Nadia Comăneci - Wikipedia
The annual Bart and Nadia Sports Experience event in Oklahoma City features Tens of thousands attend to enjoy the gymnastics meets with. Nadia Comaneci Invitational Event date: Invitational/Tournament/Meet. Date(s): Tags: GymnasticsOklahomaBart Conner Gymnastics. Nadia Comaneci Invitational. Feb 16, - Feb 18, ; Oklahoma City, OK; Interactive Results ›. Meet Complete.
But for as much as Nadia is linked to Romania, she feels every bit as tied to Oklahoma. This is where she and husband, Bart Conner, have made their home. This is where they are raising their son, Dylan. This is where she feels the most at peace. The story of how she came to the United States is a remarkable one. While it's been told before, it's still an amazing but harrowing tale.
She retired from competitive gymnastics in after winning nine Olympic medals, including three golds at the Games in Montreal and two golds at the Games in Moscow. As the most famous Romanian ever, she lived a pampered life.
She lived in a villa, had servants and wore expensive jewelry. But she was in a country governed by a Communist dictator — and a brutal one at that. Even with her favored status, Comaneci dreamed of escaping Romania for years, but she was so well-known that defecting would be no easy task. Comaneci reached a breaking point, however, in late On the night of Nov. Around midnight, they began walking. About 10 miles of open countryside separated them from the border and freedom.
They trudged through mud and water and ice. Most of the time, they walked, but sometimes, they crawled.
Six hour later, they reached a barbed-wire fence and passed through an opening into Hungary. There were no border guards in sight, but they heard guard dogs in the distance. Two weeks later, she was in the United States. Two weeks after that, the Ceausescu regime fell. He was captured, hastily tried, then publicly executed on Christmas Day It ushered in democracy and freedom and a new era in Romania.
When Comaneci decided to defect from Romania, she had no way of knowing that revolution was right around the corner. Although a number of Communist nations had boycotted the Olympics in tit-for-tat to the U. She had started thinking about retiring a few years earlier, and her official retirement ceremony took place in Bucharest inand was attended by the chairman of the International Olympic Committee.
Life took on a new bleakness. I was cut off from making the small amount of extra money that had really made a difference in my family's life.
Nadia Comaneci International Invitational | Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy
It was also insulting that a normal person in Romania had the chance to travel, whereas I could not I was to do as I was instructed, just as I'd done my entire life If Bela hadn't defected, I would still have been watched, but his defection brought a spotlight on my life, and it was blinding.
I started to feel like a prisoner. There were six other Romanians who planned to trust him with their lives. I never questioned him. Constantin had offered to help me defect, and I'd accepted. I assumed that his wife knew that he was going to help a handful of Romanians get out of the country and that I was one of them.
But what people took from my answer was that I was a home-wrecker. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
In hindsight, I understand that I'd made a very poor choice of words. Constantin had plans to become my personal manager upon our arrival in the United States.
I didn't know that, but he promised to help me get settled, and I guess I just accepted his involvement in my future career as fair payment for the risks he'd taken. People died every day trying to defect. They tried to contact me by telephone, but Constantin did not relay their messages.
Weisman was thus able to arrange for Conner to make a guest appearance on the show if he could be in Los Angeles by taping at 5 pm. I think I can understand why Nadia said what she did She said, 'He Panait is my manager. We don't have a relationship, so it doesn't matter if he's married or not. She regrets it, and I don't think she realized how misunderstood she would be.The Nadia Comaneci meet in OKC
She really got burned. She said the Miami media was really not nice to her. For a second, I was tempted to ask for help I needed to move on and find a better life for myself. Bart told me later that he tried to call me after the show, but Constantin never let me know of his calls.
It was based on his desire to help a young woman he'd met once who was an icon in our shared sport. I told him that I was thinking about staying in Montreal, but hadn't yet mentioned the idea to [Panait] because he'd already booked us on a flight back to Los Angeles. The next day, Alexandru sent me to meet with the director of the Olympic stadium, who told me that I could do some exhibitions and appearances for him When I woke up the next morning and went downstairs, Alexandru told me that [Panait] was gone.
I never heard from him again, but I hope he is well and thank him for his help.
Nadia Comaneci International Invitational
I realize that our business relationship may have tarnished my name and image, but I safely escaped from Romania, and that is truly what was most important. There wasn't too much time to figure out why [Panait] had left because very soon after his departure, CNN contacted me. She lived with Paul Ziert 's family, eventually hiring him as her manager. It was televised live throughout Romania, and their reception was held in the former presidential palace.