In March 1976, Olympic gymnasts Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci crossed paths for the first time.
The pair found themselves standing on the winners’ podium at Madison Square Garden in New York — they were competing in an international gymnastics competition called the American Cup, and Bart had just won the men’s all-around, while Nadia was taking home the women’s all-around.
As they stood on the podium, Bart and Nadia held up their silver trophies. That’s when a photographer said to Bart: “Oh, she’s adorable. Give her a kiss on the cheek. It’d make a nice picture.”
So he did.
After the picture, Bart, 17, and Nadia, 14, parted ways. They didn’t think much of the shot, because the Summer Olympics were just three months away. But little did they know they would meet again, decades later.
At the Olympics, Bart came in 46th place — but Nadia “redefined our sport and became a global superstar,” Bart says.
With their rankings so different and their home countries so far apart (Bart is American while Nadia is Romanian), the two didn’t cross paths much at the Summer Olympics.
It wasn’t until 1990, almost 15 years after that first kiss on the cheek, that Bart and Nadia reconnected. And the rest, as they say, is history.
By 1996 the two were married. They held their fairy-tale wedding in Romania, and Nadia says the day was a national event. Everyone took off work to watch the wedding, which was broadcast live on television.
Now, Bart and Nadia live together in Oklahoma, and are raising their son. Although it feels like forever ago, the couple still thinks back to the picture that started it all.
Check out the video below to learn more about Bart and Nadia’s love story, and please SHARE this video on Facebook!
Photos: Oprah: Where Are They Now?
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