In 1976, at the age of 14, Nadia Comaneci defied everyone who ever said “that can’t be done” about anything and achieved the mark of a “perfect 10” after a – well, perfect – routine on the uneven bars in the Summer Olympics in Montreal.
It was the first time a perfect 10 had ever been awarded and Nadia remains the youngest gymnast all-round champion ever.
What fascinates me most about this story, especially as all of London, England and indeed the world are turning their eyes towards my city for the 2012 Olympic Games, is that the score board was not set up to show the 10 mark. Nobody thought it could be done. Not the organisers, not the electric board designers, not the judges. At no point prior to this day did anyone involved say, “ok, but what if a gymnast got a perfect 10? what would we do then?” It was a firmly established fact that it wasn’t going to happen. Ever.
So much so that when this 14 year old young woman achieved it, she sat down with a blank expression on her face, and the audience applauded limply or not at all. The scoreboard read “1.00” as there was simply no space for “10.00”. As a voice over the tannoy explained, Nadia jumped up to wave and smile at the audience who suddenly leaped to their feet and let out a thunderous roar of praise.
The undoable had been done.
A fourteen year old girl changed the Olympic games forever by doing something nobody believed anybody ever would.
Is there something in your life that you would like to do that everyone tells you can’t be done?
More: watch the event unfold here