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Kerri Allyson Strug ( 1977 - )  Category ( Athletes ) [suggest a correction]

Kerri Allyson Strug was born on 19 November 1977 in Tucson, Arizona. She is, perhaps, best remembered as the gymnast who performed the vault despite having seriously injured her ankle in order to clinch a gold medal in the women's team competition in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Strug, trained by American coach Jim Gault, moved to Bela Karolyi in 1991, where she joined the United States National Team. In 1992, at age 14, she won a bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics. She was, at that time, the youngest member of the entire U.S. team. Strug moved to Edmond, Oklahoma after the 1992 games and became a student of Steve Nunno at the Dynamo Gymnastics Club.

Before the 1996 Olympics, Strug suffered several injuries including a back strain in 1994 and stomach injuries in 1993. But, by the time 1996 rolled around, Strug felt competent to compete in what was known as the "Magnificent 7," a group of women who comprised the U.S. women's team. The team competition, which had been dominated by the Russians for decades and never won by the U.S., was close during 1996. The event came down to the final rotation on the final day of the team competition, July 23.

In that final rotation, the U.S. team still needed a good score on the vault to win gold. Strug’s teammate Dominique Moceanu fell on both of her vaults, registering poor scores. Strug was the last to vault for the United States.

Strug under-rotated the landing of her first attempt, causing her to fall and damage her ankle. Despite this, the attempt was awarded 9.162 points. At that point, the U.S. already had sufficient scores to beat the Russians even had Strug failed to vault at all; however, the American coaches did not keep track of the scores and when Strug's injury was apparent, and her score was revealed, they were unable to compute whether a higher score would be necessary in the 30 seconds before she had to vault again.

Under pressure, Strug limped to the end of the runway for her second attempt. She landed the vault briefly on both feet, almost instantly hopping onto only her good foot. Strug raised her arms after her vault, saluting the judges. She then needed assistance off the landing platform due to the injury. But, her attempted vault ended all doubt that the U.S. Women's Team would win the gold for the first time.

Strug became a national sports hero for this feat. She then participated in the Ice Capades and in Disney's World on Ice before she announced her retirement and enrolled as a student at UCLA. She later transferred to Stanford University and, upon graduation, worked as an elementary school teacher in the San Francisco Bay area before moving to Washington D. C. in 2003. Since that time, she has become more visible as a correspondent for Yahoo! in artistic gymnastics during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

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