(WINDSOR, ON) – Organizers of the 13th annual WESPY Awards announced today the keynote speaker for the March 20 event at the Caboto Club. Olympic gold medalist and the first to receive a perfect score of 10 in gymnastics, Nadia Comaneci will grace the WESPY stage to deliver her message of encouragement.
With her participation announced from the WE-TV studio on Howard Avenue, Comaneci joined the festivities from her home in Oklahoma by telephone.
“I am just honoured and happy to be there and be a part of these awards,” she said. “Congratulations for including gymnastics in the awards.”
This year marks the first time that the sport of gymnastics will be included as part of the awards ceremony.
“There’s no mistake that gymnastics community in the Windsor and Essex area has really, really grown, and has become a driving force” said WESPY MC Mark Knight. “The WESPY Awards has decided to make gymnastics an award this year to go along with all the other awards that we’ve been able to help promote and recognize.”
Combining the introduction of gymnastics on the WESPY ceremony with Comaneci as the guest speaker was a no brainer for founder Dominic Papa. As a 14-year old at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Comaneci provided the world with a perfect performance in her sport and turned fans on to the competition.
“That’s why it’s a history-making announcement. The first international athlete to come in,” said Papa.”It just kind of went hand-in-hand. When we brought gymnastics on board I looked around to see what I could do. Nadia came to the plate. She’s been tremendous to deal with. I’s been a great relationship already and we’re really excited to get her in here.”
Comaneci’s address will focus on her life after Montreal, including her promotion of children in sport and and time as a gymnastics coach.
“Everybody has a dream to achieve something great in their life and I want to say that sport is a wonderful occupation,” Comaneci said. “I congratulate you and I love the fact that you acknowledge the people who are committed and motivated be a part of the success.”
Tickets for the second-to-none event will be on sale at Bob Reaume Sports or online from the WESPY Awards website.