Another championship, another Nadia interview

Actually, this one has nothing to do with the worlds. Nadia was invited to the 21st edition of Sportel (an international convention for sports and media).This is the translation of an interview from Gazeta Sporturilor (they mention that the source is AFP)

What do you recall from the 1976 Olympic Games?
I remember the moment I got that 10. It was very noisy and I couldn't understand what the 1.00 on the scoreboard represented. One of my colleagues told me "It is a 10 but they couldn't post it properly". I did not realised it was an historic moment. Today people talk more about the 10 than about my medals.

What is the place of the sport in your life?
I am recognised as the woman who took the perfect 10. I have influence on certain people. I can travel and I can talk and I can for instance motivate women, no matter what their domain of activity is. In the US, my husband and I have a gymnastics academy. We have 30 coaches and 1200 students. Whenever I get the chance, I watch children training, I show them how to do certain skills, I like that. They have seen pictures of me in the gym on the internet , so they know who I am.

What is the role women have in the world's sport?
There is always a competition in sport, where men are always favoured compared to women; but women must brake the ice. A sport becomes famous if it has a star, man or woman. Today's gymnastics is dominated by women; women can work hard if they are given the opportunity.

Is gymnastics a sport overlooked by the media?
The attention paid by media is very important. You must be exposed all the time, not only once every four years, when the Olympics come. The fans want to know all the time what their favorite athlete is doing, every day, every week, including what his personal life is. There are not only medals and results.

What do you say about people criticizing the training methods of the Romanian athletes back in 1976?
People say that gymnastics was too tough for such small children, but that is not right. When I started, there were very few options for women to practise a sport, and gymnastics was one of them. What I started, at 6, my parents considered it was a positive thing because I was too energetic and I was ruining the furniture in the house.

The minimum age for gymnasts to take part in the Olympics has increased from 15 to 16. Is 15 too young?
There is not a big difference. For me it was ok to go to the Olympics at 15, I had the time to return 4 years later but if a gymnast goes to the Olympics at 17 for the first time, chances are that at 21 she has a different occupation.
Nadia and Bellu, circa 1981 - Picture from GSP

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