A photo, A Story

31/05/2018 - Lifestyle

Nadia Comaneci

Perfection at age 14

A Photo, A Story

31/05/2018 - Lifestyle

Nadia Comaneci

Perfection at age 14

The Romanian Nadia Comaneci was the first athlete in the world to be awarded a 10.0 in gymnastics at the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976, which she left with 5 medals, three of them gold. She was 14 years old. Today that little girl from Carpates is a business woman in the United States. And still as beautiful as ever.

It was full-on Nadiamania in Romania and around the world after the performance of Nadia Comaneci, a young gymnast who succeeded in challenging the supremacy of Russia and the United States in her discipline.

As a prepubescent teenager, she saved her smiles for the podium.

But her life hadn’t always been so blessed. Not only because of the physical and mental demands of her discipline, but also because of the political and economic situation in her country at the time.

Today, Nadia Comaneci runs a magazine and a small gymnastics empire in the United States with her husband, former gymnast Bart Conner, a double gold medallist in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Notably, their academy trains the American Simone Biles, four times gold medallist in the Rio Olympics in 2016. Bart and Nadia have been married since 1996 and have a 12-year-old son, Dylan, who was born when Nadia was 45.

It has to be said that, looking at her today, blonde again as in her childhood, she looks 15 years younger than her true age. And though part of that is thanks to cosmetic surgery, it is chiefly the physical training that keeps her in such great shape.

Although Comaneci found happiness in the USA, her life was not always a bed of roses. However, she has taken a stance of silence or political cant when it comes to remembering her life as a young champion in Romania.

Her relationship with the regime and its highest officials remains vague, though she does admit to having known Nicu, Ceausescu’s son …

The beginning of the end

Suffering from a difficult adolescence during which she gained weight, found it hard to cope with her parents’ divorce and hated the wearisome checks carried out by the communist authorities of her country, she lost much of her motivation and saw her dreams crash during the World Championships in Strasbourg in 1978.

But Nadia regrouped and the following year she again took the European title in Copenhagen only to shine again at the Moscow Games in 1980, where the Russians on their own soil nevertheless beat the little Romanian and her team.

In 1984, at the age of 23, Nadia retired from competition. A graduate in Physical Education at the University of Bucharest, she remained famous in her country but like the rest of her compatriots lived a relatively precarious life on the equivalent of $100 per month.

The escape

In 1989, Comaneci fled on foot to Hungary, then travelled to Vienna, Austria, where she demanded political asylum in the US embassy, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the radical changes in Eastern Europe.

She was born on 12 November 1961 in Onesti, a village in Carpates, three months after the construction of this famous wall.

She has never renounced her country, and to this day she returns at least six times a year.

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