N is for Nadia (and Gymnastics)


Nadia then and now

I blogged about Nadia Comaneci for last year’s challenge, so this is a gymnastics post, which is what Nadia represents to Romanians everywhere. It’s a post of mostly photos and a very short story.

After Nadia’s win at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, every mother in Romania wanted her little girl to be the next Olympic medalist. That included my mother. But unlike Nadia, I had no extraordinary gymnastics talents. For one, I grew too tall. No good gymnast measures anywhere near 5’8”. Volleyball was my sport.

To this day, however, I enjoy watching  gymnastics, especially the World Championships and the Olympics.


I’m constantly amazed by the young athletes. How incredibly flexible their ligaments and tendons must be to enable them to bend and rotate in ways that people find impossible and painful. How gracefully they walk on that tinny balance beam.


How they jump, rotate in the air, and after two reverse flips stick their landing. I’ve been around gymnasts. I know it takes a huge amount of time and dedication, not to mention talent.

Every so many years, I sit in my living room and watch, my heart in my throat as the gymnast dismounts, flips through the air — once, twice, even three times — and somehow finds a way to plant both feet on the floor. Mind blowing.

What’s you favorite sport?


Thanks so much, everyone, for reading and all the wonderful comments. Tomorrow’s post is Ovidiu — the Roman poet, whose influence — from literature to common names — is still felt in Romania.


Image courtesy: forums.mydigitallife.info; latestnewspics.blogspot.com; http://www.thecouchgymnast.com


28 responses to “N is for Nadia (and Gymnastics)

  1. I was one of those who fell in love with Nadia and watching gymnastics back in 1976. She was so amazing! We used to do a whole unit of gymnastics back in High School PE classes, but I never did very well at any of it. I’m not strong enough, coordinated enough, or small enough. I do still love watching those who are talented at it perform.

  2. I also remember Nadia Comaneci and her brilliance and get such a thrill watching gymnastics. The recent Winter Olympics in Russia was a treat.
    My favourite sport? Well, not so sporty unless you count hiking and walking? Or sitting at the computer with the A-Z??? Thanks Silvia, great post!
    Garden of Eden Blog

  3. Gymnastics has always been my favorite Olympic sport. It still amazes me what these tiny little girls can do. Very exciting to watch. Thanks.

  4. Ah Nadia! I’m sorry I missed your post about it last year. She made such an incredible impression and I understand she is now teaching. My favorite Olympic sport is swimming, because I used to compete in that sport, but a close second is lacrosse, a sport I never played. My husband introduced it to me when we moved to NC, and my son was all state in lacrosse in high school. It’s like football on speed and with pads!

  5. I remember Nadia and that Olympic year well. The gymnastics is one of my favorites. They’re quite amazing with their control and precision!

  6. I LOVE gymnastics! I took up the sport as a child but broke my arm, really bad and had to quit. I wanted to be just like those ladies in the Olympics but it was not meant to be. I think they are fearless people.

  7. I tried Volley ball but quickly found writing and stuck with it :)
    Decadent Kane (blog)

  8. I still remember her perfect 10.

  9. I remember watching Nadia, too, and admiring her talent. Right now the only sport I can think fondly of is sleeping. I’ve tried it the last few nights, tried to get some practice in, but I just can’t get a grip on it. :-)
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

  10. my fav sport to watch is ice dance. I live in London Ont and so do Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – they won gold in Vancourver but not in Sousi (silver) However they are still the best ice dancers. this is a “rant” topic for me but I will be quiet now

  11. I love to watch gymnastics. Never could do it, though. I remember being stymied by the balance beam in 7th grade. Too high.

  12. I really admire Nadia and have always appreciated her. She is beautiful. My favorite sport is tennis. I love to watch on the weekends and love the big tournaments.

  13. It is amazing to watch the gymnasts. I didn’t know about the height hindrance. One of my piano students if very good, but I know she’ll be on the taller side as she gets older. Her parents are tall. I hope she is able to do what she loves.
    I would have liked to have done gymnastics or ice skating.
    Play off the Page

  14. I loved gymnastics as kid. Participating and watching. Nadia was an incredibly talented gymnast. I remember watching a made for tv movie about her. It was pretty heartbreaking to see the things she did, and the pressure she was under.

    Beautiful post.

  15. Oh it was a grand year, 1976. I watched all the Olympics with my dad, I was 11. I remember wanting her to win that medal so bad, she did indeed win hearts. How we all dreamed of being wonderfully graceful, like Nadia…the reality, more cart horse! hahaha. I’m not a huge sports fan, I swim and do yoga when I get the urge. ;)
    Still loving the A to Z Challenge. Maggie@expatbrazil.

  16. Who can forget this gymnastics wonder. :)

  17. You look a little like her I think…perhaps it’s in the eyes? Gymnastics is my favorite sport in the summer Olympics, particularly the bars. During the winter Olympics, my favorite is curling…I’m kind of a nerd. :) Elle @ Erratic Project Junkie

  18. The mention of Nadia brings back childhood memories! My friends and I all dreamed about the Olympics after watching her.


  19. I would not have remembered that olympics, but I do remember Nadia. My mom’s favorite sports to watch were ice skating and gymnastics so I always watched those with her. When it comes to the olympics I’m not sure I have a favorite sport; I love to watch all of them.

  20. I love gymnasts. They’re truly graceful and inspiring. Unfortunately, i find prolonged sportive activities dull, for myself that is. I loose my interest and pleasure in them fairly quickly. The only thing I did that lasted several years was Pilates, and I still enjoy it, but only on occasion. I couldn’t be an athlete of any kind, ha ha. I also don’t really watch sports, but if I do, I prefer to watch synchronous swimming and ice skating.

  21. I used to like gymnastics best. I trained and trained, but preferred to work on a mat rather than on apparatus above floor level! Now I walk for exercise. Sue

  22. Hi Silvia – behind somewhat .. but I love all sport – I was lucky enough to go to Munich c/o the British Olympic Association .. I was working for them briefly. I love ball sports .. and used to play lots of squash … tennis and squash here .. then squash in South Africa .. but love all sports and Wimbledon is my favourite – but Olympics all sorts! But don’t ask me to bend or twist!!

    Cheers Hilary

  23. nice to know about nadia… my favourite sport is swimming !

  24. 1976 was the first time we had watched the Olympics together, after our marriage. Nadia set the standard so high, that gymnasts still keep her as their goal.

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