Nadia Comăneci, a gymnast from Romania, was the first athlete to receive a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic competition.
When Comăneci was six years old, Bela Karolyi—later the coach of Romanian gymnastics—found her.
She participated in the 1969 National Junior Championships for the first time, finishing 13th, and won the event in 1970.
She earned three gold medals in her first international competition, a pre-Olympic junior meet for communist-bloc nations, in 1972.
She also claimed the title of junior all-around champion in 1973 and 1974.
She defeated the five-time European champion Russian Lyudmila Turishcheva in her debut senior international competition in 1975, taking home four gold and one silver.
She won the American Cup in New York City in 1976 and made history by being the first woman to dismount from the uneven parallel bars with a backward double salto.
Nadia Comăneci Biography
Nadia Elena Comăneci Conner (born November 12, 1961) is a retired Romanian gymnast who won five gold medals at the Olympics, all in individual competition.
At the Olympic Games in 1976, Comăneci became the first gymnast to receive a perfect score of 10.0 at the age of 14.
She earned six additional perfect 10s for events at the same Games (1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal), which helped her win three gold medals.
Comăneci won two additional gold medals and notched two more perfect 10s at the Moscow Summer Olympics in 1980.
Nine Olympic medals and four medals from the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships were won by Comăneci during her career.
Nadia Comăneci, the First Olympic Gymnast to Score a Perfect 10
At the 1975 European Championships in Skien, Norway, Nadia Comăneci, just 13 years old, won three gold and one silver medals.
This was her first significant victory. She was recognised as “Athlete of the Year” by the Associated Press in the same year.
The world was stunned by the Romanian gymnast, then 14 years old, when she performed a 30-second flawless routine on the uneven bars during her debut Olympics in 1976.
Her score of 10 was the first ever given by the judges in an Olympic gymnastics competition.
This choice initially caused confusion among the general public because the scoreboard only had three digits to indicate scores like 9.50 or 9.85, but instead flashed up “1.00.”
In 1961, Nadia Comneci was born in Onești, Romania. Bela Karolyi, a future gymnastics coach from Romania, first noticed her when she was six years old.
Nadia Comăneci got the only perfect score ever in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics, earning the moniker “goddess from Montréal.”
Six more 10s would be earned by Comaneci throughout her Olympic career.