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Nadia Comaneci

Nadia Elena Comăneci (born November 12, 1961 in Onesti[?]) is a Romanian gymnast, a winner of five Olympic titles.

As a 13-year-old, Comăneci's first major success was at the 1975 European Championships, winning 4 titles. She was coached by the successful but strict Bela Karolyi[?], who would later defect to the United States and become coach of the American team.

The following year, still only aged 14, she became the star of the 1976 Summer Olympics. Not only did she become the first gymnast at the Olympics to receive the perfect score of ten (which she repeated 6 more times), she also won three gold medals (individual all-around, balance beam and uneven bars), a silver medal (team all-around) and a bronze (floor exercise).

After winning the world team championships with Romania, beating the Soviet Union for the first time, Nadia Comăneci briefly spent time in the hospital for blood poisoning. When she returned at the 1980 Summer Olympics, now 18 years of age, she had grown up. She lost her all-around title to Yelena Davydova after having to wait for a very long time to receive her last mark - which turned out to be 0.075 to low to tie for first place. However, she retained her Olympic title in the balance beam and tied for the gold medal in the floor exercise, while also finishing second with the Romanian team.

Nadia Comaneci retired after these Games, and had troublesome years ahead of her. An affair with the son of Romanian president Nicolae Ceaucescu led to a suicide attempt. In late 1989, not long before the fall of communism, she fled from Romania to begin a short-lasting affair with a married man. She finally settled after her marriage with 1984 Olympic Champion Bart Conner[?], with whom she now lives in the United States.



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