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Letters to a Young Gymnast Hardcover – Dec 25 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (Dec 25 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465012760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465012763
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #762,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Although part of a mentoring series (Letters to a Young Lawyer; Letters to a Young Chef; etc.), this memoir is less about motivating aspiring gymnasts than justifying the author's life choices. Romanian-born Comaneci took the sports world by storm when, at the age of 14, she was the first person in Olympic history to earn a perfect score in gymnastics. At the event she garnered several more medals. When the author recounts her early years with legendary coach Bela Karolyi and details how his intensive training requirements plus her own determination led to her success, the text is engrossing. Comaneci, however, devotes far too much space to discussing the controversies that dogged her career. She refutes the oft-repeated accusation that Karolyi abusively overworked his young gymnasts and further denies that she drank bleach when the Romanian government assigned her to another coach. Although Comaneci's descriptions of her harsh life in Romania (although far easier than most) under dictator Ceausescu are compelling, and her decision to defect in 1989 completely understandable, she does not acknowledge that the man who facilitated her escape, Constantin Panait, was anything other than a personal manager. According to newspaper reports at the time, Panait, married with four children, controlled her life and finances and was responsible for TV bookings where the gymnast appeared overweight and inappropriately dressed. More discussions about the sport and less defensiveness about mostly forgotten gossip would have strengthened this mentoring guide.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Born in 1961 in Onesti, Romania, Nadia Comaneci made sports history during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal by scoring the first perfect "10.00" in a gymnastics competition. By the end of that Olympiad, she had repeated that feat six more times, winning three gold medals, as well as silver and bronze. She defected to the U.S. in 1989. Since then she has remained very active in promoting her sport, and is now married to American gymnast Bart Conner, himself a two-time Olympic champion. Together they run the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy, publish International Gymnast magazine, run Perfect 10 Productions, and travel the world in support of the Special Olympics, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and other charities. She lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I sat down this afternoon and read Nadia's book in one sitting! True, it's a relatively small book, but with having two young boys to look after, rarely do I take the time to read so intensely. The style and language of the book made it seem like Nadia was sharing her story with ME, and I loved the personal stories and insights. After all the stories and media rumors, it is fascinating to hear her side of the events that shaped her life, such as her early childhood memories, the 1979 World Championships, her defection to the USA, and her and Bart's courtship and wedding. These were topics that I had heard talked about many times, but even in interviews, Nadia has never gone into the detail that she did in this book.

This book reminded me about all of the reasons why I have admired Nadia for so long and why she remains very dear to my heart, and in the hearts of so many others around the world. I want to thank her for taking the time to write such an honest book, and for sharing her thoughts with her fans. Her gymnastics career has had a big impact on my life, and has always inspired me to do my best in school, in my work and in my relationships.

One last thing: when I first purchased the book, I was disappointed that there were no photos included. Upon reading the book, however, I realize that the book is directed not necessarily at a young audience, but for her fans, many of us who are in our adult years now. While photos would always be welcome, I wouldn't have wanted photos if it meant taking out any parts of the book. Her incredible and inspiring story speaks for itself.
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Format: Hardcover
Yes, I finally received it today, on my sick leave day, where I suppose should have my rest on the bed, but instead I ended up spending about 6 hours reading this book until the end. I'm glad I did that, I feel better after reading the book.
Thank you Amazon.com for speedy delivery of this wonderful book. I noticed that it was well packed several layers to protect the book so when it arrived through the postage, it was in perfect new condition!
I also would like to those of you who had not seen the book yet to know that the current book cover of this book is different from this book cover picture posted in Amazon.com. Amazon.com here has a 1st drafted book cover with Teodora Ungureanu's picture. After Amazon.com posted 3 months before the book launching, immediately the mistake was correct. Now the current on sales version has a beautiful Nadia rare floor exercise ending post picture in Montreal Olympics. You may view the current book cover at NadiaComaneci.com home page.
My pal Linda was correct about the book made like being Nadia talking to me alone. The book has that special personal touch, it does not need any pictures to elebrate Nadia, the true insight and honest reveal had made it more interesting than pictures.
More important is that Nadia had shown us the important to have good education for the better future of oneself. She shows us how athlete can be intellectual people. Not that she is good in gymnastics, she is good in reading, she shared the intellectual articles of Romanians writers. Her shared her love for her country, people, family, gymnastics and Bart with us. After you read the book, you feel you know Romania better, and you could see the pride of Nadia being a Romanian.
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Format: Hardcover
I originally purchased this book for my 8 year old daughter, but read it myself overnight when it arrived. It is too advanced for her age, but I will keep it for her as she matures. In the seventies and eighties I grew up enthralled with Nadia - the young, enigmatic champion from worlds away. Reading the book decades later, I was still eager to learn more about her. But I felt castigated and patronized along with the "reader" with whom she "corresponds" for wanting simple answers to obvious questions. As a woman her age, I understand too well we have all lived lifetimes. While her accounts of training and defection were compelling, it felt more often like she was apologizing, protecting and mending fences with others (Bela, Constantin, Nicu) than mentoring any young gymnast.
While the book is not what I expected (would've loved to see more...ANY!...pictures), I will say this: Bravo beautiful Nadia for the remarkable inner strength that made you the champion you are today as well as yesterday. Unfortunately, with that championship spirit often comes impossibly high self-expectations and I hope that by writing this book you will be able to put those feelings to rest and finally let us love you!
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