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40 greatest female athletes: Nadia Comaneci

6/13/2012
AP Photo

ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.

At the 1976 Olympics, 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci became synonymous with perfection.

On July 19 at the Montreal Games, the Romanian gymnast earned the first perfect 10 in Olympic history for her uneven bars routine.

But she was far from finished. The No. 8 woman in ESPN's countdown notched six more 10s in Montreal on her way to three gold medals, in the all-around, beam and uneven bars.

"She had an amazing capability to perform under pressure," her coach Bela Karolyi says. "As the competition got tough, she got even tougher.

Read the complete story from espnW here.

Earlier in this series:

No. 40: Diver Fu Mingxia

No. 39: Jockey Julie Krone

No. 38: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton

No. 37: Hockey player Cammi Granato

No. 36: Soccer player Kristine Lilly

No. 35: Basketball player Diana Taurasi

No 34: Volleyball player Flo Hyman

No. 33: Soccer player Abby Wambach

No. 32: Swimmer Mary T. Meagher

No. 31: Marathoner Joan Benoit

No. 30: Sprinter Gail Devers

No. 29: Basketball player Nancy Lieberman

No. 28: Marathoner Grete Waitz

No. 27: Soccer player Michelle Akers

No. 26: Basketball player Chamique Holdsclaw

No. 25: Swimmer Dara Torres

No. 24: Golfer Nancy Lopez

No. 23: Swimmer Tracy Caulkins

No. 22: Soccer player Marta Vieira da Silva

No. 21: Tennis player Venus Williams

No. 20: Figure skater Michelle Kwan

No. 19: Skier Lindsey Vonn

No. 18: Softball player Lisa Fernandez

No. 17: Basketball player Ann Meyers Drysdale

No. 16: Basketball player Sheryl Swoopes

No. 15: Swimmer Janet Evans

No. 14: Figure skater Katarina Witt

No. 13: Basketball player Cheryl Miller

No. 12: Sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner

No. 11: Tennis player Billie Jean King

No. 10: Tennis player Serena Williams

No. 9: Tennis player Steffi Graf