Sunday, March 21, 2010
Magnificent #7 of 7, Kerri Strug!!!
This is Kerri Strug. To the left, the little girl is Dominique Moceanu. But the girl in the arms of Bela Carolyi, yep, that's Kerri. And her story is the longest. But to make a long story short....
"Did You Know?" Fact:
Nearly every girl on the team coaches now. Moceanu is at Moceanu Gymnastics. Dawes coaches. Kerri coaches. Amanda Borden coaches. Phelps coaches. Miller coaches.
The History-Making Story:
"Kerri, listen to me. You can do it." Her coach, Bela Carolyi said. The pressure was intense. The Russians were the "BeamQueens". And they were still competing on floor excersise. The chances of the Russians winning? Huge. And since Kerri was the last American gymnast on vault, the pressure was on her. It was probably hard for her to accept Bela's words.
Heading into their final event, the vault, the U.S. had a lead over Russia and it looked liked the U.S. had its first gold in the team combined exercises all sewn up. That is until teammate Dominique Moceanu fell down on both her vaults and Strug's first attempt also ended in a fall. Serious doubt crept into the thoughts of 32,000 spectators and Karolyi let her know that she needed to land her second and final vault in order to seal it. The only problem, aside from the avalanche of pressure on the 18-year-old, was that Strug had felt a pop in her ankle on her first vault and could barely walk, let alone sprint down the runway and fling herself up and over the horse to land with great purpose onto only one good leg.
Somehow Strug gritted her teeth, thinking that the team's gold medals all depended on this final vault (in actuality they didn't, but no one knew that at the time), and got the job done with a solid landing before collapsing in pain onto her hands and knees.
The bear-like Karolyi scooped her up in his arms and carried her to the award ceremony to collect her gold medal and the rousing ovation from the packed house.
Strug, with two torn ligaments in her ankle from her courageous effort, was left unable to compete in any individual events.
The U.S. got gold, thank you so much Kerri!
March isn't over yet! One more magnificent seven post, the girls' own quotes and feelings, and pictures galore of what we call not only THE magnificent seven, but OUR magnificent seven.