Wednesday, July 21, 197+6
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
NADIA'S PERFECTION 'HARD WORK'
MONTREAL (P)-Romania's Nadia Comaneci is the
world's Olympic darling but she also is a tired little
girl of 14, embarrassed by all the attention she is get-
"I want to go home," the doll-like gymnastics mar-
vel replied when asked if she planned to follow her
Montreal adventure with an exhibition trip around the
She also said that gymnastics, which were "fun-
like a game," when she started at the age of seven,
had now become very demanding.
"IT IS WORK," she says now.
She never idolized-or copied-Russia's Olga Korbut.
If she has an idol at all it is Alain Delon, the French
movie actor. She enjoys school, specializes in the
French and English languages but likes French best.
She dislikes to answer questions in English. Her
favorite English words are "hamburger" and "okay."
These were a few of the tidbits that emerged from
Nadia's first in-depth press conference since arriving
in Montreal and capturing the hearts of spectators and
the world's TV millions with her fawn-like grace, her
daring and childish charm.
SHE APPEARED timid when she was ushered into a
room adjacent to the Romanian headquarters at the
Olympic Village and was immediately surrounded by
newsmen and photographers, with shutters snapping
and bulbs flashing.
She was accompanied by her 15-year-old teammate,
Teodora Ungureanu, and her coach, Bela Karolyi, a
handsome man of 35 who could not hide his pride.
Both Nadia and Teodora were attired in neat, laven-
der-colored leisure suits and each had her dark hair
pulled back into a pony tail, tied with white rope at
the neck. Bangs hung over their eyes. Nadia wore two
Olympic pins on her left lapel.
Nadia sat straight in her chair, showing no nervous-
ness and letting her brown eyes search those of every
questioner. She rarely smiled. When she did, it was a
She looked like a little girl who was desperately
Thumb injury halts
NEW YORK (M) - Dave tion about the injury.
Kingman barely got the words day he was saying:
out of his mouth-"this is my "This is my first yea
first year of day-in, day-out in; day-out playing,,
playing"-when it all came to has been very rewa
an abrupt end . . , the home me."
runs and the strikeouts.r
Instead of pursuing the home Previously, the
run records of Babe Ruth, Ro- fielding outfielder - fi
ger Maris and Hack Wilson, for man was being paton
the next six weeks, the gangling a bit by first San Fran
slugger of the New York Mets then the Mets. But th
will have his left thumb in a he was i the process
cast ing everyone that I
make it every day a
The 6-foot-6 Kingman suf- kinds of pitching.
fered torn ligaments in the
thumb-in the third inning of a He hit homer No. 3
game Monday night against Mets' 92nd game of
Atlanta whe nhe dove for a son on Sunday. Ruth,
fly ball in left field at Shea 60 home runs in the 1
Stadium and jammed his son, did not hit No.
thumb into the turf. Surgery
after the game, the thumb
was put in a cast and King- SUPER A
man placed on the 21-day
Ile took with him 32 towering
home runs, 72 runs batted in W I
and 92 strikeouts, all of which
have prompted such nicknames
as King Kong, Sky and Dave
The sudden curtailment of his VILL
finest season had to be a dis-
appointment, enough so that he r
begged off immediate conversa-
anxious to ru
to be true.
"I CAME h
made her unc
Nadia sat b
by an interpr
please say so'
After the 45
sued the mat
she was mos
"I know 'ha
Most of th
nastics and w
brother, no si
She said sh
she was picks
"It was fun
"Is it no or
"NOW IT i
three or four
but I must wt
A sprite of
ines on gymnast
n away and play. She even admitted this on the bars and beam, scoring unprecedented perfect
scores of 10 in three exercises.
ere prepared to do gymnastics, not to be The crowds at the Forum have been going wild every
she said when asked if the situation time she does a routine.
omfortable. Someone asked if she was affected by the noise of
eneath a portrait of the Romanian presi- the crowd and what were her reactions.
Ceausescu, framed by bright tapestries
n flags. Questions were asked in several "I THINK so much of what I must do, I do not hear
ostly English and French, and translated the crowd," she said. But of the ovations she has re-
eter. ceived afterward, I feel fine-it makes me very
television man asked Nadia if she would
mething to Britain in English. Her voice was so soft, it was almost inaudible.
ered a moment, blushed for the first time It was natural to ask if the world reputation of
Russia's Olga Norbut, the star of the Munich Games
in 1972, had affected her career.
prefer to say it in French, "No-not at all," she replied.
S-minute interview when a newsman pur-
ter and asked Nadia what English words Did Nadia, who was then 10, watch Olga on tele-
t familiar with she smiled slightly and vision in 1972:
"I DID NOT watch," she said. "I was having holi-
amburger' and 'okay.'" days at the seaside."
e newsmen present were interested in Both Nadia and her coach appeared slightly miffed
ground, how she got interested in gym- when someone suggested that her showmanship and
'hat she thought of her future. theatrics on the bars were reminiscent of the Russian
star and asked if Olga had influenced her in this
ID she came from the little town of respect.
orghiu-Dej in Bacau County. "Showmanship is not the best term," the coach re-
was a machinist," she said through the plied. "We are not copying anybody."
'My mother is an employe. I have one .
sters." Nadia nodded agreement.
Nadia said she was a good student in school and,
s was seven when she entered her first despite the hard work, still finds gymnastics afford her
lass and showed so much promise that 'much, much pleasure."
ed for special instruction.
When a reporter asked if she thought she would win
n then. It was like playing a game," she five individual medals, Nadia's brow furrowed. Then
she replied, "I hope so."
nger fun?" she was asked. At that point, the hospitable Romanian brought out
cognac and everyone drank a toast to the tiny princess
is work," she replied. "I must practice of he Games.
hours a day. Of course, I enjoy the sport "Goodluck, es.
ork very hard." "Good luck," everyboy said.
a child, the 5-foot, 88-pound Romanian "Merci," replied Nadia, flashing one of her rare
d galleries with her brilliant performances smiles.
ar of day-
32 in the
his 95th game. Wilson, who
holds the National League re-
cord of 56 homers In one sea-
son, also waited until his
95th game to connect on No.
32. Maris, who launched 61
homers in 1961, hit his 32nd
in game No. 78.
During a game Kingman does
not want to think about home
run records, and off the field he
does not want to be reminded
"I never idolized anyone
when I was a kid," he said
recently. "I vaguely remember
hearing about Mickey Mantle
and Maris. And now you're get-
ting into a subject I don't want
to talk about."
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