In a never-ending attempt to avoid working on one of several manuscripts that I should be dealing with, I've been watching the Olympics. Who knew that professional trampolining (is that a word?) exists outside of the circus industry. Anyway, with the upcoming release of the relationship book I wrote with my aunt Louise Helene, I SAW YOUR FUTURE AND HE'S NOT IT: A PSYCHIC'S GUIDE TO TRUE LOVE, I got to thinking about whether any Olympic athletes have met their spouses through the Games. Turns out, there are a number of them. And apparently I'm not the only one wondering about this question because I found a photo segment that the Huffington Post just had on the same topic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/olympic-marriage_n_1655143.html
Of the couples listed, the one that surprised me most was Olympic gold-medal gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner. I had no idea they'd gotten married. Even if you're too young to have seen Nadia earn multiple scores of perfect 10 in the 1976 Games, you've probably heard about her. And American Bart Conner won men's gymnastic gold at the 1984 Olympics.
I was intrigued by Nadia and Bart, so I did a little research about them. It seems their romance wasn't exactly love at first sight and smooth sailing forever after. They met for the first time at a gymnastics competition several months before the 1976 Olympics. A 14-year-old Nadia won a gold medal for the women, and Bart, who was 18 years old at the time, won the men's medal. They stood next to each other on the award platform, and a photographer suggested Bart give Nadia a kiss. He did, but if sparks flew, it would be a long time before anyone found out about it.
Nadia went on to endure a great deal of turmoil in her home country of Romania, which was ruled by the oppressive Communist regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu. In 1989, she fled Romania for the United States. Once there, she made contact with old friends, including Bart Conner. The two of them became engaged in 1994 and married in 1996. Twenty years after they first met.
That happily-ever-after story puts a huge, goofy grin on my face. I hope you like it, too.