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Famous Like Me > Actor > C > Bart Conner

Profile of Bart Conner on Famous Like Me

Name: Bart Conner  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 27th March 1958
Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Bart Conner, an American gymnast, was born on March 28, 1958 in Chicago, Illinois. Conner was on the gold medal-winning men's gymnastics team in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games; he also won an individual gold on the parallel bars. He is the only American male gymnast to have won gold medals at every level of competition, and has won more events than any other American male gymnast. Conner currently owns and operates the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Norman, Oklahoma along with his wife, Romanian gold medalist Nadia Comaneci. He is also a commentator for televised gymnastics events and an editor of International Gymnast magazine.

Conner was also part of the 1976 and 1980 USA Olympic gymnastics teams. He won the World Cup in 1979, and the American Cup in 1976, 1980, and 1981. He has been inducted into several Halls of Fame, including those of the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, International Gymnastics, and Oklahoma Sports.

Early career

Conner, who participated in many sports as a child, started gymnastics at the age of ten, after a school physical education coach noticed his talent. He began training with the local high school team and competing in local meets, where he progressed quickly but seldom won; after a few years he also began training at the local YMCA and competing in YMCA events. Conner's first significant gymnastics victory was the AAU Junior Olympics, where he won in 1972, followed soon after in 1974 by the USGF Junior National Championships. Immediately following his high school graduation in 1976, he went on to join the United States team as its youngest member at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal.

Conner attended Oklahoma University in order to work with coach Paul Ziert on the gymnastics team, which was then ranked 19th nationally by the NCAA. Conner is relatively unsuited physically for gymnastics, according to Ziert, for his relative lack of spinal flexibility as well as his weakness in tumbling skills. However, Ziert continues, Conner's motivation and dedication to the sport combined with his other physical abilities helped him quickly advance to the world-class level. In 1979, he won the parallel bars event at the World Championships with an original move called the "Conner Spin". In this move, the gymnast performs a complete 360-degree turn on one bar in a straddled position, and then presses to a handstand.

Much of Conner's early career was seen as a rivalry between himself and fellow American Kurt Thomas, both of whom were top competitors but whose styles of competition were quite different. Thomas, a more physically gifted gymnast than Conner, impressed judges his explosive strength and unusual degree of difficulty in his routines, whereas Conner's strengths were in his solid consistency and artistic presentation. The media made much of this rivalry, with Conner and Thomas competing for the top spots in national competition, and though the two were good friends the publicity around their rivalry and media exaggeration incited ill feeling between the two for a time.

He was the first qualifier for the 1980 Olympic gymnastics team, and did not support the US boycott of the Games; he made several media appearances in which he described the boycott as "futile", and protested the Olympics being used for political purposes. However, due to a torn bicep he received during the Olympic Trials, it is unlikely he would have performed well; due to continued training after this injury, his recovery lasted well over a year. In December 1983, competing at the Chunichi Cup, Conner tore his left bicep during his rings routine; due to several bone chips floating around his elbow, his arm mobility was limited, which placed undue stress on the muscles of the upper arm during the strenuous activities of competitive gymnastics.

1984 Olympics

After surgery and intensive physical therapy, Conner squeaked onto the 1984 Olympic team, after competing in only one of the two qualifying events, the Olympic Trials. He had begun competing in the earlier National Championships, but several serious falters including a headfirst landing on the floor exercise made in clear that he had not yet made a full recovery. Conner was granted a petition by the USGF to consider only the Trials scores, with which he was selected for the team.

After intense training to return to the level of competition he has reached before his injury, Conner's consistently good scores (including a perfect 10 on the parallel bars) helped the US men's team earn its first team gold. (Former rival Kurt Thomas, who had retired from gymnastics, was a commentator for ABC Sports; coach Paul Ziert saw his assessments of Conner's performance as being more fair and accurate than any other's.) Conner took sixth place in the indivdual all-around competition, with his total separated from gold medalist Koji Gushiken by .35 in total.

He qualified for two individual event finals, on floor exercise and parallel bars. He had a lackluster floor exercise, scoring a 9.75 for fifth place. In the parallel bars final just hours later, however, he scored a perfect 10 to win the event.

After the Olympics

Conner and Nadia Comaneci were engaged on November 12, 1994, and married on April 27, 1996; the couple met at the 1976 America's Cup, where Conner won the men's and Comaneci the women's title. They currently own the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy, Perfect 10 Production Company and several sports equipment shops, and are editors of International Gymnast magazine; they also do charity work. Conner is also a gymnastics commentator, and accepts speaking engagements.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bart Conner