|CONNER Bart USA
Discipline: Mens Artistic
|Last update: 05/09/2011|
|Date of birth:||03/03/1958||Age:||57|
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|Bart Conner is America's most decorated male gymnast, and the first American to win medals at every level of national and international competition.
Growing up in the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove, Illinois, Conner discovered his gymnastics ability in unusual fashion. "When I was nine or ten, I started walking around the house on my hands," recalls Conner. "it was just something I did." When his physical education class at school dabbled in gymnastics, Conner found he could easily perform all the skills. "That's when people standing around started to say, you're pretty good at this and I thought about (pursuing gymnastics)."
Conner enrolled in a local YMCA program when he was ten years old and, by the age of 14, he won the 1972 U.S. Junior National Championships (AAU). Three years later, at age 17, Conner became the youngest gymnast ever to win the United States Gymnastics Federation All-Around championship. In 1976, he was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team, his first of three Olympics berths.
After suffering through the boycott of the 1980 Olympics, Conner competed through to the 1984 Olympics, where he battled back from his second torn biceps injury to win two gold medals at the Los Angeles Olympics (team and parallel bars). Instant fame was secured as the U.S. men defeated the World Champion Chinese team in the upset of the Games. "My feeling [about the win] was disbelief," he says. "The entire US team, all six guys, had the best meet of our lives, all on the same night. It was incredible. Even though gymnastics is primarily an individual sport, there's something special about being part of a great team."
Now, Conner is in business with his former college coach, Paul Ziert, who also is his manager. Under the umbrella of Paul Ziert and Associates, Conner coowns a flourishing gymnastics school in Norman, Oklahoma (The Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy), International GYMNAST magazine, and Grips Etc., a gymnastics supply company. Conner, who has worked a as TV commentator for twenty years for ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN and Turner, recently started Perfect 10 Productions, Inc., a TV production company dedicated to bringing more quality international gymnastics meets to TV. Conner's recent projects include the Jr. European Gymnastics Championships from Russia for ESPN as well as the Arthur Gander lnvitational from Switzerland, and Copa Gimnastica from Mexico for Fox Sports Net.
Like many sports celebrities, Conner has dabbled in both films and television. He starred in a feature film about BMX bike racing called "Rad," and has appeared in such top-rated TV shows as "Highway to Heaven" and "Touched by an Angel."
Conner's many charity efforts include the Bart Conner Educational 'Programs, Inc., a non-profit educational program to inspire youths and under-served children. He also serves on the Executive Board of Special Olympics International and is a national vice-president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Most recently, Conner has been instrumental in the relocation of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame to Oklahoma City.
On April 27, 1996 Conner married Olympic gymnastics legend, Nadia Comaneci in a State wedding in Bucharest, Romania. Although their home is in Norman, Oklahoma, they also have residences in Venice Beach, California and Bucharest, Romania.