Nadia Comăneci

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Nadia Comăneci : biography

November 12, 1961 –

Comăneci was the first Romanian gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title. She also holds the record for being the youngest Olympic gymnastics all-around champion ever. With the revised age-eligibility requirements in the sport (gymnasts must now turn 16 in the calendar year to compete in the Olympics; in 1976 gymnasts had to be 14 by the first day of the competition), it is currently not possible to legally break this record.

Comăneci’s achievements at the Olympics generated a significant amount of media attention. An instrumental piece from the musical score of the 1971 film Bless the Beasts and Children, "Cotton’s Dream" (which was also used as the title theme music for the American soap opera The Young and the Restless) became associated with her after cinematographer/feature reporter Robert Riger used it against slow-motion montages of Nadia on the television program ABC’s Wide World Of Sports. The song became a top-ten single in the fall of 1976, and the composers, Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr., renamed it "Nadia’s Theme" in Comăneci’s honour. International Olympic Committee (IOC) website However, Comăneci never actually performed to "Nadia’s Theme." Her floor exercise music was a medley of the songs "Yes Sir, That’s My Baby" and "Jump in the Line" arranged for piano. Comăneci’s achievements are also pictured in the entrance area of Madison Square Garden in New York City, where she is shown presenting her perfect beam exercise.

Comăneci was the 1976 BBC Sports Personality of the Year in the overseas athletes category BBC press office and the Associated Press’s 1976 "Female Athlete of the Year". MSN Encarta. 2009-11-01. She also retained her title as the UPI Female Athlete of the Year. Back home in Romania, Comăneci’s success led her to be named a "Hero of Socialist Labor"; she was the youngest Romanian to receive such recognition during the administration of Nicolae Ceaușescu.

Recent activities

In December 2003, Comăneci’s book Letters to a Young Gymnast was published, a combination of a mentoring book and a memoir. The book answered questions that she received in letters from fans. She has also been the subject of several unofficial biographies, television documentaries and a made-for-television film, Nadia, that was broadcast in the United States shortly before the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Comăneci and Conner welcomed their first child, a son named Dylan Paul Conner, on June 3, 2006, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Associated Press, June 6, 2006 Catalina Iancu, Jurnalul National, August 28, 2006

Comăneci is 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. Muscular Dystrophy Association She has also personally funded the construction and operation of the Nadia Comăneci 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. Retrieved July 31, 2012.

In the world of gymnastics, Comăneci is the Honorary President of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation, the Honorary President of Romanian Olympic Committee, Sports Ambassador 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, Comăneci and Conner have provided television commentary for many gymnastics meets, most recently the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. In 2004 her 10.0 Montreal uneven bars routine was featured in a commercial for Adidas which ran during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

On August 10, 2007, she was a "mob" participant on the American version of the game show 1 vs. 100, and was not eliminated until the last 20 members of the mob were left. In January 2008, she was one of the contestants in the celebrity edition of Donald Trump’s television program The Apprentice. Gina Serpe, E! News, November 19, 2007

Comăneci was the featured speaker at the 50th annual Independence Day Naturalization Ceremony on July 4, 2012, at Monticello (Virginia). She was the first athlete to speak in the history of the ceremony.

On July 21, 2012, Comăneci, along with former basketball star John Amaechi, carried the Olympic torch to the roof of the O2 Arena as part of the torch relay for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Awards

Comăneci received the Olympic Order, the highest award given by the International Olympic Committee, in 1984 and 2004. She is the only person to have received this honour twice, and was also the youngest recipient. She has also been inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.