Nadia still turning heads 40 years on from perfect 10

Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:02pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - She was once the ponytailed Romanian teenager excited at the thought of owning colored socks and eating bubble gum yet Nadia Comaneci went on to captivate the world by performing an Olympic feat that continues to stir the emotions four decades later.

The ponytail is long gone, the childhood cravings have been replaced by more sophisticated tastes, but no matter where she goes Comaneci cannot escape the memories of what happened on July 18 1976 in Montreal.

The day she became the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games.

"Every time there is a zero in the anniversary, it’s kind of bigger. There was 10, then 20, then 30 and now 40, it seems like a lot of numbers. It’s like half of your life is gone," Comaneci told Reuters in a telephone interview while on a short holiday in California with her family.

"But to realise that it’s 40 years since it happened, it’s like 'oh my gosh, really?'

"Because it’s the 40th year, I feel like I’ve been celebrating the anniversary the entire year. Everyone I meet this year wants to talk about it."

Those celebrations are set to continue for the next few weeks as Comaneci heads to Montreal on July 21 where her 10-year-old son Dylan will get his first chance to see the Olympic Stadium "where his mom's name is engraved".

Then it will be on to Rio for the Aug. 5-21 Games.   Continued...

Romanian former gymnast star Nadia Comaneci (L) poses during a photocall for the television reality show "Tumble" during the annual MIPCOM television programme market in Cannes, October 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Eric Gaillard