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On This Date in Sports July 21, 1976: Nadia

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Nadia Comaneci of Romania becomes the first gymnast to score a perfect-10 in the Olympic competition. Comaneci steals the show at the games in Montreal, scoring tens in the Uneven Parrell Bars and the Balance Beam. Coached by Bela Karolyi, the 14-year-old Comaneci signals a new era in gymnastics as the sports experienced great gains in popularity. The two perfect scores lead to a Gold Medal in the individual all-around, with Soviets Nellie Kim and Ludmilla Tourischeva taking silver and bronze. 

Nadia Comaneci was born on November 12, 1961, in Onesti, Romania, a small mountain town in the Moldova region of Eastern Romania. Nadia's mother enrolled her into gymnastics classes when she was four to help her reign in her abudent energy. When Nadia Comaneci was six, she became one of the first students of Bela Karolyi's experimental program. With Nadia leading the way, Karolyi rose to international fame as the best gymnastic coach in the world. 

At the age of nine, Nadia Comaneci began her competitive gymnastics career, as she won the Romanian Nationals, the youngest to ever do so. Over the next few years, Comaneci won several major junior events, leading her to gain notoriety in the gymnastics world. In 1975, the 13-year-old dominated the European Gymnastic Championships, winning four Gold Medals. It was clear the stage was set for Nadia Comaneci heading into the Montreal Games. While the team competition was won by the Soviet machine, with Romania grabbing the Silver Medal, the night was set for Nadia to thrill the world. 

It was clear something special was afoot as Nadia Comaneci scored four perfect tens in the Uneven Parrell bars. The scoreboard at the Montreal Forum was not ready for the perfect scores and read 1.00 drawing boos, but the applause and the awes of the world watching would come to define her performance. Nadia Comaneci later added perfect scores in the balance beam, and narrowly missed perfect marks in the Floor Exercise and the Vault to easily claim the Gold Medal. 

Nadia Comaneci would go on to become the star of the Montreal Olympics as she won event Gold Medals in the Uneven Parrell Bars and the Balance Beam, scoring seven perfect scores along the way. She added a Bronze Medal in the Floor Exercise and became the face of gymnastics for a generation at the Olympic Games.