LETTERS TO A YOUNG GYMNAST BY NADIA COMANECI PDF

In , she participated in her first international competition, a dual junior meet between Romania and Yugoslavia , winning her first all-around title, and contributing to the team gold. For the next few years, she competed as a junior in numerous national contests in Romania and dual meets with countries such as Hungary , Italy , and Poland. She won the all-around and gold medals in every event but the floor exercise , in which she placed second. She continued to enjoy success that year, winning the all-around at the "Champions All" competition, and placing first in the all-around, vault, beam , and bars at the Romanian National Championships. She received rare scores of 10, which signified a perfect routine without any deductions, for her vault in the preliminary stage and for her floor exercise routine in the final of the all-around competition, which she won. She was 14 and Conner was celebrating his 18th birthday.

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In , she participated in her first international competition, a dual junior meet between Romania and Yugoslavia , winning her first all-around title, and contributing to the team gold.

For the next few years, she competed as a junior in numerous national contests in Romania and dual meets with countries such as Hungary , Italy , and Poland. She won the all-around and gold medals in every event but the floor exercise , in which she placed second.

She continued to enjoy success that year, winning the all-around at the "Champions All" competition, and placing first in the all-around, vault, beam , and bars at the Romanian National Championships. She received rare scores of 10, which signified a perfect routine without any deductions, for her vault in the preliminary stage and for her floor exercise routine in the final of the all-around competition, which she won.

She was 14 and Conner was celebrating his 18th birthday. The apparatus demands such a spectacular burst of energy in such a short time—only 23 seconds—that it attracts the most fanfare. But it is on the beam that her work seems more representative of her unbelievable skill.

She scored three of her seven 10s on the beam. Her hands speak there as much as her body. Her pace magnifies her balance. Her command and distance hush the crowd. During the team compulsory portion of the competition, she was awarded the first perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastics for her routine on the uneven bars.

She won gold medals for the individual all-around , the balance beam and uneven bars. She also won a bronze for the floor exercise and a silver as part of the team all-around. She also holds the record as the youngest ever Olympic gymnastics all-around champion. The sport has revised its age-eligibility requirements. Gymnasts must be at least 16 in the same calendar year of the Olympics in order to compete during the Games. It was also used as the title theme music for the American soap opera The Young and the Restless.

The team followed orders amid controversy and walked out of the competition during the event finals. She did not find this change positive, and was struggling with bodily changes as she grew older. Her gymnastics skills suffered, and she was unhappy to the point of losing the desire to live.

She was hospitalized before the optional portion of the team competition for blood poisoning, which had resulted from a cut in her wrist from her metal grip buckle. Her performance helped give the Romanians their first team gold medal. She had to undergo a minor surgical procedure for the infected hand, which had developed an abscess. As a result of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan , President Jimmy Carter declared that the United States would boycott the Olympics several other countries also participated in the boycott, though their reasons varied.

She also won two silver medals, one for the team all-around and one for individual all-around. Controversies arose concerning the scoring in the all-around and floor exercise competitions.

His protests were captured on television. They had earlier met in She later remembered thinking, "Conner was cute. He bounced around the bus talking to everyone—he was incredibly friendly and fun. At that time, she had no interest in defecting, and said she wanted to go home to Romania.

Officials feared that she would also defect. Feeling she was a national asset, they strictly monitored her actions, refusing to allow her to travel outside the country. Although a number of Communist nations boycotted the Summer Olympics in tit-for-tat to the U. She had started thinking about retiring a few years earlier, but her official retirement ceremony took place in Bucharest in It was attended by the chairman of the International Olympic Committee.

It was also insulting that a normal person in Romania had the chance to travel, whereas I could not…. I started to feel like a prisoner. They were guided by Constantin Panait, a Romanian who later became an American citizen after defecting.

Their journey was mostly on foot and at night. They traveled through Hungary and Austria and finally were able to take a plane to the United States. She lived with the family of Paul Ziert and eventually hired him as her manager.

They were together for four years before they became engaged. This was after the fall of the Soviet Union and the establishment of an independent Romania; the government welcomed her as a national hero of sorts.

It was emotional to see how people care about you. During the Summer Olympics in Athens , one of her perfect Montreal uneven bars routines was featured in a commercial for Adidas. I only did it because it was all for charity.

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Nadia Comăneci

From her early childhood in the tiny village of Onesti, Romania climbing trees, to being spotted doing cartwheels by Bela Karolyi. To her intense training and sheltered life, to the Olympics just another competition in her eyes , to growing up and clashing with her coaches. Nadia continues to describe her life under communist rule and the dead-ends where she found herself when she eventually decided to make the toughest decision of her life--to defect to the United States. With the fear of imprisonment or being shot in the back, she bravely snuck out into the Romanian night and headed the six hours on foot to Hungary. Through it all, Nadia exhibits the grace and poise that has come to be synonymous with her name.

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Letters to a Young Gymnast

Romanian-born Comaneci took the sports world by storm when, at the age of 14, she was the first person in Olympic history to earn a perfect score in gymnastics. At the event she garnered several more medals. When the author recounts her early years with legendary coach Bela Karolyi and details how his intensive training requirements plus her own determination led to her success, the text is engrossing. Comaneci, however, devotes far too much space to discussing the controversies that dogged her career.

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Letters to a Young Gymnast

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