Today, 4 July, after the draw of the Judo Grand Prix in Montréal, five-time Olympic champion and legendary gymnast Nadia Comaneci received a diploma to commemorate her appointment as IJF Ambassador by IJF President Marius Vizer.
Nadia Comaneci receives her Ambassador diploma from IJF President Vizer

Afterwards, IJF Media had a chat with the acclaimed athlete. “It is a great honor to be nominated IJF Ambassador,” says Nadia Comaneci. “There are a few of us. I like everything that happens within the sport, the atmosphere. Everything Marius Vizer does for the athletes. Even though I didn’t practice judo it’s good to have around other athletes supporting the judokas.”

IJF President Marius Vizer & Nadia Comaneci

The legendary gymnast sees plenty of similarities in judo and gymnastics. “It’s hard work. It takes time and patience, perseverance but also you have to love what you are doing. You don’t have to be born in a particular place to be the best. It needs hard work, but if it’s in your heart and you like the challenges it will work.”

IJF President Marius Vizer & Nadia Comaneci at the draw

Nadia Comaneci holds the city of Montréal dearly in her heart. “I excelled here, and I lived here. It’s a part of my life. I can’t talk about my life without talking about Montréal. I returned a couple of times for the World Championships and to see myself in the lobby on posters from the 1976 Olympics and the Park they named after me brings back many emotions. It’s nice to have the time to enjoy it, to be here and also to celebrate history for judo with this inaugural Grand Prix. Hopefully my history here in Montréal will motivate other athletes to be the best they can be.”

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