Nadia Comaneci – The Perfect Ten


Do you still remember Nadia Comaneci?

Personally, I don’t know who Nadia was, until lately when I started researching about her life and achievements. I’m now a fan. What was she thinking when she scored a perfect 10 at the age of 14. I’m not sure how big the gymnastics scene was in Manila and how many people still remembers her. My younger brother, Rommel was just born when Nadia scored the perfect 10 in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Let me know if you are a fan and any more interesting stories about her glory days are very much welcome…

Nadia Comanici @ 1976 Montreal Olympics
(source: Wikipedia)

“At the age of 14, Comaneci became one of the stars of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. During the team portion of the competition, her routine on the uneven bars was scored at a 10.0. It was the first time in Olympic gymnastics history that the score, which signified a perfect routine without any deductions, had ever been awarded. The scoreboards were not even equipped to display scores of 10.0–so Nadia’s perfect marks were reported on the boards as 1.00 instead. [2] Over the course of the Olympics, Comaneci would earn six additional 10s, en route to capturing the all-around, beam and bars titles and a bronze medal on the floor exercise…

“Comaneci was the first Romanian gymnast to win the all-around title at the Olympics. She also holds the record as the youngest Olympic gymnastics all-around champion ever; with the revised age-eligibility requirements in the sport (gymnasts must now turn 16 instead of 15 in the calendar year to compete in the Olympics), this record will stand indefinitely.

“Comaneci’s achievements at the Olympics generated a significant amount of media attention. The theme song from the American soap opera The Young and the Restless became associated with her after the television program ABC Wide World Of Sports used it as background music for montages of her routines. The song became the best seller of the year 1976, and the song writer renamed it to “Nadia’s Theme” after her. “

11 thoughts on “Nadia Comaneci – The Perfect Ten

  1. I can’t believe you don’t know Nadia Comaneci. We were her biggest fans. I remember that routine very well. On a sad note, it wasn’t mentioned that she accused Romania’s former dictator and his son of taking advantage of her.
    BTW, the pic of Aidan and your wife, in the previous post, is so nice. So sorry but he really takes after his Mama 🙂

  2. we watch that whole scene on TV during 1976 Olympics and we would shout and cheer for her. There’s a scene when you thought she would be out of balance and losing control of her movements but she was able to do some twist that the audience really made a standing ovation as the moves was so perfect.

  3. I weas in fourth grade during the ’76 olympics.There were no cable channels then and I think we watch it on RPN channel 9.

  4. Nadia Comaneci was a household name in the 70’s! She made me want to be a gymnast, so much that I tried balancing on our sofa, fell flat on my face and broke a tooth. 🙂 If you want to know more about her life story (as a child and teenager), you should watch the TV movie. I used to watch the VHS tape over and over, and naiyak ako everytime. Medyo old, made in 1984, but still super inspiring. Here’s the link to the DVD:

  5. Nadia is awesome!!! At that time all the girls I knew wanted to be like her. I watch the movie and it was so moving.

  6. I remember that time very well. First, of all, we moved here in Canada in ’72, so having the Olympics in our adopted new home was special. Plus, the way she shocked the Russian gymnastics machine with ’72 Olympic darling Olga Korbut was priceless.

  7. thanks for this video! i was born around 3 years after nadia performed this routine. 🙂 the bars were so close together during those times that you could touch the low bar with your hip while hanging from the high bar. these days, the two bars are set far apart, so that gymnasts can perform more difficult transitions. my favorite is the pak salto.
    i keep wondering sometimes if there were a time travel machine and a “modern” gymnast could travel to the past and perform a routine. i wonder what nadia and bela karolyi would have said (or done) if svetlana khorkina were in the 1976 olympics performing her stalder entry tkatchev, pak saltos straight to stalders and handstand pirouette, and her twisting somersault dismount! not to mention the triple twist in the floor exercise, rulfova in the beam, and the yurchenko vaults! baka bela would have screamed his head off. 🙂

  8. Hey, yes, I heard that she was raped by the dictator of their country. She has a workout video but it’s old (I remember working out with it about 10 years ago).

  9. We used to watch her life story over and over in our PE classes back in Assumption Antipolo. I wish I could find a copy of that movie. (:

  10. Wow, Nadia was in Manila? Sayang wala ako sa Pinas. Would’ve been nice to be present in one of her inspirational talks.
    Btw, how could you not know about Nadia? I was born in 1975 but I knew that she was the first ever gymnast to score a perfect 10. My mom told that the judges only had a “_._” in their scoring “placards”. So when she got her perfect 10, the judges had to show a score of 1.0 instead of 10.0.

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