Nadia Comaneci was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10. She soared into the hearts of millions overnight when she appeared on the competition circuit at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Raised in a tiny village in Romania, she was sent off to a government run Gymnastics school after being discovered by Béla Károlyi, argubaly the sports most famous and conroversial coach. He, a Hungarian born national, coached the Romanian Gymnastic team until his defection, along with his wife, to the USA in 1981. After having trained many American gymnasts to Olympic glory, he was made National Team co-ordinator in 1999.
His wife Marta now holds this role and helped put together last years' 2012 Olympic gold medal winning line up of Maroney, Wieber, Ross, Raisman and Douglas. The Fierce Five, as they have now been dubbed brought home team gold for the first time since the magnificent seven in 1996. (When the Karolyi's were at their coaching prime)
This book is not so much a story of Nadia Comaneci's career as a gymnast as a story of what life in Romania was like. There was lots of gymnastics, but none of it inaccessable to non specialists. I found it difficult to read in places, because although Nadia now lives in the United States with a American husband and their child, I still felt like I was reading a book in broken English at points. The gramatical structure of many sentences was basic and stilting in parts. However I still found this book interesting and enlightening, but then again I will read anything about gymnastics that I can get my hands on!
Expect a few more gymnasts' autobigraphy reviews because I have some more on my to read pile!
Title: Letters to A Young Gymnast
Author: Nadia Comaneci