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Five questions with Nadia Comaneci, Women's Artistic Gymnastics Ambassador for the 2017 World Championships in Montreal

Nadia Comaneci during the press conference. (Photo: FIG)

MONTREAL, October 3, 2017 - It was 41 years ago in Montreal that Nadia Comaneci delivered one of the sport's defining performances, earning the first perfect 10 in Olympic Gymnastics in the modern era of the sport. An icon in the sports world and still beloved throughout Quebec, Nadia was the obvious choice of the Local Organising Committee and International Gymnastics Federation to serve as the Women's Artistic Gymnastics Ambassador for the 2017 World Championships in Montreal.

What does it mean for you to be an Artistic Gymnastics Ambassador for the 2017 World Championships in Montreal?

"Montreal is a part of my history, a part of what defined my life, and when I was asked to be an Ambassador I was happy that I could come back here. I love to come here. I came to the Games when I was 14, not knowing too much about the Olympics. I just knew it was a big competition and a lot of people were watching. I didn't know what it meant to make history and how big that was, and as the years go by I realize now it's more emotional to think that a 14-year-old did what I did."

What has this sport brought to your life?

"Gymnastics brought me pretty much everything. Everything that's happened in my life. (Laughs) I'm here because of it. I'm married to my husband because I met him at a competition in 1976 before the Olympics, and here I am. This is what I know and this is what I like."

If you could relive one moment in your Gymnastics career, what would it be?

"I would like to do my programme from Montreal in 1976 on the equipment here!" (Laughs)

Of all the advice you were given as a gymnast, is there one thing that has really stuck with you and made a difference for you?

"Don't overdo it and don't underdo it. When you prepare in the gym, you know when you do your best routine in the training and you feel when that's your best routine? Everyone in the competition tends to do a little more because of this adrenaline, so you have to be careful, because sometimes more is not good. When you overdo it, you make mistakes. You have to find that routine that you remember from training and try to put it in the competition arena."

What would you tell a young child who dreams of being an Olympic Gymnastics champion?

"I would just tell them what went through my mind when I did that. I loved it, because it was something unique. Gymnastics is a unique sport. It's very complex. And you always have to have passion -- passion and patience. It takes a long time to get to your dream, but you have to enjoy every little thing that you learn every day and correct every day. That's a pleasure that nobody talks about. Everybody talks about Olympics, Worlds, Europeans, but how about when you learn a handstand on the beam or a cartwheel on the beam and you go home and to your mom and say, 'Mom! It worked, I did seven out of eight.' That's the pleasure that kids have."

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