Memorable moments: Comaneci's perfect 10

Nadia Comaneci reinvented the sport of gymnastics at the 1976 Games by becoming the first female ever to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic event.


Four years after Olga Korbut lit up Munich, the 14-year-old Comaneci redefined what we thought was possible in the gymnastics arena.

Prior to the Montreal Games, no gymnast had ever received a flawless 10.00 from the judges - consequently the scoreboard was equipped to display only three digits.

So when, on July 18, Comaneci produced a performance for the ages on the uneven bars, her historic score was displayed as 1.00. After a brief moment of confusion, the crowd erupted into tumultuous applause.

They soon got used to the look of 1.00, however, as she achieved the feat six more times in Montreal.

She is the youngest gymnastics all-around champion ever - and as competitors must now be 16 to compete, her record may never be broken.

Though her coach Bela Karolyi's harsh methods have been called into question, Comaneci produced routines of sheer beauty to win five medals, three gold, in 1976, and became an international superstar in the process.

Thirteen gymnasts have won more Olympic medals than Comaneci, whose tally of nine in 1976 and 1980 is only half the number won by Russia's Larisa Latynina, but few, if any, have left a greater impression.

View photo


View comments (356)