AP WAS THERE: 1976 Montreal Olympics

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FILE - In this July 18, 1976, file photo, Romania's Nadia Comaneci dismounts from the uneven parallel bars to score a perfect 10.00 in the women's gymnastics competition at the Summer Olympic Games in Montreal. (AP Photo/Suzanne Vlamis, File)

EDITOR’S NOTE — With the Tokyo Olympics postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press is looking back at the history of Summer Games. This story was transmitted from Montreal during the 1976 Olympics, focusing on the phenomenon that was 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. The story is reprinted here as it ran in The Miami Herald on July 21, 1976 using the contemporary style terminology and including any published errors.


By BOB GREEN and WILL GRIMSLEY, Associated Press

MONTREAL — The very imperfect Olympics — with all its troubles and strife, fears and police forces, threats and boycotts — suddenly has been graced by perfection.

It’s a tiny package, this little bit of perfection, standing only four feet 11 inches and weighing in at 88 pounds of pure grace and rhythm, topped by a ponytail and occasionally spiced by a saucy gesture.

It’s magnificent little Nadia Comaneci, a 14-year-old Romanian girl, who has captured the imagination of the world, one billion of whose people have watched on television her performances that are truly unbelievable.

SHE OPENED the Games with a perfect score of 10 -- the first ever achieved in the Olympics -- on the uneven parallel bars Sunday. And she followed that with a mind-boggling, second perfect score on the hazardous balance beam Monday.

And still she wasn’t done. There was more to come — more of that which is supposed to be unattainable by mortals.