"Many times I dreamt about the routines that I was practicing. And many times I dreamt that I did mistakes, but when I was awake, this did not happen. For instance, when dreaming about my routine on the beam I always found myself stepping into the air, as if the beam suddenly became shorter,” recalls Nadia Comaneci in an interview to Marius Tuca, to be published starting today.
"Say It As It Is” Series of Interviews conducted by Marius Tuca
- Marius Tuca: You know, it is pretty hard to get an interview with Nadia Comaneci…
- Generally speaking, for anyone attempting to interview you.
- I noticed you are very selective.
- You really are. But do you know why it is so hard for people to get an interview with Nadia Comaneci?
- Firstly, Nadia Comaneci is a very complex personality, Secondly, Nadia Comaneci is a legend, beyond the real -flesh-and-blood person, and you are well aware of that,. Thirdly, Nadia Comanenci is very difficult to contact. I recon I worked a lot to prepare for this interview.
- What is being famous to you?
- That was back then. But how was it after finding out about your international fame?
- There are many such public figures who told you, 20 or 30 years after that momentus time, when meeting you, that they had fallen in love with you.
- OK, but in fact, you yourself raised the question and toyed with the answer. The answer is that you revolutionzed the world of gymnastics, being the only person, so far, to make the cover of three magazines at the same time: Time, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek.
- Oh, Obama may stand a chance at that. This is easy for me to see it, as a journalist ...
- So, you were not aware of the impact you had in the United States?
- In Ioan Chirila's book "Nadia”, Ion Tiriac tells that he was in the US at the time and that television ratings for your performance were 19, on a scale measuring them from 1 to 20, and standing almost on a pair with the live broadcast of the first man landing on the Moon. So, you knew none of these facts back then, but you know them now. What is your take now?
- So, are you aware of chaning people lives? Did you become aware over time?
- I read you book, "Nadia Comaneci – Letters To A Young Gymnast”. I read it several times, and I want to say that I could not recall any of your team mates, with the exception of Teodora Ungureanu. What I mean to say is that your personal success scorched around and obliterated the success of anyone else. I would like to continue our talk based on things you write in this book. You write at one point: "This is what life is, isn't it? You aim a target and try to reach it by being better by the day, till you reach that target. It requires considerabile effort, but if you are in love with what you do, the whole process is sheer joy. I was not born a champion, I did not dream in those early days about becoming one. My thoughts were at the small scale competitions Bela ştrans. note: Bela Karoly, Nadia Comaneci's trainerţ was organizing in our gym, at the small rewards he gave me when I did it right. I dreamt about learning new routines, I wanted to run, to swirl, to do double vaults and nothing to keep me on the ground, for I was meant to fly.” I believe people should know why you embarked on the hard work, and that that was not the crave for fame.
Some people believe to this day that you were in for the fame. But sports celebrities turned out only later on, in the '80s.
Maybe in the United States being a good sportsman or woman equaled to being famous, but not so in Romania.
- You also wrote in your book: "Victory to me never meant standing on a podium with medals around my neck. I usually looked back in the audience, as they aplauded, I looked at Bela and Marta, who were smiling. I kissed the other competitors, but the drums inside me beat to a different rythm. High up on that stand, even at that young age, I was rewinding in my head the film of the routine, trying to discover the errors, the opportunities to make the routine better.” This I find incredibile: as you stood there, carrying your medals, you were still obsessed with bettering your routine, to identify your mistakes ...
- Did you do more mistakes in your dreams than in reality!
- And how was it, this dreaming of yours?
- This is a nightmare, not a dream. What other dreams did you have?
- At the end of the day, your flight came true, with everything you accomplished in gymnastics. What other dreams do you have from those early days? Were they all related to gymnastics?
TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT ISSUE