2016 Great Immigrants Recipient

Nadia Comaneci
Five-time Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics
Born in:
Romania

"In my head, the destination was the United States, but I had no idea how I was going to get there. I was very scared, but I was more scared to go back," Five-time Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics Nadia Comaneci told “The Globe and Mail” in 2012 about her defection from Romania in 1989. Comaneci made history as a 14-year-old when she became the first woman to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada. She would go on to score six more perfect 10s before the closing ceremonies, leaving Montreal with three gold medals, one bronze, one silver and countless fans. She earned four more medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, including two gold, before retiring in 1984. Today, Comaneci is co-owner with her husband of several gymnastics-related businesses, including the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy, and is an editor of International Gymnast Magazine. She is involved in a variety of charities and serves as a board member for Special Olympics International, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Laureus Sports For Good. She also support dozens of charities in her homeland of Romania, including the Nadia Comaneci Children’s Hospital in Bucharest. Updated 2018

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