The melody, originally titled "Cotton's Dream", was written by De Vorzon and Botkin as incidental music for the 1971 theatrical film Bless the Beasts and Children. Two years later, Botkin wrote a rearranged version of the piece for The Young and the Restless; the show debuted on March 26, 1973. The melody was later renamed "Nadia's Theme" after the ABC television network Wide World Of Sports lent the music for a montage of Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci's routines during the 1976 Summer Olympics  ; but Nadia never performed her routines using this piece of music. Instead, she used a piano arrangement of a medley of the songs "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" and "Jump in the Line" for their floor exercises.
About one month after the 1976 Olympics, the song was released as a single by A&M Records, with its B-side containing an instrumental of De Vorzon's song "Down the Line". It soared up to number 8 on the Billboard Music Charts by December of 1976, in part because of its association with Comaneci. However, A&M Records failed to credit De Vorzon as the co-writer on the first pressings of the single; he successfully sued the record label for $241,000 USD. The single has never been released on CD.
Other versions of "Nadia's Theme" have been recorded, including a semi-rock version by The Ventures, an easy listening version by Ray Conniff, and David Hasselhoff's rendition for his 1987 album Lovin' Feelings.
A sample of "Nadia's Theme" is the musical accompaniment to the verses of Mary J. Blige's single "No More Drama" from her album with the same name. In the tune, Blige's persona describes her former self as "young and restless". It was also sampled in the Krayzie Bone song "We Starvin" from his album Thug Mentality 1999, and Three 6 Mafia's song Tear Da Club Up '97 from their album Chapter 2: World Domination.