After the Olympics, Nadia's fairytale story did not end. She married U.S. gymnastics Olympian Bart Conner, and they now have a business built around gymnastics.
Four years before Nadia made history, a Russian gymnast named Olga Korbut was the darling of the games. Her story--that of growing up in another Communist-controlled country--was also mesmerizing to eleven-year-old me. I loved gymnastics as a child, and I actually took it as a P.E. credit the first year it was offered at my high school in 1978. I was too large and clunky to really be graceful, but I got an A for effort. No doubt Olga and Nadia are to be credited with enhancing the popularity of the sport of gymnastics and ultimately with it being introduced into the curriculum of many American schools.
|Olga's patented back flip off the high bar|
Olga was a pioneer in almost every gymnastics event, especially the parallel bars. But it was her smile that captured the hearts of people all over the world. Sadly, Olga's amazing performances in the 1972 games were to be overshadowed in history by the tragic slaughter of 11 Israeli athletes by Muslim terrorists at that Olympic games.
Olga's story was also "overshadowed" years later when the nuclear accident at Chernobyl occurred. Reportedly, Olga suffers from radiation poisoning from the Chernobyl accident.
From Nadia's fairy tale success and marriage, to Olga's perseverance, to the 11 Israeli athletes who never saw their loved ones again, there are many more stories of triumph and sorrow in the history of the Games. The Olympics of 2012 will no doubt create more that generations to come will look back on as life-altering.
An entire series of historic Olympic moments is available on Yahoo Sports.