As I mentioned yesterday, today is Nadia Comaneci’s birthday. This one minute, twenty-nine seconds had a greater impact on my life than any other.
I had forgotten how beautiful she was in motion. Later, though I always loved Comaneci’s crisp and airy precision, I pined for the elegance and heartache of Natalia Shaposhnikova, whose routines were so difficult she seldom completed them without mistakes.
Shaposhnikova now lives twenty miles from me. One day I will work up the nerve to worship at her feet. A framed poster of the one-hand handstand is the first thing a person sees on entering my home. The second thing one sees is that a very silly person lives here, which is why I know tomorrow is Felix Unger Day. Do you doubt me?
Handsprings and comedy. November. Me.