In 1971, she participated in her first international competition, a dual junior meet between Romania and Yugoslavia, winning her first all-around title and contributing to the team gold.
For the next few years, she competed as a junior in numerous national contests in Romania and dual meets with countries such as Hungary, Italy, and Poland.
She won nine Olympic medals and four World Championship medals during her career.
Comăneci is one of the world's best-known gymnasts and is credited with popularizing the sport around the globe.
In a 2011 interview, Nadia's mother Ștefania said that she enrolled her daughter into gymnastics classes simply because she was a child who was so full of energy and active that she was difficult to manage.
Károlyi was looking for gymnasts he could train from a young age and saw the two girls during recess. Károlyi went around the classrooms trying to find them, and eventually spotted Comăneci.
In all, she received six more perfect 10s in Montreal, as well as three gold medals.
Four years later, she won two gold medals at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
While he remembered this meeting, Comăneci noted in her memoirs that she had to be reminded of it later in life.
Comăneci also took over the spotlight from Olga Korbut, who had been the darling of the 1972 Munich Games.
Comăneci's achievements are pictured in the entrance area of Madison Square Garden in New York City, where she is shown presenting her perfect beam exercise.
She continued to enjoy success that year, winning the all-around at the "Champions All" competition and placing first in the all-around, vault, beam, and bars at the Romanian National Championships.
In the pre-Olympic test event in Montreal, Comăneci won the all-around and the balance beam golds, as well as silvers in the vault, floor, and bars behind accomplished Soviet gymnast Nellie Kim, who was one of her greatest rivals over the next five years.