Like millions – if not billions of people – I first “met” Nadia Comaneci when the pigtailed Romanian took over the Olympic stage and redefined women’s gymnastics. Her ferocity, her focus, her tenacity – her tender age – left the world in wonder, and certainly left people assuming that her life could never be as good as it was then.
Fast forward to when I first met Nadia, in 2007 or 2008, at the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame ceremonies in Oklahoma City where Diane and I sat with Nadia and Bart and friends at the event which the couple (Bart Conner and Nadia) have helped to not only prop up but build into a world recognized event. This is some of what Nadia does now.
She also raises a beautiful boy, Dylan. She commands her business. She builds hospitals. She walks in the room and she inspires her teammates, associates and family to action in creating a better world by her own resolve and strength.
So to say that I was an admirer back then – when the little girl was a perfect ten – is true. But the fact is, having spent my life as a sports journalist, removed from fandom by necessity, I only became a fan once I met her and in a very small way have gotten to know what she stands for and who she is. Congrats to Nadia for winning the Annie Oakley Society Award for 2013. Press release below…
Nadia Comaneci to be honored by The Annie Oakley Society at Annual Luncheon Supporting Museum Educational Programs
OKLAHOMA CITY — The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to announce Nadia Comaneci as The Annie Oakley Society Award winner at the third annual luncheon on June 6 in the Sam Noble Special Events Center. The Society gathers to celebrate women who demonstrate leadership and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Great American West.
“Nadia exemplifies the essence of Annie Oakley and gives new meaning to aim high. She is a perfect 10 in every way!” said former First Lady of Oklahoma Cathy Keating.
Nadia, like the legendary Annie Oakley, succeeded with her determination and strength of character. By using her talents, she broke barriers for women globally while showing great compassion for others.
“In harmony with Annie Oakley’s tradition of cherishing families and helping others, proceeds through membership of The Annie Oakley Society are combined to fund the renovation of the children’s area of the Museum,” said Keating. “Future plans to support improvements in other areas of the Museum will ensure its future as a place where families can learn and cherish the West, as well as honor Annie’s lifelong commitment to her family and education.”
The Annie Oakley Society, co-founded by Keating and Lynn Friess, has added a new dimension to the Museum by honoring and raising awareness of outstanding women of the West. The Society has raised over $2 million to date.
Membership into The Annie Oakley Society includes seating at the luncheon and nonmembers are invited to attend for $150 each. With multiple levels of membership starting at $250 annually, The Annie Oakley Society has a niche for all women, including a special category for those under 40.
For reservations or to inquire about membership into The Annie Oakley Society, please call the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum at (405) 478-2250, Ext. 256.