How popular is the baby name Comaneci in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Comaneci.
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If you were paying attention to sports that summer, no doubt you’ll recall the source: Ecaterina Szabo, the Romanian gymnast who battled it out with Mary Lou Retton at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. (Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country that did not boycott the ’84 Games.)
Ecaterina Szabo, 17 years old at the time, was the most successful competitor overall at the 1984 Summer Games, winning four golds and one silver. (In second place was American track and field athlete Carl Lewis.) Mary Lou Retton, who was 16 years old, won one gold, two silvers, and two bronzes.
But what most people remember is Retton coming from behind to beat Szabo in “the big one” — the women’s individual all-around competition — by a mere five-hundredths of a point. (The usage of the baby name Marylou increased in both 1984 and 1985 as a result.)
Ecaterina Szabo, an ethnic Hungarian, was born with the first name Katalin. She told Romanian news site Transylvania Now that her name was changed (from the Hungarian form of Katherine to the Romanian form of Katherine) in order to mask her background:
It happened in 1980 when she participated at the Youth European Championship in Lyon. “This was the place where I arrived as Katalin, and left as Ecaterina,” she remembers. “The name change happened without my knowledge. Actually I didn’t have the chance to realize it, since I never even saw my passport.”
What are your thoughts on the baby name Ecaterina?
These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).
There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more.
Much has been said lately about Caitlyn Jenner’s first name (which, notably, does not start with a K).
But what about her surname?
Because, long before the Kardashians were a thing, the baby name Jenner debuted on the charts — first as a boy name, then as a girl name:
1977: 9 baby boys & 5 baby girls named Jenner
1976: 8 baby boys named Jenner [debut]
The decathlete formerly known as Bruce Jenner shot to international fame in 1976 after winning a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Montreal. (This was about 2 weeks after Nadia Comaneci scored her perfect ten.)
The name Jenner has seen even higher usage in recent years thanks to the reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which has been on the air since late 2007.
How do you like Jenner as a first name? Do you think it works better as a boy name or a girl name?
On July 18, 1976, 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci became the first Olympian to score a perfect 10. (She was on the uneven bars at the time.) She ended up winning 3 gold medals in Montreal that summer.
The name Comaneci popped up on the SSA’s baby name list for the first and only time in 1976:
1976: 9 baby girls named Comaneci [debut]
Comaneci is one of several Romanian surnames that refer to the Cumans, a Turkic nomadic people who came to the Carpathian region in the early 13th century.
The name Nadia also got quite a boost in 1976 — not just into the top 1,000, but straight into the top 500:
1978: 610 baby girls named Nadia [rank: 353rd]
1977: 790 baby girls named Nadia [rank: 303rd]
1976: 585 baby girls named Nadia [rank: 360th]
1975: 86 baby girls named Nadia
1974: 88 baby girls named Nadia
Her first name was inspired by a Russian movie character called Nadezhda. Nadia is a nickname for Nadezhda, which means “hope” in Russian.
Nadia Comaneci now lives in the U.S. and is married to fellow Olympic gymnast Bart Conner. They have a son, Dylan Paul, who is named for Bart’s favorite musician, Bob Dylan, and Bart’s former University of Oklahoma coach, Paul Ziert.