FIRST COUPLE OF GYMNASTICS WILL BE HONORED AT THE NATIONALLY-TELEVISED MUSIAL AWARDS IN ST. LOUIS ON NOV. 23
ST. LOUIS – Oct. 4, 2019 – They are icons of their sport, winners of a combined seven Olympic Gymnastics gold medals. Together, as husband and wife, they have led their lives inspiring others and contributing to the greater good. In recognition of their positive impact on sports and society, Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci will receive the highest award for sportsmanship: the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award.
Conner and Comaneci will be honored at the 2019 Musial Awards in St. Louis on Saturday, Nov. 23. In addition to the live event, the show will air nationally as a one-hour special on CBS on Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. Eastern.
The Musial Awards – presented by Maryville University – celebrate the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and those in sports who embody class and character. The national event and its awards are named for St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial, a beloved baseball superstar and civic ambassador who personified sportsmanship. Produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, the awards show takes place annually at Stifel Theatre in Downtown St. Louis.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the pinnacle honor bestowed at the event. It is presented to iconic sports figures who exemplify sportsmanship and the qualities for which Stan The Man was known. Conner and Comaneci join Joe Torre (2014), Arnold Palmer (2015), Cal Ripken Jr. (2016), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (2017), and Jim Thome (2018) as recipients.
“Our family and those involved in the Musial Awards are proud to honor Bart and Nadia with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Jean Musial Edmonds, Stan’s daughter. “We have long admired them for their athletic excellence and the class, grace, humility and generosity they’ve shown throughout their lives.”
At the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Comaneci became the first gymnast ever to score a perfect 10. The 14-year-old from Romania, who became known simply as “Nadia,” captured the hearts and minds of the world. She finished the ’76 Games with seven perfect 10s, three gold medals, one silver and one bronze. She appeared on the covers of TIME, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated – all in the same week. At the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Comaneci earned two more gold medals and two more silver medals.
Bart Conner is the only American male gymnast to win gold medals at every level of national and international competition. He has been at the top of the podium at the U.S. Championships, NCAA Championships, Pan-American Games, World Championships, and the Olympics. Conner was a member of the 1976, 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic teams. At the ’84 Los Angeles Games, he made a dramatic comeback from his second torn biceps injury to win two gold medals, one of which came after scoring a perfect 10 on the parallel bars.
Conner and Comaneci were married in 1996 in Bucharest, Romania. Today, they are involved in several international charities, including Special Olympics. Comaneci also often returns to Romania to support her Nadia Comaneci Foundation and the Nadia Comaneci Children’s Clinic in Bucharest. She personally funded the construction and operation of the clinic, which provides low-cost and free medical and social support to Romanian children. Back in the United States, the couple, along with Conner’s former coach, Paul Ziert, own the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Norman, Okla. They remain visible ambassadors of the sport of gymnastics and promoters of fitness and healthy lifestyles. They are both members of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
At the Musial Awards, Conner and Comaneci will be honored alongside several individuals recognized for acts of sportsmanship that represent the best in sports and humanity. The full lineup of honorees will be announced later this month.
MUSIAL AWARDS TICKETS:
Tickets for the 2019 Musial Awards, ranging from $10 to $35, are on sale through Ticketmaster. Additionally, the Musial Awards offers an Honoree Circle ticket, which includes prime seating for the show, access to the Musial Awards After Party, and reserved parking for $100. Honoree Circle tickets and event sponsorships can be purchased at MusialAwards.com/tickets or by calling 314-345-5111.
Groups of 10 or more can take advantage of special group pricing by calling 314-345-5121.
Showtime for the 2019 Musial Awards is 6:15 p.m.
MORE ON THE MUSIALS:
The Musial Awards – presented by Maryville University – takes place annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving at the historic 3,100-seat Stifel Theatre in Downtown St. Louis. The show is produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. In addition to keeping alive the legacy of Stan The Man, the mission of the Musial Awards is to encourage kindness, selflessness, integrity and civility in sports and society – and to inspire people across the nation to be good sports. This marks the 14th year the Musial Awards has taken place in St. Louis. National sponsors of the 2019 Musial Awards include Maryville University, Edward Jones, Enterprise, World Wide Technology, and the Centene Charitable Foundation. Since 2011, Maryville University has served as the event’s presenting sponsor. The school’s involvement, leadership and generosity have helped make the show one of the great nights in sports.