbs. However, Dylan left the hospital after a short stay and immediately thrived.
Conner appeared in films in 1986 and 2006. In 1986, he played a character named Bart in the cult BMX film Rad! In 2006, he appeared as himself in two movies about gymnastics, Stick It and Peaceful Warrior. Connor also appeared on the TV show, Make It or Break It, as a World Championship commentator, along with his wife Nadia Comăneci, in the season 2 final episode in Rio.
In 1997 Conner was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
MDA charity work
Conner has long been associated with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which raises private and corporate donations to fight neuromuscular diseases. Conner and his spouse make regular television appearances during the Labor Day telethon, both on the live national feeds, and in local broadcast segments from his hometown of Chicago on television station WGN-TV channel 9, which is also carried nationally on cable and satellite feeds through WGN America.
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