Comaneci’s Perfect 10 moment narrowly edged 1984 Olympic Champion Mary Lou Retton’s five-medal performance by 2,699 votes, or less than one percent.
“Nadia Comaneci revolutionized gymnastics in the United States by demonstrating that powerful tumbling and a graceful presence could be achieved by younger women,” said USA Gymnastics President Bob Colarossi. “Certainly Nadia, Mary Lou, Kurt Thomas and all the nominees deserve recognition for their contributions to the growth of our sport in the United States.”
Comaneci’s Perfect 10 – the first of seven in her career – garnered 63,692 votes. Retton’s five medals during the 1984 Olympic Games finished a close second with 60,993 votes. Third place finish went to Cathy Rigby’s 1970 silver medal, the first world championships medal for the U.S. women, with a final total of 38,903 votes. The 1996 Magnificent Seven finished fourth at 34,691.
Comaneci, now 42, won three gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the 1976 Olympic Games, and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1993. She most recently served as a goodwill ambassador to the 2003 World Special Olympics Summer Games. Comaneci currently resides in Norman, Okla. with her husband, 1984 Olympic gold medalist Bart Conner.
“I remember I did a double back on a very, very hard floor,” Comaneci said. “They were ready for someone to score a 10 and wanted to give me a perfect 10. But the scoreboards at that time could not register four numbers, so the score appeared as 1.00. …I like to win, but I didn’t expect to win (the Longines Perfect 10 Moments in time) because I am the only one not from this country.”
Balloting began Feb. 28 on the usa-gymnastics.org and longines.com web sites, with the ballot trimmed to the top 10 following the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in June. Additionally, voters were entered into a contest to win a Longines watch. The Swiss watchmaker Longines is the official scoring provider and timekeeper for the 2003 World Gymnastics Championships.
The top 10 “Longines Perfect 10 Moments In Time” are listed below in order by date, along with a short description of each moment. Moments nominated must include a U.S. gymnast or have occurred at a U.S. sponsored international competition.
1. Cathy Rigby’s silver medal in the 1970 World Championships was the first medal for a U.S. woman at a World Championships;
2. Nadia Comaneci scored her first perfect 10 in international competition at the 1976 American Cup at Madison Square Garden;
3. Kurt Thomas earned the USA’s first male individual gold medal (Floor Exercise) at a World Championships in 1978;
4. Kurt Thomas came back a year later in 1979 to win six medals at Worlds, including gold on Floor Exercise and Horizontal Bar, silver in All-Around, Pommel Horse and Parallel Bars, and bronze with the team;
5. 1984 Men’s Olympic Team (Peter Vidmar, Tim Daggett, Bart Conner, Jim Hartung, Mitch Gaylord, Scot Johnson) won the USA’s first ever team gold medal at an Olympic Games
6. Mary Lou Retton vaulted into America’s hearts with five medals at the 1984 Olympics, becoming the first-ever Olympic all-around champion, along with silver medals on the Vault and Team, and bronze on Uneven Bars and Floor Exercise;
7. Shannon Miller scored a triple-gold performance – All-Around, Uneven Bars and Floor Exercise – at the 1993 World Championships;
8. Shannon Miller became the first U.S. athlete to repeat as World Champion when she won the All-Around and Balance Beam at the 1994 Worlds;
9. 1996 Women’s Olympic Team (Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Moceanu, Shannon Miller, Jaycie Phelps, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug) appropriately dubbed the “Magnificent Seven”, earned the USA’s first ever women’s Olympic Team gold medal;
10. Shannon Miller helped the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team to the team gold medal, and earned a Balance Beam gold of her own.
“This has been an excellent promotion for Longines, celebrating the successful history of one of the world’s most beloved sports,” said Michael Benavente, General Manager of Longines USA. “As a partner with USA Gymnastics, we have been able to fully activate our involvement in the 2003 World Gymnastics Championships and recognize the accomplishments of all of these great athletes.”
Mary Lou Retton, who became the first U.S. Olympic all-around champion at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, is the official spokesperson for the campaign, along with serving as Honorary Co-Chair of the 2003 World Gymnastics Championships.
Longines, a company of the Swatch Group, is the official scoring and timekeeper for the 2003 World Gymnastics Championships. Longines is celebrating its 125th year of involvement with sports time keeping. Longines has been the official scoring and timekeeping sponsor of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) since 1987.