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Comaneci Is Perfect

Everyone thought a perfect 10 score was impossible in a gymnastics event at the Olympics. That was true for two reasons in 1976—it had never been done, and the scoreboard only had room for three numbers, with 9.99 being the highest possible score. In an early part of the team competition, 14-year-old Nadia Comăneciof Romania stunned the gymnastics world with her performance on the uneven bars. The judges awarded her a 1.00. At least that is what the scoreboard said. The crowd in Montréal, Canada, was confused until they realized that, in fact, she had scored a 10.00. Comăneci was so good that a perfect 10 score became a ho-hum routine event during the rest of the 1976 Summer Olympics. Altogether, she had a remarkable seven 10.00 scores—four on the uneven bars and three on the balance beam. She won gold medals in both events and won a third gold in the individual all-around competition. Comăneci also won a silver medal in the team competition and a bronze medal in the floor exercise.


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