Today we are celebrating 40 years of the First Perfect 10, so let’s take a look at a list of 10 Perfect 10s.
1. The one before the “First Perfect 10”. At the inaugural meet of the American Cup in March of 1976 Nadia Comaneci scored a “perfect ten” on floor. She would go on to win the all-around competition. The winner of the men’s competition was her future husband, Bart Conner, they married 20 years later in April of 1996 and welcomed their only child, a son named Dylan, in June of 2006.
2. The one that changed the course of gymnastics. On July 18, 1976 Nadia Comaneci mounted the bars for her compulsory routine. After she dismounted history had been made and the “First Perfect 10” had been officially awarded.
3. The second one. At the same Montréal Olympics, Nellie Kim scored the second perfect 10. She would go on to place second behind Comaneci in the all-around.
4. The beautiful one. At the 1980 Olympics, Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect 10 in her compulsory beam routine, showing the grace and beauty of a more stylished era in gymnastics. She would become the 1980 Olympic Beam Champion. In the video you can see both her compulsory and her optional routine.
5. The breath-taking one. At the 1980 Olympics, Yelena Davydova scored a perfect 10 on floor with a very daring routine. She would become the all-around Olympic Champion at home in Moscow in 1980.
6. The one that made a crowd go wild. At the 1984 Olympics, Mary Lou Retton sealed her Olympic all-around victory at home with two perfect vaults.
7. The one that could have changed history. The Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Olympic Games so the gymnasts had to attend the Friendship Games instead. In Olomouc, host city of the gymnastics event, Olga Mostepanova scored only perfect 10s in the all-around final. What would have happened if she had been in Los Angeles?
8. The daring one and the one that followed it. The level of risk taken by Yelena Shushunova during her floor routine makes her perfect 10 in the all-around competition at the Seoul Olympics even more meaningful. However, the skill she performed in her second pass has been long banned due to the excessive risk it entailed. In the heat of the all-around competition at the Seoul Olympics, Daniela Silivas watched Shushunova perform a perfect 10 floor routine then she performed on Floor and equaled the mark by scoring her own perfect 10 on Floor. You can watch both videos here.
9. The one before the last. The last Perfect 10 ever awarded at a World Championships was given to North Korea’s Kim Gwang Suk in 1991 for an uneven bars routine that was not only technically perfect, it was aslo so difficult that it took your breath away.
10. The last one. And so, in the same way a Romanian had scored the first official perfect 10, the last one also came by a Romanian, Lavinia Milosovici. And what a better way to say goodbye to the perfect 10 that in the Floor Exercise.