Ceausescu son reportedly beat Comaneci

Published March 26, 1990|Updated Oct. 16, 2005

Champion gymnast Nadia Comaneci was repeatedly beaten during her five-year relationship with the son of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, her mother said Sunday. "I would like to hang him by his tongue and watch him die," said Alexandrina Comaneci, whose daughter won three gold medals and scored a perfect "10" at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

Mrs. Comaneci revealed details of the relationship between her daughter and Nicu Ceausescu in an interview.

Beaten and stabbed by his revolutionary captors, Nicu, 39, is awaiting trial on genocide charges and is considered fortunate to have escaped his parents' fate _ execution by firing squad.

Mrs. Comaneci said Nicu dominated her daughter "body and soul" over a five-year period that culminated with Nadia's much-publicized escape from Romania to the United States weeks before the revolution.

She said Nicu first became obsessed with Nadia, now 28, when she was the country's leading sports personality in the 1970s.

After Nicolae Ceausescu appointed his son youth minister in 1981, Nicu employed Nadia as a gymnastics coach and choreographer.

In an interview with Life magazine, published last week, Nadia said reports of her domination by Nicu Ceausescu were "all lies."

But Mrs. Comaneci told Reuters: "Nadia was soon at Nicu's mercy. After she retired from competitive gymnastics she needed work. She was also short of money because all her earnings had been used by the Ceausescu family.

"He began telephoning her at home and calling on our house in a drunken state. Then he began threatening her and had her pay stopped.

"Nadia refused his advances repeatedly but eventually was unable to say no.

When Nicu called, Nadia was forced to drive 180 miles to the central city of Sibiu, where Nicu was regional Communist Party chief.

"After one of her visits to Sibiu she showed me bruises on her thighs when she came home.

"On another occasion she came back from visiting Nicu with her fingernails torn out. Nadia told me that this had been caused by an infection because she didn't want me to be upset."

Nadia's life of terror with Nicu continued until eventually she could bear it no more and made plans to escape, said Mrs. Comaneci.