Nadia Comaneci

Comaneci, Nadia (nädyä kōmänēch) [key], 1961–, Romanian-American gymnast. Under the tutelage of coach Bela Karolyi, she rose to prominence in the celebrated Romanian gymnastics program. Comaneci was known for the boldness of her routines and her implacable composure. In the 1976 Olympics, she won five medals—three gold, one silver, and one bronze. She also scored a perfect 10 in two events, a score no one had previously achieved. In the 1980 Olympics, she won two gold and two silver medals. The difficulty of her performances and the high level of her technical execution resulted in a redefinition of the sport and of judges' and viewers' expectations of women's gymnastics. She defected to the United States in 1989; in 1996 she married the American Bart Conner, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist. She and Conner were pioneers in pairs gymnastics. An American citizen since 2001, Comaneci has worked as a coach since retiring from competitive gymnastics.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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