NADIA COMANECI, the first gymnast to score a perfect 10, hopes to repay a debt to her homeland by sponsoring the national gymnastics program in Romania.
Comaneci, who scored a 10 on the uneven bars at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, announced yesterday that she will provide $100,000 to help support the Romanian Gymnastic Federation. Comaneci now lives and works in the United States after defecting from Romania in 1989. The sponsorship deal marks a thawing of her relations with the Romanian federation. In addition to the cash funding, Comaneci may also provide the Romanians with leotards and gym wear from her own line of clothing.
Romanian Gymnastic Federation president Nicolae Vieru said he was delighted with the announcement. ``Nadia is Romanian gymnastics' greatest star,'' he said. ``We are very happy to be working with her again.''
Comaneci is attending the 1994 world championships in Brisbane, Australia, as a sponsors' representative and a television commentator.