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12 Nov 2006
Olympic News

Happy Birthday Nadia!

The year 2006 is synonymous with a double anniversary for Nadia Comaneci: 30 years ago, on 18 July 1976, she achieved a perfect 10; today, 12 November 2006, she is celebrating her 45th birthday.
This the time to look back on the emblematic image of a Romanian gymnast who made her mark on Olympic history at the age of 14.
A brief and intense Olympic career
After having won four gold medals at the European Championships in 1975, young Nadia took part in the Olympic Games for the first time in Montreal in 1976. Throughout the six events that made up the artistic gymnastics programme, she displayed impressive concentration and unfailing precision. This was how she won three gold medals (in the uneven bars, individual all-round competition, and balance beam), one silver (team competition) and one bronze (floor exercises).
But the real feat accomplished by the Romanian during these Games was obtaining the first perfect score in Olympic history: a 10.00 on the uneven bars. An achievement which seemed to be unique, but which Nadia repeated five times over the following four days: an unprecedented sporting phenomenon was born. Even today no one has equalled or come close to this performance.
Four years later, at the Moscow Summer Games, the Olympic revelation of 1976 shone once again by wining a total of two gold medals (balance beam and floor exercises) and two silver medals (team competition and individual all-round competition). The skinny young adolescent had grown up, but this did not stop her obtaining another 10.00 for the seventh time.
Her career was all the more exceptional as artistic gymnastics is a discipline which perfectly reflects the Olympic ideals. Mid-way between strength and elegance, it requires a perfect symbiosis between body and mind. The practice has been part of Olympic history since Antiquity as a means of respecting and fulfilling oneself, both physically and mentally.
An unexpected mark
No one was really prepared for Nadia Comaneci’s achievements, not even the technology! Indeed, at the time, the marking systems comprised only three figures. So when the judges gave the first 10.00, the scoreboard showed a mark of 1.00!
A legend for evermore
This young Romanian with the precocious talent today remains an undisputed sporting and Olympic reference. She is the dream of every young gymnast; she remains an example of perfection.
Once again, Happy Birthday Nadia!
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