MONTREAL (Town) QUEBEC
When the Games were initially awarded to Montreal, it was estimated that they would cost $ 310 million. Well, there must have been some poor accountancy involved because the cost of the stadium alone went well over the $ 486 million mark while the final bill for the Canadian government amounted to $ 1,480 million. With the Munich disaster still fresh in memory, Canadians spent $ 125 million for security systems, which were to be manned by 10,000 policemen and 7,500 commandos. Montreal 1976 is the year of a 14-year old girl from Rumania, with a face full of arrogance and strong will, a face that will demand and earn the whole world's admiration. That's Nadia Comaneci who, the very first Games-day, scored the first ever maximum of 10.00 marks achieved at the Olympics.
A Bella Karoly pupil, Comaneci returned to her native Rumania full of fame and glory. She poses for magazines, she erupts at discos, she is living the big life. She met and got engaged to Nicu Tchausesku, son of the dictator and lived with him in a small mansion, in a classy suburb. She traveled a lot and when at home, she gave lush receptions. She skipped training routine, contrary to Caroly's insistence.
Nadia was an unhappy child who grew-up in extreme poverty, with a father she could hardly remember after his disappearance and with an autocratic mother who had to work in two jobs in order to face living expenses. At a school gymnastics demonstration she attracts Caroly's attention. Caroly arranges for a trial gymnastics day. The great trainer realizes that he has discovered a rare talent. He undertakes to train her personally and manages to convince the state to give some financial aid to her family. He designs a special program for her. Under Caroly's tough, some times exhausting training and instruction, Nadia proves to be not only a rare, natural gymnastics talent but a phenomenon of persistence, endurance and strong will.
Now, in Rumania, Nadia ends her relationship with the dictator's son and is seen at parties with an upcoming rock singer. In 1989 she meets Panait Constantin, an American restaurant owner of Rumanian descent. She persuades him to take her along with him to the U.S. The Rumanian authorities deny her the issuing of a passport. Nadia manages to convince Panait to cross over the border to Hungary with her. She asks for an asylum and the Hungarians are pleased to oblige. Asylum, plus a visa to enter America. She arrives in New York where she settles. She poses for hundreds of magazines and newspapers, she appears more than a hundred times in TV programs and within 6 months she manages to amass a substantial fortune. When Bella Caroly, by then a U.S. citizen, asked to see her, she refused...
Text by Dimitri N. Marcopoulos
1976 Montreal Olympics: Various WebPages
Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.Subscribe now!