Gymnastics – 1979 – Womens World Championships – With Rumania Nadie Comaneci In The Vault

Nadia Comăneci’s achievements are pictured in the entrance area of Madison Square Garden in Manhattan….where she is shown presenting her perfect beam exercise at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Comăneci was the first Romanian gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title….as she also holds the record for being the youngest Olympic gymnastics all-around champion ever….and while the sport has now revised its age-eligibility requirements…..where gymnasts must now turn 16 in the same calendar year of the Olympics to compete during the Games.  When Comăneci competed in 1976….gymnasts had to be 14 by the first day of the competition…..which means that It is not currently possible to legally break this record.

Nadia Comaneci was the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year for 1976….and the Associated Press’s 1976 “Female Athlete of the Year”.   Back home in Romania, Comăneci was awarded the Sickle and Hammer Gold Medal for her success….and she was named a Hero of Socialist Labor. She was the youngest Romanian to receive such recognition during the administration of Nicolae Ceaușescu.

Following the 1977 Europeans, the Romanian Gymnastics Federation removed Comăneci from her longtime coaches, the Károlyis….and sent her to Bucharest to train at the sports complex….as the change was not positive for Comăneci….whereby her gymnastics skills suffered….and she was unhappy to the point of losing the desire to live.   

At the age of 16, Comăneci competed in the 1978 World Championships in Strasbourg “seven inches taller and a stone and a half heavier” than she was in the 1976 Olympics….when a fall from the uneven bars resulted in a 4th place finish in the all-around behind Soviets Elena Mukhina, Nellie Kim, and Natalia Shaposhnikova…..all the while, Nadia Comăneci did win the world title on beam….and a silver on vault….as seen in this video herewith.

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