Young gymnasts jump for joy at a chance to see Olympian Nadia Comaneci in Windsor

1 / 3
Young gymnasts jump for joy at a chance to see Olympian Nadia Comaneci in Windsor

It was 1976 when Olympic gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci achieved international fame by scoring a perfect 10.0 performance at the Montreal Olympic games.

That was long before many of the athletes who train at Alpha Gymnastics Academy in Windsor were born, but news of Comaneci's upcoming visit to Windsor still has some excited.

Nine-year-old Abigail Parent  was unaware of Comaneci impressive career. But after CBC News showed her a video of the perfect 10.0 performance the young gymnast was overcome with excitement. 

"I see she's very talented on bars. And beam too. She's really good on floor," said Parent.

When some older students at the academy were made aware Comaneci will be visiting the Rose City the reaction was different. Many have studied Comaneci and have looked up to her for years.

"It's really exciting, especially for the gymnastics community, to have someone so amazing from the gymnastics world coming," said 16-year-old Grace Stewart, who described Comaneci as a great role model.

Another gymnastics student at the academy says she watched a documentary on Comaneci when she was a child.

"My entire team grew up watching her," explained 21-year-old Celeste Tabone.

She said the remarkable thing about Comaneci is that she achieved something no one had before. 

"Making the Olympics would be the ultimate goal for a young gymnast and she did that. [Then] she over-succeeded and got the 10," said Tabone.

The Windsor Essex Sports Persons of the Year committee announced Thursday that Comaneci will be the keynote speaker at this year's WESPY awards.

The Olympic legend was invited to the WESPYs to help introduce a new award honouring someone from the sport of gymnastics locally.

"I am honoured and just happy to be there and be a part of these awards," said Comaneci, who joined a news conference by phone from Oklahoma, where she lives. 

The WESPYs will be held at the Caboto Club on Tuesday, March 20.