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Catalina Ponor
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 Main coach: Octavian Belu
coach Mariana Bitang
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 Main coach: Dan Grecu

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 [Nov 12] Nadia Comaneci- the very first "Perfect 10"World Citizen

"The world's first perfect gymnast"

from "Top 100 Sport Stories of the Century"

"The silence was broken only by the sounds of clicking -- hundreds of cameras capturing the moment.
What they caught was perfection. Nadia Comaneci, the 14-year-old Romanian, arched in midair for an instant on her dismount from the uneven parallel bars, then the feet supporting her 4-foot-11, 86-pound body landed softly on the mat.

The silence was shattered by an explosion of cheering and applause that, after a few seconds, turned to consternation. Flashing on the electronic scoreboard was 1.00. It took a moment for the 18,000 spectators at the Forum to realize that Comaneci had, in effect, outperformed modern technology."

reprinted under special permission, full original story here.

...Romania, 1976.In a communist country where our very few happy moments where the Saturdays "Dallas" episodes or-for the children-the Sundays 20 minutes (only) of "real cartoons" from Disney, Nadia helped us to dream again about what you can do if you have the determination needed.
During the nights of Montreal Olympics (there is 7 hours deference between the East Coast and Bucharest), we use to stay late in the nights to see Nadia competing. Next days, most of us were felling asleep at school or work.My older family members said they didn't have so much emotions and excitement (and late nigh TV broadcast) since the first landing on the Moon back in 60's.I think these both events are somehow connected because they show how much the human being can progress and do for the benefit of the whole world.

It wasn't any more about gymnastics; a small and beautiful girl from a small (and beautiful) country has succeeded to achieve perfection, fighting with the most powerful nations.The US has (and still) have a great sympathy capital in Romania, despite the fact that they left Romania in the dirty hands of communists after WW2. But the real satisfaction of each Romanian was that Nadia have managed to beat the "Devil" which was, during that time, the Soviet Empire. Of course, the fight is still going on, with the revenge of Nelli Kim succeeding to change the COP and hoping to erase the story of "Perfect 10" from the gymnasts books.

"The Deer from Carpathians" -our beloved Nadia was not only a very talented gymnast, but a gymnast who pleased you each time she was competing at floor, balance beam, vault or even uneven bars-something which we can't say about today's Romanians gymnasts, which are trained more specifically, to score for the team and some coaches pockets rather than for the public which has to enjoy coming at contests.

If you like the real, pure, high quality gymnastics, you can watch -like me- Nadia's floor exercise from Montreal tens times and still enjoy it.
You have to remember they made their own music, a mixed piano and Romanian traditional songs, but the results were much better than the today's hi tech music

You can like or not Nadia, but you have to respect her achievements. It doesn't matter any more she was born in Romania. Because of her perfection in gymnastics, which has delighted and inspired the whole world, she is a World Citizen.
Because of the great impact her career have had in gymnastics all over the world, she is a World Citizen. A very admired and loved one.

...December 1989. The worst years of the communism regime in Romania were close to the end, but those of us who lived there couldn't even hope for this. From those who managed to listen Radio Free Europe or Voice of America (which were heavy jammed by the communist secret police), a very strange news came: Nadia has escaped to America! It was such a great news that US channels made a break from live broadcasts of the Malta meeting between the US and the Soviet president, to air the story on Nadia escaping from iron curtain and arriving in US. It was one of the early signs of the communism regime falling down in Romania and a spot on the dictator face.

If you are Romanian, you have to be proud that Nadia was born in Romania. As one of the very few Romanians who may know most parts of the real story of Nadia, I'm grateful to America (once more). Why? Because I saw that somehow Nadia managed to get her 24 carat Gold smile, here is US.
Yes, she smiled during her retirement ceremony back in 1984, she use to be friendly and smiling at the gymnastics competitions in the years to follow, but it was, let's say... only a 14 carat smile.
After 1995, I could saw her coming back to the beautiful '76 smile, when she was really happy of her victories (as a child, she didn't have a clue about the rest, to give her reasons to be sad). It's nice to see her husband Bart being such a nice guy with her.

The communist regime have used Nadia and gymnastics to make propaganda for their regime; later after 1994, the neo-communists have managed (again!) to use her for their image & (political) benefit. They had put on the brake on Romania's evolution -it was the only country from Eastern Europe still rulled by neo communists, and the result was the country is far behind all the others in the region (as montlhy income, life quality and...pretty much everything).

I saw recently a documentary about how much of the Worlds Gold may be stored in the Federal Reserve in Manhattan. I know that one of the most important Romanian (and Worlds) treasure...Nadia and her smile is "stored" in Oklahoma and they have to take much care on this Treasure.The "Guardian" Bart seems to be a nice, happily and friendly person.Wish them a happy life.

Happy Birthday, Nadia!

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